Recovery & Repair
Data Transfer

How to Retrieve Deleted Text Messages on iPhone [5 Ways]

author Emily Watson
date Tuesday, November 1, 2023

Your Messages app may be fed up with spam text messages. Sometimes when you try to clean up the unwanted ones, you may accidentally delete the important ones. Fortunately, it is easy to recover deleted messages on iPhone, whether you have a backup or not. Here we will introduce 5 practical ways for you to get back your valuable messages.

  • 📌Note: If you have permanently deleted a message and want to recover it without backup, stop using your iPhone and disconnect the internet immediately, in case it is overwritten by new data.
  • Retrieve Deleted Messages on iPhone

    Recover Deleted Text Messages on iPhone in the Messages App

    Starting from iOS 16, Apple has added a Recently Deleted feature in the Messages app to collect your deleted messages for up to 30 days (maybe 40 days). So if your iPhone is running iOS 16/17, you can easily recover deleted messages on iPhone in the Recently Deleted folder.

    tips Note
  • Your iPhone has to be running iOS 16/17 before you delete the text messages. So if you upgrade your iPhone after losing the messages, this method may not work.
    1. Launch your Messages app. Tap "Filters" in the top-left corner.
    2. Tap Recently Deleted to see the deleted messages.
    3. Choose the message you want to recover and tap "Recover".

    Recover Recently Deleted Messages

    tips Note
  • Some of the messages may be recognized as junk messages. You can go to "Settings > Messages > Junk" to find your missed old messages.
  • Retrieve Deleted Text Messages on iPhone Without Backup

    If you cannot find the deleted messages in "Recently Deleted", or you want to recover deleted text messages on iPhone without backup, you should turn to a professional third-party data recovery tool for help.

    Here we highly recommend FonePaw iPhone Data Recovery. This software helps you to retrieve deleted or lost SMS/MMS from iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch to PC/Mac efficiently. And it can even help you recover deleted iMessages. What’s more, FonePaw stands out for its ability to recover deleted text messages without backup, easily tracing back your valuable messages.

    The recovered messages will be exported as CSV and HTML files on your computer. It’s compatible with a wide range or iPhone models and iOS versions, so you can have no worry to use it.

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    Follow the steps below to retrieve deleted messages on iPhone without backup:

    Step 1. Download, install, and launch FonePaw iPhone Data Recovery on your computer.

    Step 2. Connect your iPhone to the computer, choose "Recover for iOS device" and click Start Scan to find the messages on your iPhone.

    Start Scan iPhone

    Step 3. Preview and select the deleted messages you want to recover.

    Select Messages to Recover

    Step 4. Click "Recover" to get back your deleted messages and extract them to your computer.

    Recover Deleted Messages to Computer

    🎬 Video Guide: How to Recover Deleted Messages on iPhone with FonePaw

    Get Back Deleted Text Messages on iPhone from Backup

    If you are sure the important messages are stored in your previous iTunes/iCloud backup, you can try to restore the backup to retrieve deleted text messages on iPhone.

    tips Note
  • Restoring means that the current data on your iPhone will be totally erased. If it has been days since you backup the last time, don’t forget to backup your current data before restoring, or you will lose the data that is not in the backup.
  • From iTunes/Finder Backup

    1. Launch iTunes/Finder on your PC or Mac, and connect your iPhone to it.
    2. Enter your screen passcode on your iPhone to trust the computer.
    3. Select your iPhone in iTunes/Finder, and click Restore Backup.
    4. Check the date of the backup file, choose the one that contains your deleted messages.
    5. Click Restore to recover deleted messages on iPhone. Then find your deleted messages in the Messages app.

    Restore iTunes Backup to iPhone

    From iCloud Backup

    To recover deleted messages on iPhone from an iCloud backup, you'd better check the backup beforehand: Go to "Settings > Apple ID profile (at the top) > iCloud" to see if your iCloud backup for Messages is on. Tap "iCloud Backup" to check the last successful backup time. If the update time is before you delete the messages, you can prepare to restore your iPhone from the backup.

    tips Note
  • The steps are as follows if your phone runs iOS 16/17. For other iOS versions, there may be subtle differences in the specific button name, but the steps are still the same.
    1. Go to "Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Erase All Content and Settings" to restore your phone.
    2. After wiping out all the data, set up your iPhone settings again. On the "Apps & Data" page, choose Restore from iCloud Backup.
    3. Follow the instructions to sign in to iCloud, select the backup, and proceed with restoring. Then you can see your deleted messages in the Messages app.

    Restore iCloud Backup

    Regain iPhone Deleted Text Messages from Carrier

    You can also try to retrieve deleted text messages on iPhone by contacting your carrier, as the cell phone provider stores your messages on servers in case law enforcement needs them.

    If you just want to recover deleted messages on iPhone for personal reasons, this method may not work and the process is a bit cumbersome. You can try this method when you have tried all of the above solutions with no result and the lost text messages are really super important.


    Now you've got 5 methods to recover deleted messages on iPhone. With the professional FonePaw iPhone Data Recovery, even permanently deleted text messages on iPhone are recoverable. Just hit the download button below and get back deleted messages from iPhone without backup right away!

    iPhone Data Recovery
    The best solution to recover lost data from iOS devices!