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How Can You Recover Deleted Instagram Messages on iOS, Android, and PCs?

Accidentally delete a message on Instagram? Regret removing a conversation from your DMs a few weeks ago? This article is dedicated to showing you that there are still options for recovering messages after they have been deleted.

how to Recover Deleted Instagram Messages

Hello everyone! It is your dear friend Frankie here again. Every day I seem to get several emails and messages about how to recover or retrieve messages you’ve deleted from Instagram.

It happens.

Your finger slips and you push the wrong button – suddenly an entire Instagram Direct conversation is gone forever, right?

Maybe you deleted a conversation because you ‘didn’t need it anymore’ when you were clearing the clutter from your list of threads.

Whether it is these reasons or countless others, you need not worry. I have several strategies I will introduce to you today to recover messages you have deleted from your Instagram.

Before we begin, I must tell you something though.

Instagram Direct is not built to work like Messenger or WhatsApp – or any other messaging services for that matter.

The messages that you receive to Instagram Direct do not get stored on the memory of the device, but rather the Instagram servers. While the system itself is far more secure, it can make retrieving lost data a little more complicated than it should be.

Case in point, we must recover messages from the server before Instagram chooses to eliminate them forever.

Don’t fret!

There are several ways that you can restore Instagram Direct, and I intend to take you through each of these with the detail and attention you have come to expect.

Let’s begin.


Frankie’s Take:

Recovering Instagram Direct messages might be a considerable challenge since they are stored on a cloud somewhere. To improve your success rate, I would encourage everyone to act fast before they are gone forever. There is only a small amount of time to achieve this.

3 Steps to Recover Deleted Instagram Messages Using Smartphones

As I have said, there’s no direct way to recover your messages as Instagram does not allow this.

One way that might work is to request here are data directly from the source at Instagram. You would receive a .JSON file with all of the data for your Instagram account together. This would include any direct messages you might be looking for, including any ones that have been deleted in recent weeks.

Let’s take a look at the steps you should take to accomplish this.

A word of caution: If you’re Instagram account gets spied on, the moment you recover old messages, the spyware connected with your account will be able to access and read them too.

Step 1 – Download the Data

One of the first steps that you will have to take is to download the file sent to you from Instagram about your profile. This contains a backup version of all direct messages exchanged to that point.

Yes, messages might be deleted from your device and believed to be deleted from your profile, but it will not be deleted from Instagram’s servers at that time.

That being said, here’s an easy guide on what to do with iOS and Android devices. The method of doing this with either one of these approaches is relatively similar. Here’s what you do:

  1. Open Instagram and log in with your credentials
  2. Open your profile information (bottom right of the screen)
  3. Click the hamburger menu icon (three horizontal lines) at the top right corner and enter Settings
  4. Choose Security
  5. Select Data and History, then Download Data
  6. Enter your email and password on the form
  7. Once you have the right information, submit the request

download data from instagram

Instagram will send you an email with a link to file Instagram data that you can then download. Once you get the email, you will only have four days to act.

Download instagram messages


Frankie’s Take:

The email will arrive with a folder that contains all necessary information you could want about your Instagram account with a JSON extension. You can look for a file labeled messages.json for direct messages. PCs and smartphones can open this file extension with the right app.

Step 2 – Android Users: Use JSON Genie Editor to Open Instagram File

It is time to open the file that Instagram sent you. You need to download a program to open files of this type, like the JSON Genie Editor for Android. Locate the messages.json file in your phone, open it, and view the conversations you thought were gone.

Here are some steps for using JSON Genie:

  1. First install the app (JSON Genie Editor) to your Android phone
  2. Once downloaded, extract the file
  3. Launch the app
  4. Open the program and look for your Instagram data folder
  5. Open messages.json file on the app

Just like that, you should be able to view all the messages that you have here, including any that you might have deleted (before Instagram permanently removes them.)


Frankie’s Take:

Once you install this app on your device, you just need to open it. Push the icon with the three lines, select Open JSON File, and pick which file you want (message.json). You should then be able to read all the conversations.

Step 2 – iOS Users: Use JSON Pro Free to Open Instagram File

If you are using an iPhone or iOS device, you are going to be looking for the app JSON Pro Free in the AppStore. This will help you to manage the backups you have downloaded and quickly open up files like the messages.json you received. Follow these simple steps to get going:

  • Install the app (JSON Pro Free) on your iOS device
  • Find the files and locate messages.json
  • Select that you wish JSON Pro Free to read these files

Once you do this, you should then have access to all of your old messages and conversations, even the ones that you had previously deleted. Remember however, if too much time passes, these conversations might no longer be available.


Frankie’s Take:

To put it simply – get the app and enter the file section. Search and locate messages.json and pick this app to read it all the time. You should be quickly brought to a list of your former and current threads.

Recover Deleted Instagram Messages Using a PC

Follow these steps below to recover your messages from your account using your PC.

Let’s waste no time getting to it.

Step 1 – for PC Users – Download Instagram Data Directly from Their Website

Similar to using a smartphone, you have the option to download Instagram data directly using a computer as well. Here is how you can do that.

Open your browser and visit the Instagram webpage.

  1. Login to the website using your Instagram credentials. Next, click on the profile icon to enter the specifics of your account. This icon is on the upper right portion of the screen.
  2. Click on Settings, then Privacy and Security
  3. Scroll down until you see Data Download section and choose Request Download.
  4. Enter your email address and password to verify the owner of the account.
  5. Then, choose Request Download again.

recover deleted instagram messages from pc

Much like the process for using iOS and Android phones, you will then get an email to your inbox containing a folder and all of the pertinent information you might want. You only have four days to download this information.

Step 2 – for PC Users: Open Instagram File with Third-Party Software on Your Computer

If you are using a Windows PC, you can open the file messages.json using third-party software like free Notepad ++ Program – it’s a free alternative to Notepad, but it has the function of opening JSON files as well.

Once you install the program, search and find the file messages.json. Once the computer asks you what app should open the file, you can choose Notepad ++. That’s the whole process.

If you use a Mac computer, you can use the Apple TextEdit that comes bundled with the Mac OS X. This simple program opens XML, JSON, and many other file types.


Frankie’s Take:

For many users, seeing deleted Instagram files is easier to do on a computer. If you are no tech genius and know just the basics of operating electronics, I would recommend the PC route.


I assuredly hope that this article has given you the information you need. While you should obviously be a little more careful about deleting data from your Instagram that you might ultimately want, you at least have a strategy to help if this happens a second time.

If you have multiple messages deleted without actions on your side, you might be involved in a shadowban of your profile.

The best advice for this is to return after a few days and see if the situation has righted itself.

For your information, it is possible to hide your messages in lieu of deleting them. I have a guide written about this process that could help you.

That’s all I have for today – thanks!

See you next time.


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About Frankie Caruso

I'm Frankie Caruso. I'm a professional amateur in that ugly business of social media, instant messaging apps and computer security. I help all those frustrated people who call themselves digital illiterates to understand something about this confusing digital world.

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