How to Recover Deleted Text Messages from iPhone

If you ever needed more storage space on your iPhone you might have noticed that the Messages file is quite large. The next problem you might have is learning how to recover deleted text messages after you overzealously delete them all in the name of downloading a new app. Learning how to recover deleted messages is easy; so you can officially breathe again.

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

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There are actually a few different ways to recover deleted texts. You can learn how to retrieve deleted texts from iCloud backup or iCloud.com, and a few other tips and tricks for getting back those important lost messages. Learning how to retrieve deleted messages now might save you from a meltdown in the future, so check out these quick and easy ways to undelete text messages today. 

How to Recover Deleted Text Messages

The four tricks for how to retrieve deleted text messages I’m going to show you today are for iPhones. While there may be ways to recover deleted text messages for Android platforms these methods are going to be directed towards iPhone and iOS users.

How to Retrieve Deleted Text Messages with an iCloud Backup

This is 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 those precious deleted text messages. Make sure you are doing regular iCloud backups; it’s a good idea for saving ALL of your important stuff, not just messages that might potentially get deleted.

  • First, go to Settings > iCloud > iCloud Backup. Here you will see the time of the last successful backup. If it predates the deletion of your text messages, you're in luck.

  • You will need to erase your iPhone and restore it with this backup. Go to Settings > General > Reset and select Erase All Content and Settings
  • Choose the second option: Erase Now. 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.

  • You will now be able to restore your iPhone (and deleted text messages) from the iCloud backup
  • On the Apps & Data screen, tap Restore 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. 

How to Retrieve Deleted Texts with iTunes

If the previous method of recovering deleted text messages didn’t work, don’t worry; there is another method you can try. This is how to retrieve deleted messages with 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 PC or Mac that you usually sync 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 you can click it.
  • To get back your previous version of your iPhone, including your deleted text messages, you will need to click “Restore Backup.” If this option is grayed out, you may need to chage your backup preferences from iCloud to Computer. You can always change this back after you have restored your iPhone.
  • This process can take awhile if you have a lot of data stored on your phone, PC, 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 app!

How to Recover Deleted Text Messages by Contacting 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 them for technical support and then ask to speak to 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!

How to Undelete Text Messages with a 3rd-Party App

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