back to top
iGBHow-toHow to delete messages on an iPhone (2024 Guide)

How to delete messages on an iPhone (2024 Guide)

We’ve all been there—scrolling through old messages and realizing it’s time for a digital cleanup. Your iPhone’s Messages app is overflowing with old conversations, which could be many things. Funny memes from months ago, random OTP messages, or even a text you accidentally sent to the wrong person.

Whether it’s to free up storage space or get rid of clutter, deleting text messages on your iPhone is straightforward. In this guide, we’ll walk you through all the ways to delete messages on an iPhone, from a single embarrassing text to a whole conversation taking up valuable storage space.

How to delete messages on an iPhone

Sometimes you just need to delete individual messages, mostly something specific, in a conversation. Here’s how to do that.

  1. Open the Messages app on your iPhone.
  2. Find the conversation containing the message you want to delete.
  3. Tap and hold the message bubble until a menu appears, then select More.
    More option on a selected message in the iPhone Messages app.
  4. You’ll now see a checkmark next to the message, indicating it’s selected. If you want to select multiple messages, tap the circle to their left.
  5. Now, tap on the trash can icon in the bottom-left corner of the screen to delete the selected message.
  6. Tap on Delete Message to confirm deletion.
    Delete Messages option in Messages app to confirm message deletion.

How to delete a conversation on an iPhone

If you wish to delete an entire conversation with a contact, you need not select each message individually. Instead, iOS offers a simple way to delete an entire conversation. Here’s how.

  1. Open the Messages app.
  2. Scroll through your messages to find the conversation you want to delete.
  3. Then, swipe from right to left on the conversation you want to delete.
  4. Tap on the red trash icon to delete the conversation.
  5. Tap Delete again to confirm.
    Trash icon on a conversation in the Messages app on an iPhone.

How to delete multiple conversations on an iPhone

For those times when you need to do a major cleanup, deleting multiple conversations at once can save time. Here’s what you need to do.

  1. Open the Messages app.
  2. Tap the three-dot icon in the top-right corner and choose Select Messages.
    Select Messages option from the More menu in the iPhone Messages app.
  3. Select the conversations you want to delete by tapping the circle to their left.
  4. Now, tap Delete in the bottom-right corner.
  5. Finally, tap Delete again to confirm.
    Delete options in the Messages app to delete multiple conversations on an iPhone.
Bonus
  • You can also mark multiple conversations as Read, by tapping on the button for the same after you’ve selected multiple conversations.

How to permanently remove recently deleted messages on an iPhone

After you delete your messages, they stay in the Recently Deleted folder in the Messages app for a while. Here’s how to make sure they’re truly deleted.

  1. Open the Messages app.
  2. Tap on Filters at the top.
  3. Go to the Recent Deleted folder at the bottom of the conversation list.
  4. You can tap on the Delete All button in the bottom left to clear out the messages in one go.
    Messages under the Recently Deleted filter in iPhone Messages app.
  5. Alternatively, you can tap the circles next to the messages you want to permanently delete.
  6. Once you’ve finalized your selection, tap Delete.
  7. Finally, tap Delete Message to confirm.
    Delete Messages button to delete recently deleted messages on an iPhone.

How to automatically delete old messages on an iPhone

Want to avoid the hassle of clearing your Recently Deleted folder after deleting your messages? You can set your iPhone to automatically delete old messages after a certain amount of time. Here’s how.

  1. Open Settings and navigate to AppsMessages.
  2. Scroll down to the Message History section and select Keep Messages.
    Messages option in iPhone Settings app.
  3. Choose your preferred time frame, between 30 Days, 1 Year, or Forever, on the following screen.
  4. When prompted, confirm that you want to delete older messages by tapping the appropriate options on the screen.
    Keep Messages screen with different time frame options to delete messages automatically.

And that’s it. Based on the time you selected, your iPhone will automatically delete older messages.

How to delete messages from iCloud on an iPhone

By default, your iPhone stores your message history in iCloud. While deleting messages on your phone removes them from your device, it won’t necessarily remove them from iCloud. Here’s how to manage your iCloud storage for Messages.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap your Apple ID at the top.
  3. Navigate to iCloudMessages.
  4. Now, tap on Manage Storage.
  5. Tap on Disable & Delete.
    Disable & Delete option for Messages under Manage Storage in iCloud setting on an iPhone.
  6. Finally, tap on Delete Messages to confirm deletion.
Note
  • This will also stop future message backups to your iCloud. You’ll have to manually re-enable that from the iCloud settings.

Signing off…

As someone who prefers keeping their digital life organized, clearing out my iPhone’s Messages app is crucial. Not only does it help me find important conversations quickly, but it also ensures that my phone runs smoother.

Whether you’re deleting a single message or cleaning out your entire inbox, these steps should help you achieve a tidier digital life. That said, make sure to delete only the messages you don’t need. Once you remove them from the Recently Deleted folder, they are gone, forever.

How do I delete photos and videos from text messages on my iPhone?

The Messages app on iOS offers a simple option to view the media shared in a conversation. From there, you can easily delete pictures and videos in the Messages app on your iPhone.

How to delete text messages on an iPhone for both sides?

Unfortunately, you can only delete text messages on your device. Once you send a message to someone else, you can’t delete it from their phone. That said, the iPhone does allow users to Undo Send and even Edit sent messages on iMessage.

How do I block text messages on my iPhone?

Whether it’s messages from a stranger or spam messages, your iPhone offers an easy way to block text messages. You can do it from within the Messages app itself.

How do I recover my deleted messages on my iPhone?

Depending upon where your backup is stored, you can retrieve deleted text messages on your iPhone in multiple ways.

Can I hide a text conversation on my iPhone?

Unfortunately, no. At the time of writing, the Messages app doesn’t offer a direct way to hide conversations. However, you can turn off alerts/notifications for specific conversations in the Messages app. To do this, simply tap and hold on a conversation and select Hide Alerts. Alternatively, you can tap on the Filters option and select Known Senders. This way you’ll only see conversations with the contacts in your iPhone, and all other messages will be hidden.

Read more on the Messages app:

  • Varun Mirchandani

    Varun is a passionate technology journalist with over 7 years of experience and a knack for diving deep into everything Apple, PC hardware, and gaming. With an engineering degree in hand, he brings a solid technical foundation to his work, ensuring accuracy and insight in every piece he writes. Varun also contributes to GameRant, Guiding Tech, and The Mac Observer.

    View all posts

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles