How Long Does U.S. Cellular Keep Text Message Content? Answered

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Short Answer

U.S. Cellular, one of the largest mobile service providers in the country, keeps the content of your text messages stored on its servers for three to five days. The company also keeps call history records and general information about text messages for a full calendar year.

How Long Does U.S. Cellular Keep Text Message Content?

Content storage practices vary by the cellular provider. In the case of U.S. Cellular, the company stores text message content for three to five days after messages are sent. General details about text messages are retained for up to one year. We spoke to a U.S. Cellular customer service representative online to verify this information.

U.S. Cellular requires a subpoena to grant access to text messages, even if you’re the account holder.

The information is not accessible to anyone else, with one exception: law enforcement agencies may be able to access your text message content if it’s required during the course of an investigation.

U.S. Cellular does not routinely read its customers’ text messages, customer service representatives told us. However, the company reserves the right to monitor text messages for “reasonable business purposes,” including compliance with laws and regulations.

You can find out more about the company’s policies on the U.S. Cellular Messaging Services Terms and Conditions page.

What Other Types of Data Does U.S. Cellular Keep?

U.S. Cellular keeps a record of your call history for one rolling calendar year. This means that the past 365 days of call history data is stored; records older than one year are deleted.

U.S. Cellular also keeps your billing history and subscriber information on file for seven years.

How Long Do Other Carriers Store Text Message Content?

If you’re not a U.S. Cellular account holder, or if you prefer to use a carrier that does not retain text message content, there are other major carriers that do not do this.

Below, we list how long the other top cell phone service providers store your text message content and general details, according to data from the U.S. Department of Justice:


  • Text message content: Not retained
  • Text message general details: Five to seven years for post-paid plans


  • Text message content: Not retained
  • Text message general details: 18 months, though it may vary, depending on your device


  • Text message content: Not retained
  • Text message general details: Two years for pre-paid plans and five years for post-paid plans


  • Text message content: Three to five days
  • Text message general details: One rolling year

For alternative cell phone carrier options, our related article has information about places that offer smartphone financing without a credit check.


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