Recovery & Repair
Data Transfer

How to Recover Deleted/Old iMessages on Mac [2021 Update]

author Carrie Murray
date Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Here we provide 3 ways to recover deleted/old iMessages on Mac. You can use a data recovery app like FonePaw Data Recovery to recover your deleted/old iMessages in a flash.

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Have you ever accidentally deleted or lost track of old iMessages or conversations on Mac and want to find the deleted/old iMessages back? If you have saved iMessages on iCloud, the messages that you deleted on Mac are deleted from all your devices, which makes it harder to recover the deleted iMessages.

If you are searching for the methods of how to find and restore the deleted iMessages on Mac, you should not miss this post. Here we've collected 3 workable methods to recover deleted iMessages on Mac.

Method 1. Recover Deleted/Old iMessages on Mac with Data Recovery App

To recover deleted iMessages on Mac, you should know where iMessages are stored on Mac. iMessages are stored on Mac in ~/Library/Messages folder, where there are files named chat.db, chat.db-shm, and chat.db-wal, which store iMessages history, Archive folder, and Attachment folder which stores images, gifs, videos, audio files, or other files received on Mac via iMessages.

Tip: In some Macs, the iMessages are stored in ~/Library/Containers/

So even though we cannot undelete iMessages on Messages app, we could recover deleted iMessages if we can find the chat.db, chat.db-shm, or chat.db-wal files that contain the deleted iMessages on Mac. To find and recover deleted/old iMessages, you need FonePaw Data Recovery, which can recover deleted app data (such as iMessages history), photos, documents, and more from MacBook, iMac, and Mac Mini. Read on to check how to recover deleted/old iMessages on Mac with FonePaw Data Recovery.

Here comes the video tutorial.

Step 1. Download and launch FonePaw Data Recovery.

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Step 2. Choose the data type and the location of lost data you want to recover. Here for deleted iMessages, choose "Other". And select the hard disk drives that store the deleted iMessages. Usually, it is the startup disk of your Mac.

Step 3. Click on "Scan" at the right bottom to scan for files that contain deleted iMessages.

Select File Type

Step 4. The software will automatically start the quick scan. It also offers a "Deep Scan" mode for more data search on the computer. But if you don't think it's necessary, just skip to the next step.

Quick Scan Finish

Step 5. After the scan process, locate the file named "chat.db", "chat.db-shm ", and "chat.db-wal ". Make sure the iMessages files are created before your iMessages are deleted. Select the files and click on "Recover" to the path of "Library/Messages" on the Mac.

Recover iMessages

Now open Messages app on Mac and sign in to your account. The deleted iMessages should be restored and seen.

Method 2. Recover Deleted/Old iMessages on Mac with Time Machine

If you have the habit of backing up iMessages regularly, Time Machine is recommended to restore the deleted or old iMessages and conversations on your Mac. It is Mac's built-in backup service. But beware that Time Machine will restore the whole database of iMessages, rather than an individual message or conversation. So, you'd better also back up the latest iMessages in case that they are overwritten.

Step 1. Firstly, sign out of iMessage and quit it.

Step 2. Open Time Machine on your Mac.

Step 3. Open Finder and pull down "Go" menu.

Step 4. Head to Library > Messages, where the iMessages history are saved on Mac

Step 5. In the Messages subfolder, locate the file named "chat.db" whose date is before the deletion.

Step 6. Select that "chat.db" file and click on "Restore".

Time Machine

After the restoring process, open iMessage and sign in again. Now you'll find that all the deleted iMessages and conversations are back.

Method 3. Recover Deleted/Old iMessages on Mac from iPhone/iPad

Don't forget that the deleted iMessages have also been saved on your iPhone or iPad. If the above two methods do not work for you, you can also try to recover the deleted/old iMessages via iPhone/iPad.

To recover deleted/old iMessages from iPhone/iPad, you can use FonePaw iPhone Data Recovery, which enables users to recover any lost data from iOS device, iTunes, or iCloud backup.

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iPhone Data Recovery Homepage

It can recover deleted iMessages directly from iPhone/iPad without backup. But you should try not to use iPhone/iPad after the iMessages are deleted because the iPhone Data Recovery program cannot find the deleted iMessages if they are overwritten by new data on your iPhone/iPad. So, you need to stop creating new data on the iPhone/iPad.

iMessages of iOS Device

Also, if the iMessages have been backed up to iTunes, FonePaw iPhone Data Recovery can retrieve the deleted iMessages from the iTunes backups. Remember to download the FonePaw program on the computer that has your iTunes backups. Otherwise, the program cannot detect the iTunes backup, let alone recovering deleted iMessages from it.

Have you fixed the problem with the methods above? Do you have better solutions to recover the deleted/old iMessages? Any comments and sharing are welcome!

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