How to Recover Deleted Text Messages on iPhone

Deleting text messages from your iPhone is easy to do, and just as easy to regret. Often, it’s a slip of the finger, while other times you may delete a message before later realising you still need it. Perhaps the lost text messages include an address or date you need, or maybe they hold sentimental value and your heart sank as soon as your finger touched ‘delete’.

Most of us have experience of that sinking feeling, but not everyone knows how to retrieve deleted messages on iPhone. Luckily, we’re here to show you how to get back deleted messages quickly and easily.

Recover deleted iPhone text messages using Enigma Recovery® on your PC/Mac

Why would I need to retrieve deleted text messages on iPhone?

iPhones are easy to use and intuitive, but that doesn’t make them fool-proof. It just takes a second to accidentally click that familiar dustbin symbol, highlight the wrong message when deleting or even set your phone up to automatically erase messages after a set period.

You might think that it’s game over at that point. Many of us would assume these precious text messages are gone forever, but thankfully this is not the case. In fact, even if you don’t have your iPhone backed up through iTunes or iCloud, you can still recover deleted messages on iPhones as they are not permanently erased right away. Instead they are held in the back-end of your iPhone where they are ‘marked’ as available data to be replaced when space is needed.

This means there are several different ways to find deleted messages on iPhones and recover them. Here, we’ll talk you through some of your options.

How to retrieve deleted texts – main methods

With the tips and tutorials below, you can retrieve deleted text messages from a range of phones, including iPhone 11/X/XR/XS/8 as well as iPhone 7/6/SE/5/4, as long as you are using iOS 6 – 13. The method that works best for you will depend on whether you have backed up your iPhone and the type of backup you have.

Methods using Enigma Recovery software

Specialist data recovery software doesn’t just help those who haven’t backed up their iPhones, it also helps those who have, to quickly and easily identify the precise text messages they want to recover. Our tools help iPhone users to recover deleted texts without having to completely overwrite their entire phone’s data.

What devices is Enigma Recovery compatible with?

How to retrieve deleted messages on iPhone without a backup

For those who have deleted messages from their iPhones and do not have a backup in place, data recovery software makes it easy to directly recover deleted messages iPhones have stored in their back-ends. It helps to try to recover deleted text messages as soon after they are lost as possible to minimise the risk that they have been overwritten by fresh data.

Here’s how to retrieve deleted messages from iPhones when you don’t have a back-up file.

  1. Download Enigma Recovery

    Grab your laptop or computer and download Enigma Recovery iPhone data tool. Once the software is installed, open it on your desktop. The software can be used on Mac or Windows computers.

    Download Enigma Recovery & Recover Deleted Text Messages
  2. Connect your iPhone to your computer

    Connect your iPhone to the laptop or computer using a USB cable. If you haven’t connected your device before, you will need to authorise the connection by tapping ‘Trust’ on your phone.

    Connect and trust your phone with computer to get back deleted Text Messages
  3. Scan iPhone for messages

    Now select the types of data you would like to scan the phone for. Since we are trying to recover deleted texts, the scan time will be quicker if you select ‘Messages’ alone. Now click ‘Start scan’. The software will scan for all deleted and existing messages from your iPhone.

    Select SMS & Scan To Recover Deleted Texts
  4. View recovered text messages

    When the scan has finished you will be able to view portions of your deleted and existing messages in the free trial version. Unlock the full version of the software to view all your messages.

    See Recovered iPhone Messages & Text
  5. Save text messages

    Once the software has recovered your deleted text messages, click ‘Export & Restore’. You can now select to save your recovered messages to your computer – supported formats include Excel, PDF, CSV or XML. Once stored on your computer, you can either keep the messages as an additional backup or print them.

    Export and restore your iPhone Text Messages
  6. Restore text messages

    You can also restore your recovered text messages to your iPhone with our free Restore iOS app. Download the Restore app on your device directly from the App Store, and then click ‘Export & Restore’ in the desktop software. Click ‘Restore’, select the data you want to restore and then keep your phone connected whilst the software transfers your deleted texts to the app, where you can view them on your device.

    Restore Text Messages Back to your iPhone Using The Restore App

Recover deleted iPhone text messages using Enigma Recovery® on your PC/Mac

How to retrieve deleted text messages on iPhone with an iTunes or Finder backup

If you backed up your phone using iTunes or Finder before you deleted the messages you want to retrieve, then it’s easy to recover deleted texts from your iPhone. The same goes for retrieving lost text messages when your iPhone is lost or stolen.

Enigma Recovery software helps you to retrieve deleted text messages from your iTunes backup file and has the added benefit of allowing you to find specific texts or threads that you want to recover. You simply scan your backup file for these deleted messages and select specific texts or conversation threads, to either export to your computer or restore to our free iOS app. Here are the steps you need to take:

  1. Install Enigma Recovery software

    Install Enigma Recovery software on your Mac or Windows computer.

    Download Enigma Recovery software & Recover Deleted Text Messages
  2. Find your iTunes backup file

    In the software dashboard, select ‘Recover from my iTunes’ and browse the list of the backups found in the default location on your computer. If you have saved a backup file in a different location, click ‘Browse’ to manually find the file location.

    Retrieve Deleted Text Messages via your itunes Backup
  3. Select ‘Messages’ and starts scan

    The software will display a selection of data types for you to select for inclusion in the scan. To save time, select ‘Messages’ only, and click ‘Start Scan’. The software will now scan your iTunes backup file for deleted and existing SMS Text Messages.

    Select Messages & Scan To Recover your Deleted Texts
  4. View your recovered messages

    Once the scan is complete, you will be able to see your recovered text messages. You can scroll through the list of contacts on the left-hand side of the screen or use the search functionality to find the specific messages that you are looking for.

    See Recovered iPhone Messages & Text
  5. Export or restore text messages

    Now that you have recovered your deleted messages you can either export your recovered messages to your Mac or PC in a variety of formats or restore the recovered messages to our free Restore app on your iPhone

    Export your Recovered iPhone Messages & Text

Other ways to recover deleted text messages from iPhones

How to get back deleted messages on iPhone with an iTunes backup

The above solutions for how to retrieve deleted text messages on iPhones involve using the Enigma Recover software. The software enables you to find and restore lost text messages without a backup file. For those with an iTunes backup file, Enigma software allows you to quickly scan and search for the precise messages you want to retrieve.

For those wondering how to recover deleted text messages on iPhones without using third party software, there are the following options. However, restoring directly from iTunes will replace all of the data on your device with the data from the backup. If you haven’t synced your phone for a while, then you may lose a significant amount of data . If you are happy to continue, follow these steps:

  1. Connect your device

    Using your USB cable, connect your iPhone to your computer or laptop.

    Connect your device via your USB cable
  2. Launch iTunes

    Once your phone is connected, iTunes should open automatically. If it does not, launch the program. You may need to ‘Trust’ the computer with your device.

    Connect and trust your phone with iTunes
  3. Navigate to device screen

    Click on the iPhone icon in the top left of the screen – the Device screen with all of your device information will be displayed.

    Navigate to the device screen
  4. Select ‘Restore Backup’

    Under ‘Backups’ -> ‘Manually Backup and Restore’, click ‘Restore Backup’. If you are using Catalina (Finder), this option is in the ‘General’ tab. You should see a list of backups available; choose the most recent or relevant backup to restore your iPhone, depending on which file includes the text messages that you need to recover.

    Select and restore a backup via iTunes
  5. Restore backup

    Keep your device connected whilst iTunes restores your device to the selected backup. All of the iPhone data from your previous backup will be transferred to your iPhone, replacing the current data.

    Keep your device connected whilst iTunes restores your device to the selected backup

How to retrieve deleted texts with an iCloud backup

This method will replace all current data created since your last backup. If you are happy to overwrite all the data on your device created since your last backup, please proceed with this tutorial to restore your lost messages.

Before you begin, check that your device is operating the latest iOS version. To do this, go to Settings on your iPhone, and then tap ‘General’ > ‘Software Update’. If there is a newer version of iOS available, follow the onscreen instructions to install it. Once you have verified your iOS version is the latest, follow these steps:

  1. Check for an existing iCloud backup

    Check that you have a recent backup, which includes your text messages, to restore from. On your iPhone, go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Manage Storage > Backups. Select a device listed under Backups, to view the date and size of the latest backup available. Ensure that you have a full device backup available from after you sent/received the messages you want to recover, but before they were deleted.

  2. Erase device

    Tap on Settings > General > Reset, and then tap ‘Erase All Content and Settings’. Confirm you want to proceed when prompted and then wait whilst your device is erased.

  3. Sign into iCloud

    The Apps & Data Screen will load when your phone restarts. When prompted, tap ‘Restore from iCloud Backup’, and sign into iCloud using your Apple ID.

  4. Choose backup

    Once logged in, you will see a list of available backups in your account. Choose the backup you need to restore from.

  5. Restore iCloud backup

    Wait whilst the iCloud backup is restored to your device. Once this is complete, you can return to using your phone as normal. Tap on the ‘Messages’ icon and find the text messages that you needed to recover – they should now be showing on your device again.

Recover deleted iPhone text messages using Enigma Recovery® on your PC/Mac

How to see deleted messages on iPhone with an iCloud backup

This tutorial for recovering deleted text messages involves restoring from iCloud Messages. If this feature is available with your provider or territory, then you may be able to restore your text messages from iCloud without overwriting any other phone data.

  1. Log into your iCloud account on iCloud.com.

  2. Select ‘Messages’

    Click on the Text Messages icon. If it does not appear, there is a chance that your Messages have not been backed up with this feature. In this instance please use one of our other tutorials.

  3. Select iCloud

    Open the Settings app in your phone tap [your name] > iCloud.

  4. Deselect Messages

    Deselect ‘Messages’ if it is not already turned off.

  5. Navigate warning

    When the warning pops up, select ‘Keep on My iPhone’.

  6. Enable Messages again.

  7. Merge

    Now tap merge and wait for the messages to reappear in your Messages app.

FAQs

Can I recover deleted text messages – iPhone?

The simple answer is yes, you can recover deleted texts. iPhone users usually know the importance of backing up their data, but it’s easy to either forget entirely or fail to backup regularly enough. However, using Enigma Recovery software is how to find deleted messages on iPhones without having to overwrite your entire device.

When it comes to how to get deleted messages back on iPhones that have been backed up, you can do this relatively simply without the use of third-party software, but this doesn’t come without risks.

Is it risky to restore your iPhone?

It can be, yes. For example, for those wondering how to retrieve deleted text messages, iPhones are easy to backup but restoring your iPhone data after you have deleted messages in error can mean erasing your entire phone contents. When you overwrite all your phone data in this way, if you’ve not backed-up to iTunes or iCloud recently, you risk losing a great deal of recent data, including messages and photos.

Do I need the latest iOS version to recover lost text messages?

Enigma recovery software will help you find and retrieve deleted text messages from iPhones providing you are using iOS 6-13. However, to recover deleted messages from your iPhone from an iCloud backup, you will usually need to ensure you have the latest version of iOS..

Can I recover other types of data from my phone?

Enigma Recovery software helps you to retrieve a wide range of lost data from your iPhone, including photos, iMessages, contacts and call information. For more detailed information on the types of data we can recover, please click here.

If you have read through the tutorials but are still struggling to recover your deleted text messages, please contact our Support Team or visit our Help section, for additional assistance.

About

Victor, our Social Media and Support Manager helps customers to get the most out of our products. He was formerly a professional dancer who came to Enigma Digital due to his interest in emerging tech trends

Comments

  • Adam thompson at 11:38 am

    I am trying to view old text messages from approximately 2 years ago and maybe further back. I have i cloud backups from this time. Do you think your software is capable of helping me with this

    • Hi Adam,

      Thanks for getting in touch. Our software is capable of recovering deleted data, including Text Messages from several years ago, depending on how the phone has been used etc. We offer a free trial of our software and would advise that you download the free trial first so you can get a preview of deleted data the software has found on both your device and/or an iCloud backup file. Hope this helps, let us know if you need any more assistance, please!

      Thanks,
      Shaazia

    • Hello Renz,

      Thanks for your message! With Enigma Recovery software you can recover deleted messages from your iPhone, iTunes or iCloud backup files. We recommend that you download our free trial software and either connect your iPhone or select a backup file for recovery – the software will scan and display a limited selection of deleted messages in the free trial.

      Hope this helps! If you need more assistance, our Support Team is available via the Chat icon at the bottom of the screen, or via email and will be glad to assist you!

      Thanks,
      Shaazia

  • Hopeful at 4:04 pm

    I have an iphone 6 that on July 2018 i woke up one morning and the screen was blank I tried to recover but it wouldn’t let me I sent it to be fixed and they were able to get the phone back on an updated but there were text messages that had been deleted that I desperatley want to retrieve … I bought another phone and transferred Sim card to it the old phone hasn’t been used to send messages since July do you think the deleted messages could still be in the back-end of the phone

    • Hello,

      Thanks for your message.

      Just for clarity, messages are not stored on iPhone SIM cards. The best options for recovery would be to use iCloud or an older iTunes backup. It’s not immediately clear from your message how in-depth the repair work to your device was – the extent of this could have an impact on your ability to recover messages. I would advise downloading our free trial of the Enigma Recovery software and connecting your phone to your computer to scan it. The trial software will show you a selection of deleted data, so you can check if the messages you need are available before upgrading to the full version.

      Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Shaazia

  • Alan Sage at 10:30 pm

    I downloaded your appication and followed the directions to restore deleted text messages. I was specifically looking for a message that was just a few days old, so presumably not overwritten, but it is not there. Any other suggestions? Thank you in advance.

    • shaazia at 2:23 pm

      Hi Alan,

      Thanks for your message! I will get our Support Team to contact you to provide assistance in recovering your text messages.

      Thanks,
      Shaazia

  • Sergio at 12:20 am

    I need to recover a message that I deleted yesterday but I had not done a back up. I just did a backup this morning at 3am. Can I still recover that ?

    • Shaazia at 5:47 pm

      Hello Sergio,

      Thanks for your message! Yes, our software can recover deleted text messages without a backup. The success rate of recovery is dependant upon a few different factors including how the phone has been used since deletion. I would recommend that you download our free trial software and connect your device to your computer. The software will scan your device and display a selection of deleted data from your device. You can also use it to scan your backup file.

      Hope that helps! Please let us know if you need any more assistance to recover your messages.

      Thanks,
      Shaazia

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