Most of us use technology with the notion that everything we do online will be there forever. Photos will remain on Facebook, and text messages will remain saved and secure on some server somewhere. But this isn’t necessarily the case. While you may not need to save any conversation right now, there might come a time when you will have to sift through previous texts in order to find a conversation to use as a form of proof in an upcoming lawsuit.
How can you find out if the messages you are sending and receiving are saved automatically? When it comes to iPhone conversations, here’s what you need to know.
Pay Attention to Colors
iPhone messages are sent two ways. When a message is sent in a blue text bubble, that message is between two iMessage users. When a green text bubble surrounds a message, this indicates that the message has been sent via SMS text message – in other words, the message is not being sent between two iPhone users (one person does not have an iPhone). Why should you care what color surrounds the messages you send?
Blue messages are sent through Apple’s servers. Apple does not retain information on its own servers. In order to find conversations sent through iMessage, those messages have to be backed up via iCloud. iCloud messages are only kept until the next iCloud backup, and then those messages are deleted. If you do need to gather information from an iMessage conversation, it’s important to do so immediately – you never know when those messages might be gone for good.
What About Green Messages?
When messages are not sent through Apple, those messages are saved and stored according to a cellular provider’s terms. Some providers keep messages longer than others, but some do not keep messages for any length of time at all. Again, it’s essential to ask a provider for all cell phone information as soon as you need it. Whether your messages are going through Apple or another company, if you wait too long to gather any of this information the result will be text messages that are not recoverable.
An Increase in Lost Messages
More and more people are opting for iPhone over any other type of phone, and this means that cellular providers will not have a lot of phone records going forward. While your lawyer can gather information from Apple pertaining to a specific time and date, Apple can only provide what the company has kept. In most cases, this information is limited.
What if you use another messaging service like WhatsApp? Typically, messenger apps include conversation settings that each user can choose to save or delete. If you think that you may need to revert to a message at a later time, make sure to save any messages that you do have through any kind of messenger service (including Skype). This way, you will be covered when it comes to finding old messages – just remember the colors that surround Apple message do matter when it comes to retrieving old text information.
If you really want to save a message from an important conversation, the best way to do so is to take a screenshot of that message. Once you’ve taken a photo of the message, email the image to yourself or to someone else that can keep the image secure. The time stamp on your email message will include a date and time, and this can be used as proof that the conversation was held at a specific moment.