Mistakes happen all the time while using our phones. And that includes deleting important text messages, too, which can be hard to recover. But thanks to Apple’s storage pattern, you can still retrieve deleted messages on your iPhone with a few tricks here and there.
Read on as I show you how to retrieve deleted messages on your iPhone.
- How to recover deleted texts directly from iCloud in Settings
- Restore deleted messages on iPhone using iCloud backup
- Restore deleted text messages on iPhone from your computer
- Recover deleted message on iPhone from the iCloud website
- Contact your network carrier
- Recover deleted text using third-party apps
1. How to recover deleted texts directly from iCloud in Settings
While it looks like a crude method, recovering messages from iCloud Settings is the first trick I’d try to recover deleted messages. This trick requires you to activate message backup to iCloud previously, though. Otherwise, it may not work.
Here’s how the trick works: since your messages back up to iCloud, all text messages are already somewhere in the cloud. So when you delete a message, it’s still available in iCloud storage for some time. To retrieve a deleted message this way:
- Open iPhone Settings.
- Tap the Apple ID banner at the top.
- Select iCloud.
- Toggle off Messages → select Disable and Download Messages.
- Next, toggle on Messages again.
Close the Message app and relaunch. The Message app will download previously backed up messages, including deleted ones, to your phone. However, this one doesn’t selectively get specific text messages. You’ll have to sort the ones you need manually after restoration.
2. Restore deleted messages on iPhone 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.
This trick will help recover all your files, and these may include text messages from a previous iCloud backup. Nonetheless, there’s no way to filter down to text messages only. But it might be worth it in the end. It requires resetting your iPhone, though.
The advantage of this method is you can restore your iPhone to a chosen date. That way, you’ll be able to retrieve files you backed up before you mistakenly deleted the said text messages. So you might want to check the last time your phone backed up before resetting it.
To see the last time your phone backed up to iCloud, open Settings → tap the Apple ID banner at the top. Next, select iCloud → iCloud Backup. Below the Back Up Now callout, you’ll see the time of the last successful backup.
Next, perform a factory reset of your iPhone. After resetting your iPhone, follow the prompts until you see the Apps & Data screen.
Next, use these instructions to restore your iPhone from an iCloud backup:
- From the Apps & Data section, select Restore from iCloud Backup.
- Sign in to iCloud using your Apple ID and password.
- 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.
3. Restore deleted text messages on iPhone from your computer
This recovery method works best if you backed up your iPhone to iTunes or macOS Catalina or later at least before deleting your text messages. Otherwise, if you backed up after deleting the text messages, this overwrites the previous backup, and you might not be able to recover the messages.
iTunes and macOS Catalina or later versions don’t usually require a factory reset. But if conventional restore without reset doesn’t recover your text messages, you might need a factory reset of your iPhone before restoring from iTunes or macOS anyways.
Further, you need a PC or Mac to restore from iTunes. A restore from macOS Catalina or later requires a Mac. This comprehensive guide to restoring data has all the information you need to use this method.
4. Recover deleted messages on iPhone from the iCloud website
The iCloud website is another source to recover deleted text messages on your iPhone. Of course, this method requires you to visit the official iCloud website and log in using your Apple ID and password.
Although there’s no specific space for messages on the iCloud website, restoring your files from here might help recover your text messages, too. Here’s a guide on recovering deleted files from the iCloud website. However, while I added this as part of the recovery methods, it has a lower chance of success compared to the rest.
5. Contact your network carrier
While this is a last resort, network providers always have your data on their systems, even if you’ve deleted it. So you might want to contact them if all else fails.
However, this method depends on your network carrier, as the case is always different across regions. Nonetheless, if your network carrier provides solid support, contacting them is one of the best ways to retrieve lost messages.
6. Recover deleted text using third-party apps
Of course, you can use a third-party solution to recover deleted messages on your iPhone. For this purpose, I’ll recommend using the PhoneRescue recovery tool. It’s a paid app, though. And it comes in handy for selectively recovering messages directly from your iOS device without restoring its entire backup.
To use PhoneRescue, launch your browser on your PC or macOS and go to PhoneRescue’s website to download and install the app’s compatible version on your computer. Launch the app and use the following instructions to recover deleted messages:
- Plug your iPhone into the computer using a USB cable.
- Select Recover from iOS Device.
- Next, click the next arrow button at the bottom right.
- Select Messages.
You might want to deselect other options to make the process faster.
- Click OK to proceed.
Wait for the app to load your messages.
- 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.
To get deleted messages back, you might want to stop all backups to iCloud on your phone to prevent overwriting the previous backup. To stop back up, go to Settings → tap the Apple ID banner at the top → select iCloud → iCloud Backup → toggle off iCloud Backup.
Or better still, switch off your iPhone’s cellular data or Wi-Fi. Now, try any of the steps we highlighted above.
Generally, this depends on the severity of the case and the approach you use. Moreover, besides contacting the network carrier, which might take days to respond, the other methods don’t take time.
That’s about it!
Text messages are hard to recover once deleted. But of course, you should be able to recover your text messages using any of these methods. Let me know if you recovered your deleted messages in the comment section below.