If you have accidentally deleted some iMessages that you meant to keep, don’t panic. In this article I’m going to show you 5 effective methods to recover deleted messages on an iPhone.
Hey, it is Frankie here again with another step-by-step for your iPhone.
It’s happened to the best of us.
You have important conversations in your iMessage, and poof, like magic, they disappear. (Okay, maybe it was your fault.)
Maybe you accidentally deleted pictures of your first granddaughter, lost your best friend’s chili recipe, or even erased a conversation with an old friend that you meant to keep forever.
The first question that pops into your mind:
“Can you recover deleted iMessages?”
The answer is YES! There are several different ways to get your prized messages back. In this guide, you’ll learn step-by-step how to recover deleted iMessages on an iPhone.
Let’s dive in.
All hope is not lost, though with regards to getting back deleted text messages on iOS, I have to tell you that it might be tricky. Below is a brief explanation of all four options. Read all of them carefully before taking any action.
Option 1: Recovering Deleted Messages with iOS 16
With the advent of iOS 16, you now have the convenient ability to retrieve any text messages that you might have deleted within the past month. This new feature is a lifesaver for those moments when you accidentally erase important conversations.
Here’s how to navigate this process:
1. Start by opening your Messages app. Once there, look towards the top of the screen and you’ll find either the “Edit” or “Filters” option. It’s important to note that the location of this option can vary slightly depending on your specific iPhone model.
2. Upon selecting “Edit” or “Filters,” you’ll be presented with the option to “Show Recently Deleted.” This is where all your deleted messages from the last month are temporarily stored.
3. In this “Recently Deleted” section, you’ll find a list displaying all messages that are eligible for recovery. Here, you have the flexibility to either recover all messages in one go or selectively choose individual messages that are of particular importance to you.
Quick tip: Before proceeding, ensure that your iPhone is operating on iOS 16. If you’re unsure about how to update your device, we’ve prepared a comprehensive guide on updating your iPhone to the latest iOS version. Staying updated not only gives you access to features like message recovery but also ensures your device runs optimally with the latest security enhancements and performance improvements.
Remember, with iOS 16, recovering messages is just a few taps away, bringing peace of mind and convenience directly to your fingertips.
Option 2: Check Your Other Apple Devices
This may seem obvious, but it’s important to check the obvious first.
You may know (or not know) that iMessage syncs across ALL of your iOS and Mac platforms. Anywhere that you use the same Apple ID or iCloud account, your iMessages could surface.
This means your Messages are synced as well if you happen to use that feature.
For example, if you accidentally deleted some messages on your iPhone, you can go over to your Mac or iPad and the messages might still be there.
If they’re there — just download the iMessages back to your iPhone or iPad.
Option 3: Restore Your iMessages Through iCloud or iTunes Backup
The next option you should try when you want to get lost messages back is to restore your device to an earlier state before the messages were deleted. You can do this if you have iCloud or iTunes backups.
This won’t always work.
For example, if your backups don’t go back far enough in time, they might not still contain the messages you’re looking for. If you lost a conversation from a year ago, but your only backup is from three months ago, you might be out of luck.
Another issue is that to use a backup for your iPhone, you’ll have to erase the data on your current device to get back the data from an earlier time (which means you’ll lose newer data from after the backup was made).
That being said, this is the most accessible option, and it’s free. Let’s take a look at how to retrieve deleted text messages.
Here are the steps to restoring your device from a backup:
- Open your iPhone and open the Settings app.
- Scroll down and click General.
- Near the bottom, you’ll see Transfer or Reset iPhone. Click this button.
- Next, click Erase All Content and Settings.
- Your device will ask you for your password to confirm. Type it in and press Yes to proceed.
- After your device is erased, it will reboot. Follow the steps and connect it to Wi-Fi.
- It will ask you how you want to set up your device next. If you’re restoring from an iCloud backup, select Restore from iCloud Backup. If you’re backing up from iTunes, click Restore from iTunes Backup instead. (We’ll show you how to do it from iCloud).
- Sign in to your iCloud account on the next page and agree to the terms and conditions.
- Next, choose the backup you want to apply to your phone. If you don’t see the one you want, click Show All Backups.
- Your iPhone will now restore your old backup!
If you made this backup before deleting, you should be able to recover deleted text messages to your device!
This option might be far from ideal (but let’s face it, you’re already in a situation that’s far from ideal).
If you’re willing to spend money on an application that won’t make you restore an entire backup, check out the next option.
Option 4: Restore iMessages with iExplorer
Although this option costs money, it can restore messages from your backups without having to do a full reset on your iPhone.
There are several different kinds of options, but we’ll cover the iExplorer app — which costs $39.99.
The Explorer app works by sifting through all of the content on your backups and selecting specific data to export as a file. This works for your iTunes backups as well.
This works for iMessage, contacts, music, notes, and more.
Let’s go through the steps.
- Connect your device to your computer and launch iExplorer after you purchase and download it.
- You can browse your iTunes backup files in the left sidebar. Select the backup file you want to go through.
- Select Messages on the next screen (or whatever other type of data you want to restore).
- Find the conversation that you were looking for.
- You can then export your conversation as text, CSV, or PDF.
Before buying this software, read carefully the guidelines on their website and make sure you match all the requirements to carry out the messages recovery.
Option 5: Reach Out to Your Phone Carrier
This method isn’t a 100% guarantee, but it’s always worth trying if everything else fails.
You may not know this, but your cell phone provider actually stores messages on a server in case law enforcement ever needs it.
(Maybe it’s actually time to go delete more things…)
All phone carriers are different. For example, Verizon keeps a record of calls and text message details for a year, but only keeps the actual content of the message for 3 to 5 days.
AT&T, on the other hand, stores call records and text message details for 5 to 7 years, but they never actually retain the content of the messages.
It’s a long shot, but it might be worth exploring if all other avenues fail.
Key Takeaways on How to Recover Deleted iMessages
Hopefully, you now understand how to recover deleted iMessages on your iPhone.
There are several options to get your iMessages back, but they all have different complications and roadblocks depending on the nature of your circumstances.
Trust me, you’re not the first person to accidentally delete something important on your device. Most people never think they need to make a backup of their phone until something really serious happens.
Want to avoid this hectic situation again in the future?
Make regular backups of your phone. Backing up your iMessages to your computer or iCloud is the safest option.
Even if you end up chucking your phone into the Grand Canyon, your data will still be accessible.
If you want more great tips and tricks for iMessage, make sure to check out our other articles that can help you with whatever you need.
If you happen to have any questions or concerns about this operation, you can leave me a comment on the post and I will get back with you.