There’s a new simple way to recover deleted texts on an iPhone with iOS 16, as well as four other options if you have older software.
Did you inadvertently delete a text message and now need to recover it? There are several methods to recover deleted text messages, so don’t be concerned! We’ll go over how to recover deleted messages in iOS 16, as well as a few other tips and tricks for recovering deleted text messages on an iPhone with older software.
What You Should Know:
In iOS 16, open the Messages app, tap Edit, Show Recently Deleted, select the conversation you want to restore, and tap Recover.
If you don’t have iOS 16, you can recover recently deleted messages by restoring a previous backup from your computer, contacting your carrier, or using third-party apps.
Which Approach Is Right for You?
- Messages App: Recover Deleted Texts (iOS 16)
- Use if: You have iOS 16 and deleted the texts within the last 30 days. If possible, use the simplest method.
- Using iCloud Recovery, you can recover deleted messages on your iPhone
- If you don’t have iOS 16 and have deleted your messages since your last iCloud backup, use this option.
- Restoring Deleted Texts from Your Computer
- If you have iOS 16 but deleted your messages more than 30 days ago, or if you don’t have iOS 16 and your texts were deleted prior to your most recent iCloud backup, use this feature.
- Other options include contacting your carrier or using third-party apps
- If the options above haven’t worked and you’re desperate, use this.
How to Recover Deleted iPhone Messages in the Messages App (iOS 16)
With iOS 16, Apple introduced a super-easy method for recovering recently deleted messages! The catch is that you must be on iOS 16 before deleting the text messages you want to recover. With iOS 16, you can recover deleted text messages up to 30 days after they were deleted (up to 40 days max, depending on the whim of the Apple algorithms). Here’s how to recover deleted messages on your iPhone using the Messages app:
- Tap Edit in the top left corner of the Messages app.
- Tap Show Recently Deleted from the menu that appears.
- You’ll see a list of all conversations deleted in the last 30 days, along with the number of days left. Choose at least one conversation to recover.
- To recover the deleted conversations, tap Recover. Because individual texts in a conversation cannot be recovered, this will restore all texts in the conversation.
- To recover your deleted messages, tap Recover Messages.
- To return to your main messages screen, tap Done in the top right corner.
You should now see the deleted messages on the main screen of your iPhone Messages app!
How to Use iCloud Recovery to Recover Deleted Text Messages on an iPhone
If you don’t have iOS 16, you can recover deleted text messages from an iPhone using iCloud backups. While it is not as simple as the iOS 16 method, if you back up your iPhone to iCloud on a regular basis, you should be able to use this method to recover deleted messages. If you aren’t already, you should definitely be performing regular iCloud backups to ensure that your important data is saved!
First, check your most recent iCloud backup
To recover deleted texts on the iPhone, make sure that the most recent successful backup occurred before the messages were deleted. If this is the case, you can restore deleted text messages using the most recent successful backup. Here’s how to check your most recent iCloud backup to determine the best method for recovering your iPhone deleted messages:
- Open the Settings app and select your Apple ID profile from the list at the top.
- Tap iCloud to access your most recent iCloud backups.
- If necessary, scroll down and select iCloud Backup.
- Check to see if your last successful backup occurred before or after you deleted the texts from your iPhone.
You’re in luck if the iCloud backup predates the time you deleted messages from your iPhone. Follow the steps below to restore the deleted messages from your iCloud backup.
Note: If the date of the last successful backup is after the messages on your iPhone were deleted, try the computer backup method next. If you’re trying to restore an earlier iCloud backup than the most recent, I don’t recommend using the iCloud Recovery option. Because this feature is intended for people with new iPhones, you may only see the option to restore your most recent iCloud backup when setting up your iPhone.
Using iCloud Backup, Restore Deleted Messages on iPhone
To recover the deleted messages, you’ll need to erase your iPhone and restore it using the backup that occurred before the deletion. Here’s how to recover deleted iPhone text messages:
- Scroll down and tap on General after opening the Settings app.
- Scroll all the way to the bottom and choose Transfer or Reset iPhone.
- Erase All Content and Settings is the option. When you restore your iCloud backup, most of your settings will be restored, but you may need to log back in to some of your apps.
- Tap Erase Now in the confirmation menu that appears. If you have older software, you must not select Backup Then Erase, or you will lose the previous backup and be unable to recover the deleted text messages.
- Your iPhone has now been completely erased and will operate as if it were a new device. Follow the on-screen prompts until you reach the Apps & Data page.
- Choose Restore from iCloud Backup from the Apps & Data page. Sign in to iCloud after entering any passwords requested by iCloud Backup.
- Proceed to Choose backup, then select from a list of available iCloud backups. Other than the backup you verified before starting, there may be older backups to choose from (this is not guaranteed).
- Choose the most recent one that predates the text message deletion. Remember that the older the backup, the less likely it is to contain other important data that you’ve added to your iPhone since the backup was created.
After the iPhone is restored, you may need to sign back in to all of your accounts. When this procedure is finished, check to see if you have recovered the deleted text messages from your iPhone. If not, try the next section!
How to Restore Deleted Text Messages on iPhone from Your Computer
If you don’t have iOS 16 and the previous iCloud method for recovering deleted text messages didn’t work, you can recover them using your computer. As long as you’ve been backing up your computer on a regular basis, you should be able to access any saved messages through iTunes. If you have, follow the steps below to recover deleted iPhone texts.
If you have iOS 16 installed but are attempting to restore messages that have been deleted from the Recently Deleted folder, the solution is a little more difficult. The first requirement is that you have been performing regular backups on your computer. Then, whether you accidentally deleted your deleted texts from the Recently Deleted folder or they were automatically deleted after 30 days, you can recover the deleted texts by restoring an older backup that occurred before you first deleted the messages.
Important: It is possible that you have disabled this feature of the PC / Mac syncing process, which could explain why you don’t have access to your text messages here. You might want to change these settings so that it’s easier to recover deleted text messages on an iPhone in the future.
First, turn off Find My iPhone
The first step is to turn off the Find My iPhone feature. While Find My iPhone is enabled, you cannot restore a Finder or iTunes backup because this is intended to prevent someone from restoring a stolen iPhone with their own backup. To disable this iPhone setting, launch the Settings app and tap on your name at the top. Then, tap Find My, choose Find My iPhone, and toggle the Find My iPhone switch to the off position. You’ll be asked for your Apple ID and password.
Connect your iPhone to the computer with which you usually sync it. If you have macOS Catalina or later installed, follow the steps below to restore from the Finder. If you have an older version of macOS or a PC, skip to the next section and restore from iTunes.
To Recover Deleted Messages, Restore Your iPhone from Finder (macOS Catalina or later)
Here’s how to recover deleted text messages from an iPhone backup using Finder:
- Tap Trust if prompted to allow your iPhone to trust and connect with this computer.
- When you connect your iPhone to your Mac, it should appear in Finder under Locations. Simply click on it.
- When you click Manage Backups, a list of your computer’s backups will appear. If there are no available backups, you won’t be able to restore your iPhone from your computer, but keep reading for more options.
- If you see previous backups, double-check the list to ensure that the most recent backup was made before you deleted the text messages, but after you sent them. If so, press the OK button.
- You are now ready to restore. Click the Restore iPhone button.
This procedure is time-consuming, especially if the backup is large. This should recover your text messages as long as your backup was made after they were sent and before they were deleted. Simply follow the prompts, and the iPhone will be restored to its previously backed-up state.
To Recover Deleted Text Messages, Restore Your iPhone with iTunes (PC or macOS Mojave & earlier)
You can try this method to recover deleted text messages on your iPhone if you have a PC or are running macOS Mojave or earlier on your Mac. This process, however, will not work if you have synced with this PC or Mac since deleting your text messages, because iTunes only saves your most recent backup data for a restore. If you haven’t synced with iTunes since you deleted your text messages, this method should restore them to your Messages app!
- Connect your iPhone to the computer with which you usually sync it, and iTunes will launch automatically. If not, simply double-click the program to launch it.
In the top-left corner of the screen, click the phone icon next to the drop-down menu. If it’s not there, your iPhone is most likely not connected to your computer.
- Check that you’re on the Summary page.
- To restore the data backed up from your iPhone, including deleted text messages, click Restore Backup.
- If this option is grayed out, you may need to switch your backup preferences from iCloud to This Computer (on the left side of this screen). After you’ve restored your iPhone, you can always change it back.
If you have a lot of data on your phone or Mac, this process may take a while. Hopefully, you now have access to the deleted messages, but if not, keep reading for more information on how to recover deleted text messages.
Other options include contacting your carrier or using third-party apps
To Recover Deleted Texts, Contact Your Carrier
You may be able to recover deleted text messages in some cases by contacting your cellular service provider. They will have access to backups on occasion if they have not been overwritten or updated.
When you call, you must first request technical support and then request to speak with a representative, as there are unlikely to be accurate menu prompts that will direct you to the appropriate department. While the representative may or may not be able to assist you, they may make recommendations that you have not yet considered.
Verizon, for example, may be able to provide you with access to their retrieval software so that you can recover your deleted texts. In some cases, carriers are limited in their ability to assist due to state laws. As a result, I recommend attempting the methods listed above before contacting your carrier.
- Contact Verizon
- Contact AT&T
- Contact T-Mobile
Recover Deleted Text Messages Using Third-Party Apps
We recommend using this method only as a last resort to recover deleted messages from your iPhone. There are some third-party apps available that can assist you in recovering deleted files and text messages from your iPhone, but they can be risky. Make sure to carefully read the reviews to help you determine the legitimacy of any app you are considering using. If you’re really stuck, there are a few that have received positive feedback and are well-known online.
PhoneRescue by iMobie has an iPhone and Android platform, and WonderShare Dr.Fone for iOS has both a free trial and a paid version available online. Again, there are no guarantees that your privacy will be protected, so even trusted online sources should be carefully considered before diving in out of desperation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it possible to recover deleted text messages?
Yes! You can easily recover deleted text messages on your iPhone for free; the only question is which method is best for you. If you have iOS 16, you can recover deleted text messages by using the Messages app’s secret Recently Deleted messages folder. If you don’t have iOS 16, you can still use iCloud Recovery or restore deleted texts from a computer backup.
How can I free recover deleted text messages from my iPhone?
If you have iOS 16, open the Messages app, tap Edit, select Show Recently Deleted, select the conversations you want to restore, and tap Recover.
How can I recover deleted iPhone messages without a backup?
Even without an iCloud or computer backup, you can recover deleted texts from a folder in the Messages app if you have iOS 16 installed. You can also contact your carrier to see if they can assist you.
How do I recover deleted messages from my iPhone without using iCloud?
Even if you don’t have iCloud, you can recover recently deleted text messages from a computer backup. If you have iOS 16, you can also recover deleted texts from the Messages app’s Recently Deleted folder. Another option is to contact your carrier and see if they can assist you in recovering your deleted iMessages.
Can I recover a deleted text message?
Yes! Open the Messages app if iOS 16 is installed, tap Edit, Show Recently Deleted, select the conversation you want to restore, and tap Recover. However, you can only recover conversations using this method, not individual texts within a conversation.
Let us know which method works best for you now that you’ve learned how to recover deleted messages on iPhone. If you’ve tried an app for recovering deleted text messages, we’d love to hear about your experience.