A reader, Ann, calls in to ask, "Is it possible to retrieve voice messages off of old phones where the voice message was presumably deleted?" She adds that the message might be as old as 15 years old.
It's extremely unlikely that the message still exists, especially if it was deleted at the time. Wireless carriers typically only keep phone messages accessed on their networks for about 30 days unless they're saved by the customer (or stored on a device like an iPhone).
Even stored messages can disappear; the best way to protect a voice message you want to keep is to record it manually to a digital or analog recorder. The only scenario I could see a 15-year-old message surviving is if it was stored on the phone itself and somehow survived being deleted. The lesson: voicemails are not meant to last, so take the time to save the important ones (from, say, a family member who has passed away) before they slip away.
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