How to Retrieve Deleted Text Messages on iPhone with or without Backup

Get 6 methods to recover deleted text messages on your iPhone, no matter whether you have an iPhone backup or not. Compatible with the newest iOS 16 & iPhone 14.

Author Avatar Joy Taylor Last Updated: Dec. 29, 2022
PhoneRescue for iOS – Retrieve Deleted Texts without Backup

If you accidentally deleted the whole text conversation and no backup is found, free download PhoneRescue for iOS to recover those deleted messages without backup or with backup.

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 what to do if you mistakenly deleted the messages during cleaning the storage of your iPhone; Or you accidentally lost all text conversations after iOS update, iPhone restores or device jailbreak, etc?

So you must be wondering “Can I recover deleted text messages on my iPhone?” Well, the answer is YES on most occasions. But how to retrieve deleted text conversations in an exact way? How to get back deleted texts with or without a backup? Here in this post, keep reading and you can find an answer.

How to Retrieve Deleted Text Messages on iPhone

How to Retrieve Deleted Text Messages on iPhone

Can you Recover Deleted Text Messages on iPhone Without Backup?

Situation 1. If You have backed up Your iPhone

If you have a nice habit of backing up iPhone messages and other data, no matter to iCloud or to iTunes/Finder, or a local backup folder, then there is a chance to recover your deleted iPhone messages definitely. However, for the iTunes and iCloud backup, Apple does not enable us to preview what exactly is stored in the backup file, so we cannot 100% make sure of whether the deleted messages can be found. But worth a trial.

Situation 2. You have no backup of your iPhone

If you have not backed up your iPhone before, is there one way to find the deleted text messages on your iPhone? Technically, YES. When some data is stored on the iPhone, it is written in the form of code and saved on the internal memory; while when the data is deleted, we cannot see it on the iPhone, but it is still in the internal storage unless some other new data take up its storage position, which is called data overwriting. Therefore, you can also get back deleted messages in this situation.

Situation 3. You have no backup and the messages are overwritten

If there is no backup file and then deleted text messages have been overwritten, there is still the last chance and option you can try – asking for help from your iPhone cellular provider or carrier, who may have stored your text messages on their servers.

And now, based on the possible situations where you may be stuck, we have collected 6 practical methods to help you get back deleted text messages on your iPhone. And all methods support all iPhone models, including the newest iPhone 14 series.

Which Method Should Go First to Make Sure of the Highest Recovering Possibility?

When we apply the methods, can we just take anyone to start? can we just go directly with the backup method if we have iTunes or iCloud backup? There is one order that we can follow so that we can get back the deleted iPhone text messages with the highest probability. Basically, if you have backed up your iPhone to iTunes or iCloud, we do not recommend you to directly restore your iPhone from iTunes/iCloud backup, and here are the reasons:

  • iTunes and iCloud do not enable users to preview what exactly information is stored in the backup files. So there will be some difficulties in making sure whether the deleted text messages are there or not.
  • Restoring iPhone from iTunes or iCloud backups, which requires you to reset your iPhone firstly, which means it first erases the data and files on your iPhone and then uses the backup files to cover the iPhone storage. There is a big problem that the deleted text message storage will be written by the backup files if the backup file does not contain what you want.
  • Try some professional iOS message recovery tool like PhoneRescue for iOS – find the deleted text messages on iPhone directly; If there is no trace of them, then we can turn to the backup method; And the backup file does not provide you what you want, the last option is to ask help from your cellular carrier. So please try the methods one by one in the following order.

Recover Deleted Text Messages from iPhone/iPad without Backup

PhoneRescue for iOS is a professional iPhone data recovery tool. It offers you 3 recovery modes all in one place: Recover from iOS Device, Recover from Backup, and Recover from iCloud. These three Recovery Modes ensure you the highest rate of recovery. And Recover from the iOS Device enables you to directly get deleted/lost messages back from iPhone or iPad. The steps are simple & quick, with no tech skill needed, iPhone messages, including WhatsApp messages, can get recovered in clicks. Besides, you can preview and choose messages to recover with more flexibility.

So, if you want to retrieve deleted text messages on iPhone without backup, Phonerescue for iOS is the first and best way to preview the messages and get them back:

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

Free Download

Free Download

* 100% Clean & Safe

Free Download * 100% Clean & Safe

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

Choose Recover from iOS Device

Choose Recover from iOS Device

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

Choose Messages to Scan

Choose Messages to Scan

Step 4. Preview and recover deleted text conversations. After scanning, you can see the text conversations as below. Check the items that you want to recover, and click the To Computer or To Device button to retrieve them back to your computer or your iPhone.

Preview and Choose to Recover Texts to Computer or iPhone

Preview and Choose to Recover Texts to Computer or iPhone

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

How to Recover Deleted Messages on iPhone 14 without Backup

iPhone 14 is running with the latest iOS 16, which allows you to recover recently deleted messages and conversations within 30 – 40 days. Here are the steps:

  1. Open Messages and enter Recently Deleted.
  2. Check the messages and conversations that you want to recover, and click Recover (the Delete button will permanently delete the messages).
  3. Click Recover xxx Messages to confirm these messages will be recovered to your inbox.
Recover Deleted iPhone Messages without Computer

Recover Deleted iPhone Messages without Computer

Recover iPhone Messages with iTunes/Finder on Computer

1. Recover from iTunes Backup with PhoneRescue for iOS

As we mentioned before, PhoneRescue for iOS also allows you to recover messages from iTunes backup or another backup on computer. And compared to iTunes /iCloud, PhoneRescue enables you to preview the contents in the backup files, and restore only the deleted messages to your iPhone with no need to reset your iPhone. Besides, it can also automatically compare the data between iPhone and its backup to accurately find what you’ve lost. Even you can save them as printable documents like HTML.

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

Step 2. Select Recover from Backup will help you get data back from iTunes or other backups on the computer, and then click the right arrow at the bottom right corner of this screen.

Step 3. Select iTunes backup based on size, created time and iOS version to find where the deleted texts are stored. If you click the “Only Scan Backup” button, PhoneRescue will scan and display all data in the backup. However, if you click the “Compare” button, PhoneRescue will compare data located in the backup with data in your device. And then it will only display data that don’t exist in your device.

Compare iTunes Backup

Compare iTunes Backup

Step 4. Check Messages to continue. You can check Select All or only Messages and click OK to get all text messages and iMessages on iTunes backup.

Choose Messages in iTunes Backup

Choose Messages in iTunes Backup

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 or choose to recover to your computer.

2. Recover Deleted Messages from iTunes/Finder Backup

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. But restore will 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. Please turn off Find My iPhone before the restoration.

If you are not sure whether the iTunes backup contains the deleted SMS or iMessage, you can use some top best iPhone backup viewers to have a look at the content in the backup files.

1. On Windows PC and macOS Mojave and earlier

On the Windows PC or macOS Mojave and earlier you can use iTunes to restore iPhone messages:

Step 1. Run iTunes and connect the iPhone to the computer.

Step 2. Click Summary and click Restore Backup.

Restore iPhone Messages from iTunes Backup

Restore iPhone Messages from iTunes Backup

Step 3. Choose a backup and click Restore to start.

Select iPhone backups to restore your deleted messages

Select iPhone backups to restore your deleted messages

Step 4. Click Restore to restore iPhone messages.

Erase iPhone to Restore Messages from iTunes

Erase iPhone to Restore Messages from iTunes

2. On macOS Catalina and later

You can use Finder to restore your iPhone deleted messages on macOS Catalina and later:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac computer. Open Finder and find your iPhone under Locations.
  2. Click on your iPhone and choose Manage Backups to select a backup you think will contain the deleted iPhone messages, then click OK.
  3. Then click on Restore iPhone… to start to restore your iPhone backup.
Restore iPhone Messages with Finder

Restore iPhone Messages with Finder

Further Reading: Fix iTunes Preparing iPhone for Restore Stuck >

How to Retrieve iPhone Texts from iCloud Backup

1. Recover from iCloud Backup Locally

Similar to iTunes restore, this method will also erase your iPhone, 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 the iPhone from iCloud here.

Recover Messages from iCloud Backup

Recover Messages from iCloud Backup

Here is how to retrieve iPhone messages from iCloud backup:

  1. Run the Settings app on your 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 your iPhone finishes the erase. (The screen will show only the Apple icon.)
  4. After the erase is 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 set up 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 log in to your iCloud.
  7. Choose Backup and start to restore messages and everything to your iPhone.

2. Recover from iCloud Backup with PhoneRescue for iOS

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

Step 2. Select Recover from iCloud.

Step 3. Sign in to your iCloud account. Now you should Log in with your Apple ID and password, PhoneRescue will extract data from iCloud.

Sign in iCloud in PhoneRescue

Sign in iCloud in PhoneRescue

Step 4. Click iCloud Backup.

Choose iCloud Backup

Choose iCloud Backup

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.

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 the computer.

Recover Messages to iPhone or Computer

Recover Messages to iPhone or Computer

Further Reading: How to Fix iCloud Restore Stuck >

Retrieve iPhone Messages with iCloud Messages

After iOS 11.4, the iCloud Messages feature is available on all iOS devices, and messages will sync among iOS devices if you are logged in with the same Apple ID and turn on iCloud Messages. You can see the Messages option under iCloud Settings on your iPhone, and when you log into, you can see here is a messages icon. So if your iPhone messages get deleted, you can try to retrieve them from iCloud Messages. Here is how:

  1.  Go to the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap [your name] and tap iCloud.
  3. Disable the Messages app by toggling it off.
  4. And then enable Messages again.
  5. Go to your Messages app you will see the “Downloading Messages from iCloud…” notification under the screen.
Recover iPhone Messages with iCloud Messages

Recover iPhone Messages with iCloud Messages

Retrieve Deleted Messages on iPhone from Your Cellular Provider

This way depends, but it costs nothing to ask. Some cellular service providers keep your text messages and calls.

You can call customer services to have a try. Please be polite and reasonable.

Bonus Tips for Recovering Deleted Text Messages on iPhone

Getting back the deleted text messages on iPhone could be a headache and time-consuming, so we need to do something in case of its loss, or even again. And here are two tips recommended.

Bonus Tip 1. Backup Your iPhone

Backing up your iPhone must be the most efficient way to rescue your deleted text messages when they are gone. So no matter what you are doing with your iPhone for upgrading, restoring, jailbreaking, or more, please back up your iPhone. And the best option that we sincerely recommend is backing iPhone up regularly. If you have no idea of how to back up your iPhone, here is a guide you can refer to How to Backup iPhone to iTunes/iCloud/PC/Mac >>

Bonus Tip 2. Keep Your Messages Forever

Have you ever encountered this weird thing: Your iPhone text messages are deleted or disappear suddenly, even if you have done nothing at all? Actually, if you are suffering from this, there is a high probability that you have changed the Message History option in Settings, where there are three choices for keeping messages: 30 days, 1 year, and forever. So if you have selected the 30-day or 1-year option, when the time is up, the messages will be deleted automatically. So why not check it now and set it to forever?

The Bottom Line

The above are all methods we know to recover deleted iPhone messages, you can choose the one you need. If you have any questions about this article or some other iPhone-related problems, please leave a comment. At last, don’t forget to download the free trial of PhoneRescue for iOS to have a try!

PhoneRescue – iPhone Data Recovery

  • Recover deleted texts/iMessages from iPhone even without backup.
  • No harm to the existing data and no need to restore your iPhone.
  • Recover iPhone messages from iTunes or iCloud backup directly.
  • Support all iPhones and iOS 16 supported, 100% clean & safe.

Free Download100% Clean & Safe

Free Download100% Clean & Safe

Free Download * 100% Clean & Safe

Author Avatar
Joy Taylor Twitter Share Facebook Share

Senior writer of the iMobie team as well as an Apple fan, love to help more users solve various types of iOS & Android-related issues.

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