How To Recover Deleted Messages on the iPhone

Posted by Kale Havervold on February 23, 2017

Let’s face it, most people are sending and receiving a ton of text messages or iMessages each and every day. Whether it is talking with friends, families or coworkers, most of us have a graveyard of old text messages just sitting there. After we send these (or read our received ones once), we rarely even look at these messages again. After a while, most of us may clean our messages and remove them from our phone. Not only can this clean up the Messages menu of your phone and make it less crowded, it can also save a bit of storage on your phone as these long conversations can use up quite a bit.

However, what if you realized that you actually needed to see or refer to an old message, after you have already deleted it? Whether there were some links in the message that are important, or some photos you didn’t save or any number of other things, you may think you are out of luck. However, despite how hopeless you might feel, there are actually a few ways that you could possibly get those messages back. In fact, there are four different ways that will be looked at in this article to help you get your messages back. While these might not all work for you, they are your only hope for recovering those deleted messages, so they are worth a try.

When you move to delete a message or conversation on your iPhone, it is not actually deleted right then and there (similar to how your pictures aren’t completely deleted right away). Instead, your messages are just marked for deletion, which still makes the inaccessible and invisible to us. They still exist on our phones for a short time until the files are eventually overwritten or removed permanently. Now that you know a bit more about what happens when you delete a message, let’s look at the ways to get them back

Contact Your Cell Phone Provider

One of the first steps you can take to try and recover your messages is to contact your cell phone provider. Many (but not all) cell phone providers will keep a running record of the messages sent and received on your phone, and you may be entitled to look at it. Some companies may allow you to log online and see the accounts, others will require you to get in touch with customer service, and some might not even keep or release these records at all. Even if this method goes nowhere, it is worth a try if you are serious about recovering your deleted messages.

Recover Messages From an iCloud Backup

icloud homepage

The next method you can try is to recover your methods by utilizing an iCloud backup. While a backup is normally a way to ensure all data and files on your device are always safe, this doesn’t always apply to messages. Some companies and mobile phone operators will keep a backup of your messages, and others will not. Either way, it is worth a try if the things you are trying to recover are really that important.

Step 1: Go to icloud.com and enter your login information. Make sure you have your phone with you as it may send a verification code to your phone that you will need to type in before you can log in.

Step 2: Click on the Text Messages icon (if you do not see that icon, then your phone operator doesn’t backup messages on iCloud, and you can move on to the next method).

Step 3: If you see the icon, use the search function to find the message or multiple messages that you are looking for.

Step 4: Go to the iCloud Settings on your phone now and turn off Text Messages (once you do, a pop-up will come and you should select “Keep on my iPhone”).

Step 5: After that, turn Text Messages back on and hit “Merge”, after a little while, your previously deleted messages should be back on your device.

Recover Messages From an iTunes Backup

restore backup


If your operator doesn’t support messages backup or it didn’t work for you for one reason or another, this is the next method you should try. Again though, this may only work if your messages are backed up. If you have no backup, this obviously won’t work. This basically works in the same way you would restore any lost data from an iTunes backup.

Step 1: Connect your phone to your computer and either wait for iTunes to pop up or manually bring the program up yourself.

Step 2: You will see your phone in the box in the bar near the top of iTunes, and if you click on it, it will take you to your phones information page.

Step 3: From here, simply select Restore Backup and it should take your phone back to how it was when you last backed it up.

Use a Third-Party App to Get Your Messages Back

If neither of these methods worked for one reason or another, you will likely have to rely on a third party app to try and save your deleted messages. There are many different apps out there that claim to be able to recover your lost data, but the fact is, some of them are pretty terrible and don’t work. It is a good idea to refer to online reviews for the various different options in this space until you find one that works for you. A number of these also might cost you a few dollars, so make sure you do your research and use the one you deem most trustworthy. Even if the apps are trustworthy and work for most, that is no guarantee they will work for you.

If you give these methods a try, hopefully at least one of them will be helpful in saving your deleted messages. If not, there is really nothing more you can do except use it as a lesson to closely examine messages on your phone before deleting them. Personally, I always save or screenshot everything important that comes to me in a text or an iMessage, as I have a tendency to delete messages every few weeks or so. This has helped me not lose anything important, without having to save hundreds or thousands of messages with the fear that you may need to refer to them later on in life.

One thought on “How To Recover Deleted Messages on the iPhone”

recover deleted messages iphone says:
Good article, but how to do without backup.

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