How to Recover Deleted Text Messages on iPhone

Accidentally deleted text messages and need to get them back? Find out how to recover deleted SMS Text Messages from your iPhone

For many of us, the Messages app on our iPhones is the most frequently used function. However, it is surprisingly easy to accidentally delete a message or a whole thread of text messages. iPhone touch screens are super sensitive and disaster can strike from a simple wrong tap of a button. We’ve also seen users who deleted messages to help create more space on their iPhone, and then later realised they still need the data. If any of what we’ve described so far sounds familiar to you, then you’re probably wondering if it will be possible for you to get back your deleted text messages.

We’re pleased to let you know that you definitely can recover deleted SMS text messages, even if they have been deleted from your iPhone. If you’re itching to get some important messages back from your phone, remain calm. There are many ways to retrieve your deleted messages including extracting from an iTunes backup, downloading from an iCloud backup, or recovering straight from the iPhone (tutorials below).

To help you find out how you can recover deleted text messages from your iPhone, we’ve created detailed tutorials for you to read through. The tutorial that works for you will depend on whether or not you have a backup file available.

With the tutorials below, you can retrieve deleted text messages from a range of devices including iPhone X/XR/XS/8 as well as iPhone 7/6/SE/5/4, from iOS 6 – 12.

Retrieve Deleted Text Messages from iPhone without a backup

After you delete a message from your iPhone it’s not actually permanently deleted, it will instead be saved in the back-end of the phone and made available to be overwritten with newer data. The only way it can be extracted is with a good recovery tool, like Enigma Recovery.

The important thing to remember is that you must act fast, as all deleted iPhone data is eventually overwritten, as you use your phone and create new data. The quicker that you scan your phone with recovery software after deleting messages, the greater the chance is that you will be able to retrieve those messages. Keep reading to find out more:

Step 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.

Download and open Enigma Recovery

Step 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 iPhone.

Connect and trust your phone with computer

Step 3 – Scan iPhone for Messages

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

select sms and scan

Step 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

Step 5 – Save or Restore Text Messages

Once the software has recovered your deleted text messages, click ‘Export & Restore’. You can now select to either save your recovered messages to your computer or to restore them back to your iPhone with our free Restore iOS app.

Restore messages back to phone using the restore app

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Retrieve deleted text messages from an iTunes backup

This next method is suitable if you have an iTunes backup available with the text messages that need to be recovered but do not want to complete a full device restore. Every time you sync your phone to iTunes, a backup of the iPhone is created on your computer or laptop.

Using Enigma Recovery software will help you to scan your backup file for deleted messages, and then select specific messages or conversation threads to export to your computer or restore back to your device. These steps can also be used to recover messages without an iCloud backup, or if your iPhone is damaged and does not work.

Step 1 – Install Enigma Recovery software

Install Enigma Recovery software on your Mac or Windows computer

Download and open Enigma Recovery

Step 2 – Find your iTunes backup file

In the software dashboard, select ‘Recovery 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.

Find your itunes backup

Step 3 – Select ‘Messages’ and Start 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 sms and start scan

Step 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.

view recovered iphone messages

Step 5 – Export or Restore Text Messages

Now that you have recovered your deleted messages, you have 2 options. You can either export your recovered messages to your Mac or PC in a variety of formats or restore the recovered messages back to our free Restore app on your iPhone.

export or restore text messages

Retrieve deleted text messages from an iCloud backup

An alternative way to use Enigma Recovery iPhone recovery software is to retrieve deleted text messages directly from an iCloud backup file. This tutorial is ideal for users who have automatic or manual backups with iCloud. Whether your device has suffered water damage and no longer works, or you need to know how to recover deleted text messages without an iTunes backup file, keep reading to find the answer:

Step 1: Download & Install Enigma Recovery

Firstly, you will need to download Enigma Recovery software to your computer. Once installed, open the software to the first screen.

Download and install enigma recovery software

Step 2: Select your recovery method

Select ‘Recover from iCloud’ when presented with the options for recovery.

Select recover from icloud

Step 3: Securely sign in to iCloud

You will need to sign in to your iCloud account. Rest assured that this process is completely secure, and our software even works with 2-factor authentication, if you have this enabled.

Securely sign into icloud

Step 4: Select Messages and scan for data

Choose to recover ‘Messages’ – this means that the software will scan your iCloud backup file for any deleted or existing text messages.

select messages and scan for data

Step 5: Complete Scan & view data

When the scan is complete, the deleted and existing text messages that have been found in the software will be displayed to you.

view completed scan data

Step 6: Export recovered text messages

As the final step, you can click ‘Export & Restore’ to save your recovered SMS Text Messages directly from the software to your PC or Mac.

export recovered text messages

Restore Deleted Text Messages from iTunes

Here is yet another way to recover deleted messages from your iPhone. If you created a backup of your phone via iTunes, before the desired messages you wish to recover were deleted, you can recover them with a restore.

It is important to note that restoring your phone with a previously made backup will replace all of your current data with the data from your backup. While you will have retrieved and restored your lost messages, this method will also overwrite all of the data you have created since your last backup. If you are happy to continue, follow these steps:

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

  2. If iTunes does not open automatically, open it manually. Click the iPhone icon in the top left of the screen.

  3. Now select ‘Restore Backup…’ If you are met with any problems, please troubleshoot here.

  4. Choose your most recent or relevant backup to restore to your iPhone. All the iPhone data from your previous backup will now be transferred to your iPhone replacing the current data.

Restore Deleted Text Messages from iCloud

The final tutorial for recovering deleted text messages involves restoring from an iCloud backup. If you created a backup in iCloud before deleting the messages, you will be able to perform an iCloud restore to restore the lost messages back to your phone.

This method, much like the iTunes method will also replace all the current data on your phone with the data from your last iCloud backup. If you are happy to overwrite all of the data created since your last backup, please proceed with this tutorial to restore your lost messages:

  1. Start by logging into your iCloud account.

  2. Click on the Text Messages icon. If it does not appear, there is a chance that your Messages have not been backed up in iCloud. In this instance please use one of the tutorials above.

  3. Open the Settings app in your phone and go to iCloud.

  4. Deselect the Messages app.

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

  6. Now re-select the Messages app.

  7. Now select merge and wait for the messages to re-appear in your Messages app.


How far back can Enigma Recovery find deleted messages?

Our software algorithms have been designed to piece together all of the deleted text messages on iPhones and iTunes/iCloud backup files. This means that we can recover data from as far back as months or years ago! However, the amount that can be recovered will be dependent on how your phone has been used and whether or not new data has been added since you deleted messages. For this reason, we recommend that you start the recovery process as soon as possible after deleting or losing data.

Can I print my iPhone text messages?

With Enigma Recovery, printing text messages in hard copy format is a simple and easy process. After you have recovered your data using the software, you can export it to your PC or Mac (see the tutorials above), in a range of formats including Excel or PDF. Once you have exported your data, open the file from your desktop and click to print it from the main menu.

What other types of data can I recover?

Enigma Recovery can retrieve a range of popular iPhone data types, including contacts, calls, iMessages, notes and much more. For more detailed information on all of 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.

We’re proud to be the only company in our industry offering telephone support to our users. If you require support before or after you purchase, Enigma is here to help you. Call us:

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+44 (0)121-726-4761

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+1 (424) 372-1641


Sarah McGregor joined the Enigma Recovery Team in June 2014. As Digital and Content Marketing Executive she writes help blogs and ‘How to’ articles for the website. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys connecting with our customers through social media and email.

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