Recover Deleted Text Messages on iPhone

Recover Deleted Text Messages on iPhone


Oops, you accidentally deleted a text message that you still need! Not all hope is lost yet, but recovery could be tricky. […]

Text messages have a reputation for being informal and inconsequential, but they could contain really important information! If you deleted a couple of SMS to free up space on your iPhone and accidentally destroyed an important message in the process, all hope is not lost yet.

There are three ways to recover a deleted text message: You can reset your iPhone to a time before the message was deleted, you may be able to contact your mobile carrier, and you can use a third-party app. In the following, all three possibilities are briefly explained.

Recover Deleted Texts using iCloud Backup

This is probably the easiest and fastest way to recover lost messages. If you have an iCloud backup from the time before the text was deleted, you should be able to restore it by setting up your phone again with this iCloud backup.

Check if your last iCloud backup was made before deleting the text message.

Open the Settings, tap on your Apple ID at the top and select iCloud > Manage Storage > Backups. You will see a list of backups for your devices and you can tap on the backup for your iPhone to see when it was last backed up.

Now comes the annoying part. You need to factory reset and set up your iPhone again, choosing the recovery from your iCloud backup. All data from the time after the backup is lost. I hope that these SMS are really important!

To reset your iPhone, select “General” > “Reset” > “Delete all content and settings”. Once your iPhone restarts and the setup process starts, choose the recovery from an iCloud backup and the backup that is dated before deleting your text messages.

Recover Deleted Texts from an iTunes or Finder Backup

If you don’t want to rely on automatic iCloud backups or don’t have enough iCloud storage space for it, you can back up your iPhone to your Mac with Finder (or to your PC with iTunes or Mac with macOS Mojave or earlier). As with the iCloud method, it is also necessary here to have a backup from before deleting the message and to reset the smartphone and restore it from this backup. Everything that happened after the backup is lost in the process.

Connect your iPhone to the PC or Mac where you made the backup. On a PC (or a Mac with an older version of macOS), launch iTunes. On a Mac with macOS Catalina or higher, open the Finder. In iTunes, click on the iPhone icon in the upper left corner. On a Mac with macOS Catalina or higher, select your device in the left menu bar of the Finder.

Now select “Restore Backup”. All the data you backed up before will now replace the data on your iPhone. This will take a few minutes. As long as you have not made a backup copy since deleting the text messages, they should now appear in the message list on your mobile phone.

Recover deleted texts by contacting your mobile operator

Your mobile service provider may store the text messages you send, at least for a certain period of time. If you deleted a really important text message, you may be able to call your provider to get a copy of it.

Note that this only works for SMS messages (conversations with green speech bubble), not for iMessages (conversations with blue speech bubble). Each iMessage is encrypted on your device and decrypted only at the recipient, so your provider will not be able to help you restore it.

To get a record of the texts from your provider, you will probably have to overcome a bunch of hurdles to prove your identity or even get permission from the other person with whom you wrote. In addition, most providers keep the records of SMS messages only for a limited time – it is unlikely that you will be able to restore a message from a year ago.

As a last resort, you can get a copy of your SMS messages from your mobile operator, and it’s worth calling customer service and asking.

Recover deleted texts with a third-party app

There are quite a lot of third-party software tools that promise that you can recover deleted data on your iPhone, including deleted text messages. This carries a certain risk – they are almost never free, and there is no guarantee that they will work at all. But if you have exhausted all other options and it really matters, then maybe it’s worth a try.

Some of the software options that have a good reputation online are PhoneRescue, Wondershare Dr. Fone and Tenorshare UltData. In most cases, a deleted message on the iPhone is still in flash memory, waiting to be overwritten with new data. If that is the case, one of these programs may be able to recover them.

*Jason Cross has been writing professionally about technology for over 20 years. His goal is to find out how complicated technology works, and explain it in such a way that everyone understands it.

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