6 ways to Recover Deleted Texts on iPhone

How do I restore deleted iPhone text messages?

Last Updated:  |  Author: Dev Team

How to recover deleted text messages on iPhone


Text messages contain some of the most important information we have. From heartfelt words from a loved one to messages which could provide crucial evidence in a court case, preserving these texts is paramount.

Unfortunately, it can be easy to accidentally delete messages when you are trying to clear some storage space on your iPhone.

You can safeguard your precious texts by regularly backing up your iPhone. But what if you find yourself without a backup?

Fear not! This article will guide you through 6 proven methods to retrieve your deleted iPhone messages, whether they are text messages, iMessages or WhatsApp messages.

Method 1: Recover messages from an iPhone backup on your computer

Unlike some other solutions in this article, this one doesn't require you to overwrite your current iPhone data to retrieve your deleted messages.

Using a program like iBackup Extractor, you can retrieve any iPhone messages which were available on the iPhone at the time that a backup was created.

This means that if your messages have been deleted since a backup, you can use iBackup Extractor to get them back.

iBackup Extractor will save your deleted messages to your computer or print them out for you. It will not restore the messages back to your iPhone.

Here's how to recover deleted iPhone messages from a backup:

  1. Download iBackup Extractor on your PC or Mac and run it.

  2. Select the iPhone backup you wish to access.

  3. Click "Messages" and select the conversation containing your deleted messages.

  4. Save the messages to your computer or print them out.

    You can save as PDF, HTML or Plain Text using the buttons at the top of iBackup Extractor.

Recover iPhone Messages from iPhone Backup
Recovering text messages with iBackup Extractor

iBackup Extractor can retrieve SMS, MMS, iMessage, LINE and WhatsApp conversations from an iPhone backup.

Exporting messages with iBackup Extractor will save your texts, important information like date and time sent, and attachments like images.

Download iconDownload iBackup Extractor More info on iBackup Extractor >

Summary (iBackup Extractor):

✔ Requires an iPhone backup on your computer
✔ Won't overwrite your iPhone data
✔ Extract different kinds of data
✔ Retrieves texts, iMessage, WhatsApp and LINE
✔ Save to your computer
✔ Print messages

Watch our video to learn how to recover iPhone text messages with iBackup Extractor

Method 2: Restore your iPhone Messages using an iCloud backup

If you make your iPhone backups to iCloud, you may have a backup of your device from before the time that your messages were deleted.

If so, you can restore your iPhone from an iCloud backup to retrieve your messages. Please bear in mind that using this method will overwrite your current iPhone data with the data in the backup. This can cause loss of data (messages and other files collected since the backup was made). So be very careful when deciding to go ahead with this solution. For more information, check out Apple's guide.

Top Tip

Don't want to overwrite data on your iPhone? We recommend using iBackup Extractor instead.

How to restore messages using an iCloud backup

  1. Check that you have a recent backup which is likely to contain your deleted messages.
    Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Manage Storage > Backups.
    Then tap a device listed under Backups to see the date and size of its latest backup.
    Find iCloud backups on iPhone
  2. Then, go to Settings > General > Reset, and tap 'Erase All Content and Settings'. This can take a few minutes and will start a setup of the device when it is finished.
  3. During setup, on the Apps & Data screen, tap Restore from iCloud Backup.
  4. Sign in with your Apple ID.
  5. Tap "Choose backup" and ensure that you select the correct iCloud backup that you wish to restore.

Did you know...

You can restore WhatsApp Chats to iPhone without erasing the device?

Summary (Restore iCloud Backup):

✔ Requires an iPhone backup in iCloud
✔ Overwrites your iPhone data
✔ Doesn't require a computer
✔ Free

Method 3: Restore your iPhone Messages from iTunes backup

If you back up your iPhone with iTunes, rather than to iCloud, you can restore a backup in a similar way. As such, if you have an iTunes backup on your computer which was created when your iPhone contained your desired messages, you can retrieve your messages.

As with the iCloud backup method, this method will overwrite your current iPhone data. Make sure you have copies of any data you do not want to lose during the backup-restore process. You can save important information like Photos, Messages, Contacts and more to your computer using a program like TouchCopy.

How to restore an iTunes backup to iPhone:

  1. Open iTunes and connect your iPhone using your USB cable.
  2. Select your device icon in iTunes.
  3. Click "Restore Backup".
    Restore iPhone from iTunes backup
  4. Select the backup containing your desired messages.
  5. Click "Restore" to start the process. You'll need to enter your backup encryption password at this point if your backups are encrypted.

Check out Apple's guide for more information about restoring an iTunes backup on iPhone.

Summary (Restore iTunes Backup):

✔ Requires an iPhone backup on your computer
✔ Overwrites your iPhone data
✔ Free

Method 4: How to See Deleted Messages on iPhone [Recover Recently Deleted]

iOS 16 introduced a highly anticipated feature which allows iPhone users to recover recently deleted messages.

Using this feature, you can restore messages you've deleted in the past 30 days on your iPhone, without a backup or even a computer.

How to Restore recently deleted messages on iPhone

  1. Open the Messages app on your iPhone.

  2. Tap 'Edit' and then choose 'Show Recently Deleted'.

    Finding deleted messages on iPhone
  3. Select the messages you want to restore.

  4. Tap 'Recover' and then 'Recover Messages'.

    Restoring recently deleted messages to iPhone

Recovered messages and/or conversations will immediately show in your Messages app again.

Top Tip

If you don't see the 'Edit' option in the top-left corner of the Messages app, tap 'Filters' instead, then choose 'Recently Deleted'.

If your messages were deleted more than 30 days ago, and they are not showing in 'Recently Deleted', check for your messages in a backup on your computer.

Summary (Recover Recently Deleted):

✔ No iPhone backup required
✔ No computer needed
✔ Quick, Easy and Free

Method 5: Contact a friend

The most straightforward method is this - ask the contact with whom your deleted messages were with whether they have the messages on their device.

Depending on your requirements, you could have them screenshot the messages for you and then share them using email or WhatsApp.

Simple, right? It's not as robust as copying messages as PDF or printing them from your computer, or as handy as restoring the messages to your iPhone, but if all else fails, this will ensure that you can keep hold of your important messages.

Summary (Contact a friend):

✔ No iPhone backup needed
✔ No computer needed
✔ Will not overwrite your iPhone data
✔ Quick, Easy and Free

Method 6: Contact your phone service provider

If you haven't got a backup containing your deleted messages, or if your contact doesn't have the messages, your last port of call is to contact your phone service provider.

Not all service providers store information like messages, but some do! So, it is well worth contacting your service provider to see if they have your deleted messages stored.

Make sure you do this as soon as you can because messages are sometimes stored for only a couple of days.

Summary (Contact service provider):

✔ No iPhone backup needed
✔ No computer needed
✔ Will not overwrite your iPhone data


As you can see, there are lots of ways to recover deleted text messages on your iPhone, you just need to know where to look.

Be sure to use this guide as soon as you can after realising that messages have been deleted. The longer you leave it, the more chance of backups being overwritten, or service providers deleting backed-up messages.

iBackup Extractor

Free Download

iBackup Extractor iBackup Extractor X

Recover lost or deleted iPhone messages
from backups on your computer.

Find out more >

Try iBackup Extractor free, today!