Text messages have a reputation for being casual and inconsequential, but they may contain some really critical information. So if you deleted some texts to free up space on your iPhone and accidentally got rid of one that is important, don’t panic. There is a good chance that it can be recovered.
The process has three possible paths: you can restore your iPhone to a time before the message was deleted, you can maybe you will be able to contact your wireless service provider and you may be able to use a third-party application. Here is a brief explanation of the three options. None of these are guaranteed to work, but if you’re desperate, it’s worth a try.
Recover Deleted Texts Using an iCloud Backup
This is probably the easiest and fastest way to restore lost texts. If you have an iCloud backup of prior to the moment you deleted the text, you should you will be able to recover it by restoring your phone to that iCloud backup.
Open settingstap your Apple ID card at the top, select iCloud > manage storage > Backups.
You will see a list of backups for your devices and you can tap the one for your iPhone to see when the last backup was made.
Now comes the annoying part. You’ll need to reset your iPhone to factory settings and set it up again, choosing to restore from your iCloud backup during the process. Please note that you will lose all your data from the moment after the backup, so I hope those texts are really important!
To reset your iPhone, go to General > Transfer or reset iPhone > Erase all content and settings.
Once your iPhone restarts and the setup process begins, choose to restore from an iCloud backup and select the backup dated before you deleted your text message.
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 for them, you can back up your iPhone to your Mac using Finder (or to your PC or Mac with macOS Mojave or earlier than still having iTunes). As with the iCloud method, this requires having a backup before deleting the message and restarting your phone, restoring from that backup. You will lose everything after the backup. So please export and save separately any recent files you want to keep.
Connect your iPhone to the Mac or PC that contains the backups. Open Finder on Mac or iTunes on PC.
In iTunes, you should see an iPhone icon appear in the top left corner. Select it. In Finder, select your device in the menu bar on the left.
now choose restore backup. In Finder, you’ll find this option on the General tab.
All the data you previously backed up will now replace the data on your iPhone. This will take a few minutes. As long as you haven’t backed up since you deleted those text messages, they should now appear in your phone’s message list.
Recover deleted texts without overwriting your iPhone
There is a method that is great if it works as it does not require a hard reset. It’s called iCloud Merge, but we’ve had conflicting reports about how successful it can be. For reasons that remain unclear, in certain territories and for certain carriers, iCloud simply doesn’t support SMS messages.
So try the first two steps to see if you’re one of the lucky ones, and skip to the next method if you’re not.
Sign in to iCloud.com with your Apple ID and password.
Click on Text messages. (If this option isn’t visible, your messages haven’t been backed up here, so you can also skip to the next method.)
Search the messages to find the ones you need.
Now go to your iPhone and choose Settings > [your name] > iCloud.
Turn off text messages (or make sure it’s already turned off).
You will see a popup window. Select the option to Keep on my iPhone.
Now turn text messages back on.
Play Link, then wait. After a few minutes, the deleted text messages should reappear on your iPhone.
Restore deleted texts by contacting your carrier
Your mobile phone provider may keep track of the text messages you send, at least for a while. If you have deleted a text message that is Really critical, you may be able to call your carrier to obtain a copy.
Note that this will only work for SMS text messages (green bubble conversations), not iMessages (blue bubble conversations). Every iMessage is encrypted on your device and isn’t decrypted until it reaches the recipient, so your provider won’t be able to help you recover it.
To get a record of your carrier’s text messages, you’ll probably have to go through a lot of hoops to prove your identity or even get permission from the other person you were texting. And most carriers only keep SMS message logs for a limited time; you may never be able to retrieve a message from a year ago.
But as a last resort, get a copy of your SMS messages from your provider. it is a possibility, and it’s worth calling the customer service number to ask about it.
Restore deleted texts using a third-party application
There are quite a few third-party software tools out there that promise to let you restore deleted data on your iPhone, including deleted texts. It’s a bit risky: they’re almost never free, and there’s no guarantee they’ll work. But if you have exhausted all other options and it is Really important, it might be worth a try.
Some of the reputable software options online are PhoneRescue, Wondershare Dr Foneand Tenorshare UltData. Most of the time, a deleted message on your iPhone is still there on flash storage, waiting to be overwritten by new data. If that’s the case, one of these programs might be able to restore it.
Please note that none of these methods is foolproof. If you don’t have a backup that you can restore from before the time you deleted your text message, there’s only a very slim chance of getting it back. So the most important advice is: do not leave important information in your text messages! Copy that data to a more secure and resilient place, a place with your own independent cloud-based backups. Check out our guide to the best cloud storage solutions for Apple users.