How to Retrieve Deleted Text Messages on iPhone [Tutorial]

Get 5 methods to recover all deleted text messages on your iPhone, no matter whether you have iPhone backup or not. ( Compatible with all iOS versions, include iOS 12. And apples to all iPhone )

By Joy Taylor | Posted on: Oct. 21, 2018, Last Updated: Nov. 23, 2018
How to Retrieve Deleted Text Messages on iPhone

How to Retrieve Deleted Text Messages on iPhone

As one of your frequently used iPhone apps, the Message app may contain some important text messages and iMessages that you would like to keep forever. But during cleaning the storage of your iPhone,  you mistakenly deleted the messages. Or you accidentally lost all message conversations after iOS update, iPhone restore or device jailbreak.

So you are wondering whether you can get back the deleted items and how to recover deleted text messages in a quick way?

Related Reading: How to Easily Recover Messages on Android Phone

In fact, the recovery method could be vary from the situation where you lost the messages. And below we give you 5 methods to retrieve them. And if you didn’t backup your iPhone messages to iTunes or iCloud, you can try the first method. If you have backed up before, you can select the method as you like from the rest.

Here’re the 5 methods to retrieve iPhone messages:

Bonus Tip: Backup iPhone Messages In Case Of Any Potential Data Loss

How to Recover Deleted Texts on iPhone without Backup?

Actually, even if you have no iPhone backup, you still be able to get back deleted text messages and iMessages. Since the iPhone messages that you recently deleted will be hidden from the screen and technically marked with “deleted” labels by system. They will not be immediately erased from your iPhone storage until space is needed for the new data that you created.

If you didn’t backup your iPhone to iTunes, you’d better stop using your iPhone to prevent new data from overwriting the messages marked with “Deleted” label. And you should take a quick action to use some professional iPhone data recovery apps to analyze your iPhone to find the marked texts and recover them.

Normally it’s easy to recover messages using these apps. And below we give you the details on how to retrieve deleted text messages on iPhone using PhoneRescue for iOS, one of top data recovery apps, and got 5 millions downloads.

4 Steps to Directly Retrieve iPhone Messages without Backup

Step 1. Download PhoneRescue for iOS to computer, install and run it.

Free Download

Free Download

* 100% Clean & Safe

Free Download * 100% Clean & Safe

Step 2. Connect iPhone to computer using USB cable, choose Recover from iOS Device and click Right Arrow to continue.

Retrieve Deleted Text Messages on iPhone without Backup - Step 2

How to Retrieve Deleted Text Messages on iPhone without Backup – Step 2

Step 3. Select Messages and click Okay to scan only the deleted messages on iPhone.

Retrieve Deleted Text Messages on iPhone without Backup - Step 3

How to Retrieve Deleted Text Messages on iPhone without Backup – Step 3

Step 4. Preview all deleted messages,  check the items that you want to recover, and click To Device buttons to retrieve them back to your iPhone .

Recover Deleted Text Messages on iPhone with PhoneRescue - Step 4

How to Recover Deleted Text Messages on iPhone with Backup – Step 4

Except recovering deleted text messages and getting them back to your iPhone, PhoneRescue for iOS also supports exporting the deleted iPhone messages to computer for backup by clicking To Computer button, and save them as printable document like HTML and TEXT format.

(This method is compatible with the iOS from iOS 5 to iOS 12, and supports all popular iPhone generation, including the new iPhone XS and iPhone XR. )

[Videos Tutorial] How to Recover Texts on iPhone without Backup

How to Recover Deleted iPhone Texts from iTunes Backup

If you’ve ever used iTunes to backup your iPhone to computer,  your iPhone backups may contain the text messages or iMessages that you deleted. But device restore is dangerous since it will erase the current data on your iPhone and the backup may have no messages that you want, so here you may need one iPhone backup extractor to preview the contents on iTunes backup, and extract only the deleted items back to your device.

To preview contents on iPhone and restore only the deleted messages, PhoneRescue for iOS may be the best one that you need. since it can automatically compare the data between iPhone and it’s backup to accurately find what you’ve lost.

Besides, if your iPhone was lost or stolen, this app could also be helpful for you to preview the messages on your backup, and even save them as printable documents like HTML.

How to retrieve messages from iTunes to iPhone in a few clicks.

Step 1. Download PhoneRescue for iOS to your computer, install and run it.

Free Download

Free Download

* 100% Clean & Safe

Free Download * 100% Clean & Safe

Step 2. Select Recover from iTunes Backup, and click right arrow to get all iPhone backups on your computer.

Recover Deleted Text Messages from iTunes Backup with PhoneRescue – Step 2

How to Retrieve Deleted Text Messages on iPhone from iTunes – Step 2

Step 3. Select iTunes backup based on size, created time and iOS version, and click right arrow to scan your deleted text messages on the backup.

Extract Text Messages from iTunes Backup with PhoneRescue – Step 3

How to Retrieve Text Messages from iTunes Backup to iPhone – Step 3

Step 4. Check only Messages and click Okay to get all text message and iMessages on iTunes backup.

Recover Deleted Text Messages from iTunes Backup with PhoneRescue – Step 4

How to Recover Deleted Text Messages on iPhone from iTunes Backup – Step 4

Step 5. Preview all messages conversations on your iTunes backup, select the messages you want to retrieve, and click To Device to restore the deleted messages to your iPhone.

Extract Text Messages from iTunes Backup with PhoneRescue – Step 5

How to Extract Deleted Messages from iTunes Backup – Step 5

How to Recover Deleted Messages from iCloud to iPhone

If you’ve ever backed up your iPhone to iCloud, your iPhone messages may be stored on iCloud server.  To avoid another auto backup or auto sync from your iPhone to erase the messages on the iCloud, you should immediately turn off WiFi or Cellular on your iPhone, and take action to find your deleted text messages using iCloud data extracting tools.

As top 1 iPhone data recovery, PhoneRescue for iOS also enables you to restore valuables from iCloud backup -download iCloud backup files to computer, preview all deleted iPhone messages and recover specific items to your iPhone.

Surely, if your iPhone is not available, you can also retrieve your lost items from iCloud to computer as long as you own the Apple ID and password. Now follow us to retrieve deleted text messages on iPhone from iCloud backup. (The process is similar to method 2 – recover messages from iTunes backup)

Step 1. Download PhoneRescue for iOS to your PC or Mac, install and run it.

Free Download

Free Download

* 100% Clean & Safe

Free Download * 100% Clean & Safe

Step 2. Select Recover from iCloud and click on right arrow to continue. (Connect your iPhone to computer if you want to recover messages from iCloud to your iPhone.)

How to Recover Deleted Text Messages on iPhone from iCloud - Step 2

How to Recover Deleted Text Messages on iPhone from iCloud – Step 2

Step 3. Sign in your iCloud account with your Apple ID and password.

How to Recover Deleted Text Messages on iPhone from iCloud - Step 3

How to Recover Deleted Text Messages on iPhone from iCloud – Step 3

Step 4. Click iCloud Backup to get your backups on iCloud server.

How to Recover Deleted Text Messages on iPhone from iCloud - Step 4

How to Recover Deleted Text Messages on iPhone from iCloud – Step 4

Step 5. Download backup based on its created time, size and iOS version, and then select only Messages to get all message conversations on your iCloud backup.

How to Recover Deleted Text Messages on iPhone from iCloud - Step 5

How to Recover Deleted Text Messages on iPhone from iCloud – Step 5

Step 6. Preview the conversations on iCloud backup, check the items you want to recover, and click To Device to recover them to your iPhone. Or click To Computer to save text messages and iMessages to computer.

How to Recover Deleted Text Messages on iPhone from iCloud - Step 6

How to Recover Deleted Text Messages on iPhone from iCloud – Step 6

Restore iPhone from iTunes to Get Back Deleted Texts

If you are sure that the iTunes backup contains the messages that you’ve lost or deleted, this could be another way to retrieve deleted text messages on your iPhone, that you can erase the contents on your iPhone and then put all data from the backup to your device. Not only the messages, but also the photos, contacts and everything will be restored from the iPhone backup to your device.

If you are not sure whether the iTunes backup contains the deleted SMS or iMessages, you can use some top best iPhone backup viewers to have a look at the content in the backup files. For details on how to recover only messages instead of all things from iCloud, you can jump to method 2.

Steps to Restore Messages from iTunes Backup

Please turn off Find My iPhone before restore.

Step 1. Connect iPhone to computer, run iTunes and click iPhone icon.

Restore Deleted Text Messages from iTunes to iPhone

Restore Deleted Text Messages from iTunes to iPhone

Step 2. Click Summary and click Restore Backup.

Restore Deleted Text Messages from iTunes - Step 2

Restore Deleted Text Messages from iTunes – Step 2

Step 3. Choose backup based on the name and click Restore to start the process.

Select iPhone backups to restore your deleted messages

Select iPhone backups to restore your deleted messages

Step 4. It may notice you the restore will erase your media and other data.

Erase iPhone to Restore Messages from iTunes

Erase iPhone to Restore Messages from iTunes

Restore iPhone from iCloud to Get Back Deleted Texts

Similar to iTunes restore, this method will also erase your device, and then put all things from the iCloud backup to your iPhone. If you are sure there are deleted messages stored in the backup, you can now follow us to restore iPhone from iCloud here.

If you are not sure, you are suggested to use iPhone backup extractor to view and extract messages in the backup by following our method 3. Now let’s know how to do a restore from iPhone to retrieve messages. And before you get started, you’d better write down you Apple ID and passcode for future use.

  1. Run Settings app on iPhone, go to General > Reset, and tap Reset All Content and Settings.
  2. Input your passcode to continue the erase, and this will delete all media and data and reset all settings.
  3. Wait for some time until the your iPhone finish the erase. (The screen will show only the Apple icon.)
  4. After the erase finished, now you can start setting up your iPhone. (Language , country and keyboard)
  5. Input password to connect to the WiFi and activate your iPhone. And setup passcode, Touch ID or Face ID.
  6. Input your Apple ID and password.  On the App & Data Screen, tap Restore from iCloud backup and then login your iCloud.
  7. Choose Backup and start to restore messages and everything to your iPhone.
Restore Deleted Messages and Everything from iCloud backup

Restore Deleted Messages and Everything from iCloud backup

Bonus Tip: Backup iPhone Messages Regularly In Case of Data Loss Again

All the data recovery software is based on the premise that the deleted data or files are not overwritten, so if you have not found the deleted text messages on your iPhone 8/X/7/6s/6/5s/5, after trying the three methods above, then it means the deleted text messages are completely overwritten by other new data. Not only PhoneRescue for iOS, but also other iPhone data recovery software can’t get them back.

This makes backing up iPhone regularly much more necessary. Although you can back up iPhone by making an iTunes or iCloud backup, not all the people remember to back up iPhone regularly, and you also can’t back up only messages. Next, we will recommend you an iOS data management tool – AnyTrans, which can help you back up only iPhone text messages, and backup up your iPhone automatically and regularly.

Method 1: Back Up Only iPhone Text Messages to PC/Mac Computer

AnyTrans allows you to transfer text messages from iPhone to PC or Mac computer for backup, even in HTML, PDF or TEXT format. To backup iPhone messages, you just need to perform the following steps:

Step 1: Download AnyTrans on your computer > Run and install it > Click Device Tab on homepage of AnyTrans > Click  button to manage iPhone content by category > Select Messages option.

Step 2: Click Settings button > Select the format you want to export, like HTML, TEXT or PDF.

Back Up Only iPhone Messages – Step 2

Back Up Only iPhone Messages – Step 2

Step 3: Select the contacts with messages you want to backup > Click To Computer button to back up iPhone messages to computer.

Back Up Only iPhone Messages – Step 3

Back Up Only iPhone Messages – Step 3

Step 4: View the backed up iPhone messages and attachments on computer.

View Backed Up iPhone Messages on Computer

View Backed Up iPhone Messages on Computer

Back Up Your iPhone Messages Now >

Method 2: Back Up iPhone Regularly Automatically

Except back up only messages from iPhone to computer, AnyTrans also allows you to back up your iPhone regularly and automatically. You just need to enable Air Backup on and set up the backup schedule, like Daily, 2 Days, 3 Days, Weekly, etc., every time you open your computer even if you don’t use AnyTrans, it still will back up your iPhone automatically. Just like the following screenshot shows:

Back Up iPhone Regularly Automatically

Back Up iPhone Regularly Automatically

Start Backing Up iPhone Regularly Now >

Joy Taylor

Member of iMobie team as well as an Apple fan, love to help more users solve various types of iPhone related issues.