How to Recover Deleted Messages on iPhone

If you deleted text messages on your iPhone, don’t panic. Deleted text messages don’t really get erased; they just get marked for deletion and hidden. The easiest way to recover deleted messages on your iPhone is to use a specialized data recovery tool. You can also restore from a backup.

1. Restore from iCloud Backup

If you’ve backed up your iPhone to iCloud before, and the backup was made before you deleted the messages in question, you can restore that backup. This will overwrite your current iPhone data with the information from the backup, including any files you’ve added since the date of the backup.

To use this method, first reset your iPhone to factory settings by choosing “General,” then “Reset,” and “Erase All Content and Settings.” Follow the on-screen setup steps to reach the Apps & Data screen and choose Restore from iCloud Backup. Select a backup, and enter any passwords that are requested. Choose the backup that is dated before you deleted the text messages in question.

You can also try this method using D-Back, a third-party program that allows you to recover deleted items from your iPhone’s file system. However, this method will require you to connect your iPhone to a computer before it can start scanning for missing messages.

2. Restore from iTunes Backup

If you’ve backed up your iPhone with iTunes, you can restore the backup to recover deleted text messages. However, this method requires resetting your iPhone, which could lead to other problems.

To restore an iTunes backup, connect your iPhone to your computer and launch iTunes (or Finder on a Mac). Click your device icon in the top right-hand corner of iTunes, and select Restore Backup. Choose the latest backup that preceded your deletion of text messages, and follow the prompts.

This method like can also work if you’ve backed up your iPhone with iCloud before the messages were deleted. It’s important to note that restoring a backup can overwrite other data on your iPhone, so you should avoid making any new changes to your phone while reverting to an older backup.

You can also try contacting your phone provider to see if they have any copies of the deleted messages. However, this method may take some time and effort, and it’s not guaranteed to work.

3. Restore from a Backup File on Your Computer

If you have an iCloud backup that was made before your deleted text messages were erased, it is possible to restore those text messages. You will need to perform a factory reset of your iPhone, then choose Restore from iCloud Backup on the Apps & Data screen. Select the most recent iCloud backup and sign in with your Apple ID.

Note: This will erase any existing data on your iPhone and replace it with the iCloud backup. If you want to keep any files that were added to your iPhone since the iCloud backup, be sure to export those files to a separate folder on your computer before using this method.

This trick is not as robust as copying text messages to PDF or restoring them back onto your iPhone, but it can be helpful in a pinch if you don’t have any other options. Another alternative is to contact your carrier; some service providers keep a record of your text messages just like they do for phone calls.

4. Restore from a Backup File on Your Carrier

If you’ve used an iPhone for a while, it is likely that one of its previous backup copies contains deleted messages that you’d like to recover. Apple saves data on the iPhone in an SQLite database and, when deleted, this information is moved to a different category that isn’t overwritten by new data (unlike what happens with the “Deleted” folder in iOS).

To find out when your last iTunes backup was, open Settings, tap your name at the top of the screen, select iCloud, then go to iCloud Storage > Manage Storage. There, you’ll see a list of available backups and the dates they were made.

Restoring from an iCloud backup is the best way to get back deleted messages on your iPhone. This method works best if the backup you choose predates the time when you deleted the text messages, but a factory reset may still do the trick, too. Alternatively, try using a data recovery program such as Disk Drill or AnyTrans. Both of these are available on Setapp with a single subscription, along with more than 240+ other helpful apps for your iPhone and Mac.