Can Someone Delete Your Text Messages Remotely?

Here’s whether someone can delete your text messages remotely.

In short: yes.

So if you want to know how your text message can be deleted remotely, then you’re in the right place.

Keep reading!

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Your Text Message Can Be Deleted Remotely

Do you have a sinking feeling that someone has been deleting your text messages? 

Are you concerned that a stalker somewhere has been monitoring your calls and your online searches on your phone? 

Every day, hundreds of thousands of people have their text messages read and controlled by third parties. 

This article will explain the telltale signs your phone has been taken over by stalkerware and what you can do to fully protect your phone.

How Can My Phone Get Hacked?

We live more and more of our lives on our phones. ZDNet tells us that the average American spends 5.4 hours a day on their smartphone. 

The top 10% of smartphone users in the US and Canada touch their phones an average of 5,427 times a day.

That’s 5,427 opportunities a day for phone stalkers to attempt to steal their passwords, PINs, account numbers, private communications, and browsing history. 

The most sophisticated hackers can not only read and delete messages. They can also use your phone to record nearby conversations as well as take and send photos and videos.

Chances are you have seen a scene in a spy movie in which one of the characters steals a phone just long enough to infect it with spyware. It is true that if you don’t keep your phone secure at all times, this could happen to you.

But a phone stalker doesn’t need to have physical possession of your phone to infect it with malware that will give them the power to read and delete your messages and copy your contacts and ID. Stalkers can also take over your phone by:

  • Accessing the details of your iCloud account, if you have an iPhone, or
  • Installing spyware onto your phone when you click on a questionable link.

In a moment, we will tell you what you need to do if your phone has been hacked. But first, let’s go over 10 warning signals that your phone has been compromised.

12 Signs That Someone Has Hacked Your Phone

Spyware operates in stealth mode. However, it is designed so you won’t easily detect it.

You might begin to wonder if someone is deleting your messages if a friend asks, “Didn’t you get my text?” and their text is nowhere to be found on your phone.

Two friends using a phone while standing in a colorful street.

You might suspect someone is deleting your phone messages when expected messages fail to appear. You don’t get the text from your credit card company about an unusual charge. You don’t get a text from Uber or Lyft confirming your ride.

There are alternative explanations for not getting expected texts. But these 12 situations add to the evidence that someone has hacked your phone.

#1 Your Battery Is Draining Unusually Fast

Old batteries don’t hold a charge as long as new batteries. It is normal to need to recharge your phone more often as it gets older. If your battery seems to have suddenly deteriorated, however, it is possible that spyware is operating on your phone 24/7.

Look for sudden, unexpected deterioration of battery life, not a gradual decline in the ability to hold a charge.

#2 There Are Unexpected Apps on Your Phone

Most stalkerware is designed not to be noticed, but sometimes hackers hide their spyware in plain sight. The most common apps used for piggybacking spyware are Kaspersky Safe Kids, NetNanny, Norton Family, and Qustodio

If you find one of these apps on your phone when you didn’t download it, your phone may have been hacked.

#3 Your Phone Is Getting Really Hot

If your phone becomes hot to the touch and you aren’t using it constantly, there could be spyware running in the background. 

The possibility that the problem is spyware increases if your phone gets hot when you are seldom using it.

#4 Your Phone’s Processing Speed Has Slowed Down

Similarly, a sudden drop in your phone’s processing speed may be the result of spyware. 

As more of your phone’s resources are directed to the spyware application, it has less processing capacity for other tasks.

#5 You Have Unusually High Data Usage

Spy apps need to send data back to the perpetrator who is spying on your phone. An unusual spike in your data usage is a sign that spyware may be running undetected.

To check your mobile data usage on an Android phone, go to Settings > Network & Internet > Data Usage. You can find your phone’s total data usage under Mobile. Just tap Mobile Data Usage to see how usage has changed over recent months.

To check your mobile data usage on an iPhone, go to Settings and then to Mobile Data. You can scroll down to find your total data usage or how much data individual apps are using.

#6 Your Phone Is “Rooted” or “Jailbroken”

Rooting or jailbreaking a phone allows the user to download apps not purchased through an official app store. If your phone or mobile device is rooted or jailbroken, and you didn’t do it, that’s a strong indication it has been hacked.

Check for jailbreaking or rooting on an Android phone with an app called Root Checker.

Check for jailbreaking or rooting on an iPhone by looking for an app called Cydia. This is the app hackers use to install malware on iPhones. If you find Cydia on your iPhone, it has been hacked.

#7 Your Phone Is Hard to Shut Down

In 2014, Edward Snowden blew the whistle on National Security Administration (NSA) technology that kept phones from switching off completely to give the NSA the capability of using them for eavesdropping. 

At the time, this was considered a highly targeted and very sophisticated spyware technique, but it is likely that hackers and criminal organizations, as well as governments all over the world, now have access to some version of it.

#8 Your Phone Reboots at Random Intervals

Random reboots are also a feature of the spyware that makes a phone hard to shut down.

#9 You Get Bizarre Incoming Messages

Hackers sometimes use SMS messaging to communicate with their home base. 

Strange incoming SMS messages can be a signal that a hacker is remotely updating the spyware on your phone.

#10 Your Autocorrect Is Misbehaving

If your phone is suddenly autocorrecting to proper spelling and word usage in, say, Russian, and you don’t have a Russian-language phone, this could be a sign someone has hacked your phone. When autocorrect pushes the limits of belief, the problem can be hacking.

#11 Your Screenshots Are of Unusually Poor Resolution

Poor quality screenshots can be a sign of spyware, according to Malwarebytes.

#12 Your Phone Is Acting Strangely in Standby Mode

Your phone shouldn’t be lighting up or making noises when it is in standby mode. The screen should be off, not just dark. These problems aren’t always due to spyware. Other kinds of malware can cause them. 

For instance, some websites divert your phone’s “spare” CPU capacity to drain more than 5% of your battery power in ten minutes. However, there are two ways you can confirm that there is spyware on your phone.

2 Ways You Can Confirm There Is Spyware on Your Phone

There is a hard way and an easy way to confirm that there is spyware on your phone.

Teen guy in despair while looking at his smartphone.

The hard way to confirm that there is spyware is to set a trap on your phone. This method requires the help of a friend.

  • Pick any link that you can share, but not the URL to this article or any other article about dealing with spyware.
  • Use the free option on bit.ly to create a shorter version of the link.
  • Find a friend who is willing to help you test for spyware, but ask them in person, not on or near your phone. (This test could reveal that a hacker is listening in on your conversations, even when you aren’t on the phone, as well as reading and deleting your messages.) You will need for them to be willing to receive a text message from you but not open or read it.
  • Send your friend a message with the link you made on bit.ly.
  • Then check to see how many times the shortened link has been accessed. If anyone has clicked on the link, your phone has been hacked.

The easy way to check for spyware on your phone? Run a security app.

What Can You Do If There Is Spyware on Your Phone?

There are several options for removing spyware or stalkerware from your phone.

If you have an Android phone, you can:

  • Run a spyware removal tool from a trusted source. Beware of off-brand spyware removal tools. Sometimes they carry spyware.
  • Remove the app manually from Safe Mode. You will need to review every app on your phone manually. The problem is that spyware may have innocent-sounding names like “Service Update” or “Sync Manager,” so you will overlook it.
  • Update the operating system. This will sometimes remove spyware. But sometimes not.
  • Restore your phone to factory settings. This will remove any spyware on your phone, but it will remove contacts, photos, PINs, and browser history, too.

If you have an iPhone, you can go through similar steps. Updating the iOS on your iPhone will remove jailbreaker apps. But the surest way to get spyware off your iPhone is also to do a reset to factory settings.

How can you avoid this problem in the future? Keep your phone physically out of reach of people you don’t know and trust. 

Secure your phone with a PIN or a fingerprint. 

Only install trusted apps. Keep your operating system updated. And manage permissions tightly. 

In particular, Find My Friends on your iPhone and Find My Device on Google require extreme caution.