How To Permanently Delete All Messages on the iPhone

Posted by Arch on November 7, 2018

Even though deleting messages on a smartphone seems like a simple thing to do, you really need to think twice when iPhones are concerned. Remember older models, where even if you deleted a message from your inbox, it would still pop up when you searched for it in Spotlight Search?

Embarrassing or secretive messages simply need to be deleted, but now it is a chore that requires thorough management of data. This means you should attack the issue from multiple angles, as deleted text messages, iMessages, and picture messages may still linger out on a cloud service somewhere.

This is why you need to follow a few simple steps to make sure that the messages you want to delete from your iPhone are really deleted.

About Messaging

First off, you need to understand how the whole process of messaging on your iPhone works. Yes, the green boxes you see in your Messages app are indeed text messages that you send and receive, but they are not associated with any Apple IDs.

Don’t forget that messaging on an iPhone can also include blue boxes, which are normally referred to as iMessages. These can only be sent and received by Apple devices, and as such, they are associated with Apple IDs.

Deleting Messages on Your iPhone

Unlike previous versions of iOS, deleted messages on your iPhone are actually deleted and you should not worry that much as long as you haven’t created backups of your messages and don’t have any other Apple devices.

Step 1 – Delete Entire Conversations

The safest, easiest, and fastest way of getting rid of messages from your iPhone is to simply delete entire conversations with a given contact.

Just go to the conversation you want deleted, swipe to the left, and then tap on the red button which says “Delete”.

Step 2 – Deleting Individual Messages

There are situations in which you don’t want to get rid of an entire conversation with a contact, but still want to permanently delete certain portions of that conversation. This can also be done very easily, but you will first need to go to the conversation in which you need to delete certain portions.

Next, locate the questionable portion that needs to be deleted and then long tap on it. After this, you will see a menu consisting of several options. Tap on the button that says “More” and then keep tapping on the dots right next to the messages you want to delete until you have removed all parts of the conversation you don’t want to keep on your phone.

When you’re done selecting unwanted messages, simply tap on the Trash icon located in the bottom left corner of your screen and then tap the “Delete Message” option to complete the process.

Step 3 – Deleting Messages in an iPhone Backup

Even though you might’ve deleted all the unwanted messages from your Messages app, there are still places where old messages might linger. These places are usually cloud services and backups. If you’ve ever backed up your iPhone before, rest assured there’s stuff there that you probably don’t want anyone to see.

You might forget this and then restore one of the backups, so the unwanted messages will be restored, as well.

The first thing you need to do is to go to your iPhone’s Settings and then go to the “General” tab. Once there, go to “Storage & iCloud Usage” and then tap on the “Manage Storage” option.

In “Backups”, you will find the specific device that you want to delete. Once you select this device, you will need to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page and tap on the “Delete Backup” option.

Finish it off by tapping on “Turn Off & Delete” and your backed up messages will be gone for good.

Step 4 – Deleting Messages Backed Up by iTunes

There are people who use iCloud for their iPhone backups, but there are also a large number of avid iTunes users who usually prefer making backups over there. If you’re one of the latter, you might also want to check your iTunes backups for unwanted messages that need deletion.

To do this, you need to open your iTunes app and go to “Preferences”. Click on “Devices” and then select the backup that needs deleting. Now click on the “Delete Backup” to set the process in motion. After this, you simply need to click on “Delete” and then confirm by clicking “OK”.


As you can see, there is no need to panic, as all the messages on your iPhone can be deleted easily. This also includes messages that were part of your old backups, as well as those stored on Apple’s cloud services.

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