How to retrieve deleted text messages on iPhone (6 Ways)

We all make mistakes when using our iPhones. And it includes deleting crucial text messages as well, which are sometimes difficult to recover. But with a few little hacks here and there, you may still recover deleted messages on your iPhone thanks to Apple’s storage pattern.

Continue reading to learn 6 ways to retrieve deleted text messages from your iPhone.

How to recover deleted text messages on iPhone in iOS 16

One of the quickest ways to recover accidentally deleted text messages from your iPhone is to use the Show Recently Deleted option. The purpose of this tool is to temporarily store deleted files on your iOS device before entirely erasing them.

  1. Launch the Messages app on your iPhone.  
  2. Tap Edit on the top left corner of the screen. 
  3. Choose Show Recently Deleted
  4. Select the messages you wish to recover.

5. Tap Recover/Recover All when prompted to complete the procedure. 

Note: If you have turned on Filters for the Messages app, the method is slightly different. Go to Messages app → Tap Filters → Recently Deleted → select the messages you want to recover and tap Recover.

How to retrieve deleted messages using iCloud backup

Performing a backup restore from iCloud is another way to retrieve deleted messages on your iPhone. The probability of recovering them is even high if you frequently back up to iCloud.

All of your files, including text messages from a prior iCloud backup, may be recovered using this approach. However, there is no method to limit the search to just text messages. But ultimately, it might be worthwhile. But you have to reboot your iPhone.

This method has the benefit of allowing you to restore your iPhone to a certain date. You can then restore the files you had previously backed up before you unintentionally destroyed the aforementioned text messages. So, before wiping the phone clean, you might want to find out when the last backup was made.

Open Settings and hit the Apple ID banner at the top to check when your phone was last backed up to iCloud. Choose iCloud > iCloud Backup next. The time of the most recent successful backup is displayed beneath the Back Up Now callout.

Next, reset your iPhone to factory settings. Once you’ve reset your iPhone, follow the on-screen instructions until you reach the Apps & Data screen.

To restore your iPhone from an iCloud backup, follow these steps:

  1. From the Apps & Data section, select Restore from iCloud Backup.
  2. Sign in to iCloud using your Apple ID and password.
  3. Tap Show all backups and select a relevant one.
    Tip: Use the backup date to decide here. Try not to pick a backup that came after the day you deleted the text messages.

This way, your messages might get restored together with the rest of the files.

Restore deleted text messages on iPhone from iTunes

Before deleting your text messages, it is recommended that you backup your iPhone to iTunes, macOS Catalina, or a later version. In the event that you backup after deleting the text messages, the previous backup will be overwritten and you might not be able to retrieve the deleted messages.

Most of the time, a factory reset is not necessary for iTunes and macOS Catalina or newer versions. However, you might need to perform a factory reset on your iPhone before restoring from iTunes or macOS if a standard restore without a reset is unable to recover your text messages.

Additionally, to restore from iTunes, you must a PC or Mac. A Mac is necessary for a restore from macOS Catalina or later. This comprehensive guide to recovering data has all the details you want.

Recover deleted messages from the iCloud website

You can also restore deleted text messages from your iPhone via the iCloud website. You must, of course, go to the official iCloud website and log in with your Apple ID and password in order to use this approach.

Even though the iCloud website doesn’t have a separate area for messages, recovering your data from here may be able to assist you retrieve your text messages. A guide to retrieving deleted files from the iCloud website is provided here. Although I included this as one of the recovery strategies, it has a lower success rate than the others.

5. Contact your network carrier

Although it is a last resort, even after you remove data, network providers still have it on their systems. So, if everything else fails, you might want to get in touch with them.

However, given the situation varies among regions, this solution is dependent on your network carrier. However, contacting your network carrier is one of the best ways to recover lost communications provided they offer reliable service.

Retrieve permanently deleted texts using third-party software

Of course, you can restore deleted messages from your iPhone via a third-party method. I’ll advise using the PhoneRescue recovery tool for this need. But this app is paid. Additionally, it is useful for recovering certain messages from your iOS device without restoring the full backup.

Launch your browser on your PC or macOS to access PhoneRescue’s website, where you may download and install the appropriate version of the programme. Launch the app, then follow the steps below to restore any deleted messages:

  1. Plug your iPhone into the computer using a USB cable.
  2. Select Recover from iOS Device.
  3. Next, click the next arrow button at the bottom right.

4. Select Messages.
You might want to deselect other options to make the process faster.

5. Click OK to proceed.
Wait for the app to load your messages.

6. Once loaded, click the phone symbol at the bottom right to restore your messages.

Bonus: Recover missing messages from Facebook or WhatsApp

You can recover missing Facebook or WhatsApp messages, too. So if you’re looking for how to recover these instead, check out our separate guide on how to recover Facebook messages or retrieve missing WhatsApp messages.

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