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How Police and Law Enforcement save / access text messages and recover deleted SMS messages

police and law enforcement save iPhone text messages with Decipher TextMessageIn recent years law enforcement agencies of all types (Local and State Police, FBI, CIA, Homeland Security) need to regularly access and save text messages for the purpose of evidence, investigations, and discovery. This also applies to agencies overseas like the United Kingdom’s MI5 or Australia’s ASIO. As personal data and privacy issues continue to be in the forefront in both the news and many civilian’s minds, police departments and law enforcement officials, both in the USA and internationally, are faced with the challenge of how to legally access mobile data for investigative purposes without compromising the rights of an individual under the law. Many of you are aware of the FBI versus Apple encryption case earlier this year regarding whether or not a court of law has the right to compel mobile phone manufacturers to to unlock any devices that are encrypted. While this high profile case made international headlines, each week local and state law enforcement agencies are faced with the challenge of saving and exporting text messages for their own investigations and departmental needs.

With over 300 billion text messages sent each month, mobile SMS data has now become the most widely used form of communication for a large percentage of the world’s population. With this comes an increasing need for police and law enforcement to have reliable software that can help them legally access an individual’s text message history. Decipher TextMessage is a widely used solution by many police departments and national investigative agencies to access, save, and print text messages from any iPhone backup. The software also recovers certain deleted text messages which is an additional plus for law enforcement when attempting to gather evidence.

saving iPhone text messages for evidence or court by police or law enforcement

Steps for law enforcement officials to save iPhone text messages:

  1. Install Decipher TextMessage on a police department’s Mac or Windows computer.
  2. Backup the iPhone or iPad via iTunes.
  3. Authorities can then save / export text messages from the iPhone backup to computer.
  4. Print out the exported text messages for evidence or legal hearings.

law enforcement saving iphone sms to computer

Benefits for Police Departments who use Decipher TextMessage to save iPhone text messages

  • No iPhone jail breaking required. No iCloud password or iTunes password needed.
  • Works on encrypted iTunes backups. Password for encrypting is required and the software will prompt law enforcement for the password within the software.
  • Decipher TextMessage reads from the backups made in iTunes, which can be helpful if the physical device is not accessible, but a computer with the backups is available.
  • Everything is contained locally on the police department’s computer. No data is stored in the cloud and the authorities can manage the data as they choose given what is most appropriate for their own internal evidence workflow and legal proceeding.
  • Export text message can be printed and or saved as a PDF for evidence in court or trial.
  • Both iMessage data and regular SMS text message data are accessible.

police officers exporting / saving text messages from iPhone to computer

Recovery of Deleted iPhone Text Messages – Police Departments / Law Enforcement Agencies

An additional benefit that Decipher TextMessage provides for Police Departments is the ability to recover certain deleted text messages that have been erased from an iPhone. Whether deleted iPhone data is recoverable all depends on what specific information remains in the iPhone backup and has not yet been overwritten by the iOS on the device in question. It also depends on when the iOS device was last backed up.

To recover deleted iPhone text messages police and law enforcements use the following steps:

  1. Install Decipher TextMessage on any Mac or Windows computer.
  2. Select “recover” in the menu.
  3. Copy and paste the recovered data to computer.
  4. If deleted data is not showing as recoverable, make a new backup of the iPhone via iTunes and then run the recovery process in Decipher TextMessage again.

how to recover deleted iphone text messages

Decipher TextMessage recovers and presents the deleted data in the exact format that it is leftover in the iOS backup. If data is not showing as recoverable, it means that the deleted text messages have either been overwritten by Apple’s iOS or that the device in question was not successfully backed up prior to the data being deleted. We also have a detailed guide to recovering deleted iPhone text messages on our website.

If you are a law enforcement agency and have any questions about exporting iPhone text messages or recovering deleted iPhone text messages, feel free to contact us via our support page. We’re a USA based software company (San Francisco / Phoenix) and we respond to everyone!

Written by: Jay W.
Updated on November 11, 2016

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