4 Ways to Recover Deleted Texts from Your iPhone

If you've ever needed more storage space on your iPhone, you might have noticed that the Messages app file is quite large and wondered how to delete messages on your iPhone. The next problem you might have is learning how to recover deleted text messages after you overzealously delete texts you meant to save while trying to free up room! Fortunately, there are methods to recover deleted text messages, so you can officially breathe again. There are actually a few different ways to recover deleted texts on your iPhone. We'll go over how to retrieve deleted messages from iCloud backup or iCloud.com, as well as a few other tips and tricks for getting back those important iPhone text messages. Let's get started learning a few quick and easy ways to recover deleted texts on your iPhone today. 

Related: How to Search Message History on iPhone: iMessage, Facebook, and Whatsapp

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How to Retrieve Deleted Texts: Restore with iCloud Recovery

iCloud backups are a great way to recover deleted text messages from an iPhone. If you have ever backed up your iPhone to iCloud, you should be able to use this method to get back your deleted text messages. If you're not already, you should be doing regular iCloud backups. It’s a good idea for saving ALL of your important stuff, not just messages that might potentially get deleted.

  • Go to Settings.
  • At the top under your name you'll see Apple ID, iCloud, iTunes & App Store; click that arrow. 

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  • Tap on iCloud.
  • Scroll down and tap on iCloud Backup.

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  • Now check to see if the time of your last backup was before or after you deleted the texts you want back.

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    If the iCloud backup predates the deletion of your text messages, you're in luck. Now you'll need to erase your iPhone and restore it with the backup pre-dating your accidental text deletion.

    • Go to Settings.
    • Tap on General.

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    • Choose Reset.
    • Select Erase All Content and Settings.

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    • In the confirmation menu that pops up, choose the second option: Erase Now and make sure not to choose Backup Then Erase or you will lose the previous backup and won't be able to recover the deleted text messages!

    recover deleted text messages iphone

    Now your iPhone has been totally erased and will begin as though it’s a new device. Follow the step by step instructions until you come to the Apps & Data page.

    • On the Apps & Data page, choose Restore from iCloud Backup.
    • Enter any passwords asked for from iCloud Backup, then sign in to iCloud.
    • Proceed to “Choose backup,” then choose from a list of available backups in iCloud. There may be even older backups to choose from besides the one you verified before starting. Choose the most recent one that predates the deletion of the text messages. Keep in mind that the older the backup, the more likely it is that it will not contain other important data that you've added to your iPhone since that backup was made.
    • You may have to sign back in to all your accounts after the iPhone is restored. 

    Recovery of Deleted Text Messages on iPhone: Restore from iTunes Backup

    If the previous method of recovering deleted text messages didn’t work, don’t worry; there is another means to your end, namely iTunes. Similar to recovering from a backup on iCloud, you should be able to access any saved messages via iTunes, as long as you have been doing regular backups to your computer. This is why it is recommended to periodically back up your iPhone to iTunes even if you have automatic iCloud backups enabled. Follow these simple steps to try to recover deleted texts.

    It is possible that you have disabled this feature of the PC / Mac syncing process, so if you don’t have access to your text messages here that could be why. You may want to update these settings so that going forward it is easier to recover deleted text messages on your iPhone.

    • The first thing you need to do is connect your iPhone with the computer you usually sync it with. iTunes will open automatically if it’s not already running. If not, just click the program and open it up.
    • When your iPhone appears in iTunes, click Summary.

    how to restore iphone from itunes

    • To get back the data backed up from your iPhone, including your deleted text messages, you will need to click “Restore Backup.” If this option is grayed out, you may need to change your backup preferences from iCloud to Computer. You can always change this back after you have restored your iPhone.

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    • This process can take a while if you have a lot of data stored on your phone or Mac. If you have done a sync with this PC or Mac since deleting your text messages this process will not work. iTunes only saves your most recent backup data for a restore.
    • Assuming you have not done a sync with iTunes since you deleted your text messages, this method should restore those messages back to your Messages app!

    Recover Deleted Texts: Contact Your Service Provider

    In some instances you can recover deleted text messages by contacting your cellular service provider. They occasionally will have access to a backup if it has not yet been overwritten or updated. If you are in a bind and really need messages back I would recommend you contact them before trying to use a third-party app or some other drastic measure.

    When you call, you will need to ask for technical support and then ask to speak to a representative as there probably won’t be accurate menu prompts to take you to the right department. Remember, when dealing with customer service representatives you will want to be polite and reasonable. They may not be able to help you, but they will be more likely to try if you are pleasant and appreciative of their efforts!

    Restore Deleted Text Messages: Third-Party Apps

    This is a last resort for retrieving deleted text messages on your iPhone and it’s NOT the first choice I would use. There are some third-party apps out there that will help you recover deleted files and text messages from your iPhone, but they can be sketchy.

    Personally, I would hesitate to use any of these apps to recover deleted text messages. But if you are really in a bind there are a few that have some good reviews and popularity online. PhoneRescue by iMobie has a platform for both iPhone and Android devices, Tenorshare iPhone Data Recovery has a paid version and a free trial, and WonderShare Dr.Fone for iOS also has a free trial and a paid version available online. There are no guarantees, and you are opening yourself up to the mercy of these apps and their creators; so even trusted sources online should be carefully considered before you jump right in out of desperation.

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    Becca is a blogger, freelance writer, and iDevice addict. She lives in the middle of the Arizona desert with her husband and two boys, and can't imagine life getting any better. Read about her crazy life at MyCrazyGoodLife.com, or connect with her on twitter @BeccaLudlum