We’ve already talked about how to delete your text messages, so now we’re going to look at how to recover deleted text messages on your iPhone. That’s right, text messages don’t really get deleted when you delete them, unless you reset your iPhone to its factory settings — an action designed to erase everything on your device, not just texts.
If you’re passing your iPhone on to someone else, or selling it, then performing a factory reset is the safest way to rid your device of its precious data. If you’ve deleted some texts by mistake and want to recover them, there are ways you can do this. Let’s take a look at a few examples.
Restoring texts from an iCloud Backup
Restoring an iCloud backup is probably the easiest way to recover deleted text messages on your iPhone. Provided that you have iCloud Backup turned on, and your iPhone has been doing its scheduled backups, then your deleted texts should be backed up to iCloud. The service backs up messages sent via iMessage, SMS, and MMS, though it does require the SIM card that was in use when you made the backup.
- Go to Settings > iCloud > Backup.
- Make sure iCloud Backup is turned on.
- After that, you will have to erase your iPhone by going into Settings > General > Reset.
- Choose Erase All Content and Settings.
- Once done, you’ll be asked if you want to restore your iPhone from an iCloud Backup.
- Choose Restore from iCloud Backup.
Once your backup is restored, you should be able to access any texts that were on your phone when you first made the backup.
Restoring texts from an iTunes Backup
If you’re in the habit of doing backups through iTunes, then you should have a number of backups to choose from. However, this requires a bit of digging in the iTunes preferences before you plug your iPhone into your computer.
- In iTunes, go to Edit > Preferences > Devices.
- Make sure Prevent iPods, iPhones, and iPads from syncing automatically is checked.
- Click OK.
If you sync your iPhone with iTunes, you can permanently delete messages so they can’t be recovered. Once you’ve prevented your iPhone from automatically syncing, however, there are two ways to restore your iPhone from an iTunes backup.
- After you reset your iPhone to its factory settings, you can either Restore from iTunes Backup or plug your iPhone into your computer and open iTunes.
- Select your iPhone in the top menu, and in the Summary section, click Restore Backup.
- If asked to update your device, select Download only.
Restoring text with a third-party app
There are many apps that will allow you to retrieve text messages from your iPhone, most of which work in the same way. You plug your iPhone into your computer, open a program, and follow a set of on-screen steps. From texts to call history, these apps will let you recover things you thought were lost forever. Below are a few of our favorites.
iMobie Phone Rescue ($60+)
Phone Rescue will allow you to recover a number of files, including messages. What sets this program apart, however, is that it allows you to recover data from your iCloud account, in addition to your iTunes and device backups. The app also has a number of repair tools, which let you recover your device when it crashes or experiences errors.
Wondershare Dr.Fone ($70+)
This recovery tool is compatible with the latest iOS devices, and you can install the program on both MacOS and Windows-based machines. The software will allow you to quickly recover text messages, as well as photos, videos, and even data from third-party apps like WhatsApp.
Tenorshare Ultdata ($50+)
Like other recovery apps, this app will let you recover both messages and media. It also allows you to recover your iPhone when it’s stuck in recovery mode, or when it fails to install the latest iOS update.