Advice and tips about smartphones

Retrieve Old Messages from Your New iPhone

retrieve old messages

Trying out all the new features is probably the first thing we all do when receiving a new iPhone. In fact, I bet 95% of iPhone X users play around with the face detection ID scanner for at least half an hour before doing anything else!

Have you ever started to use a new iPhone only to realise not everything has been transferred over from your old phone? This happens to many smartphone owners, messages are often lost, photos are missing and contacts have disappeared. If you are in a similar situation right now and you would like to recover old text messages or old iMessages, follow these tips below. Please know that you can indeed recover lost iPhone data, including old sentimental messages and important texts from your iPhone.

Here’s how to do it (tutorial works for iPhone 7, 6, 6s, 5 and lower):

Old iPhone data to new iPhone

The process after purchasing a new iPhone is pretty similar with everyone. Either you or the retail seller will proceed to transfer data from your old phone to your new phone. During this process, it’s recommended that you create a backup in iCloud or iTunes, and restore to that backup. These backups will be the basis from which you can retrieve old messages. Follow the steps below to see how you can retrieve your messages.

How to create an iPhone backup
How to restore your iPhone to a previous backup

Enigma Recovery™ – retrieve old Texts, iMessages & more…

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Compatible with Windows and Mac computers

Option One

Retrieve old messages from iPhone

Using third party tools can also help you trace old iPhone messages. Most have a free download or a trial with limited features that will help you view retrieve your messages. This tutorial features Enigma Recovery. Follow these easy steps:

  1. Grab your laptop
  2. Download Enigma Recovery and open the software
  3. Connect your iPhone and trust the computer
  4. Select to scan Messages
  5. Select ‘Start scan’
  6. Hit the ‘Messages’ tab and view your old messages

Option Two

Use spotlight search to find old messages

iphone spotlight search

The spotlight search is a search tool on your iPhone that can be used to find anything you are looking for on your phone or on the internet. The queries or phrases you type will highlight messages, iBooks, WhatsApp conversations, calendar items or any app containing the phrase.

If you haven’t already, try spotlight search to find old messages. If the messages you are trying to locate are actually still on your phone, a spotlight search can sometimes reveal them.

  1. Unlock your phone
  2. Swipe downwards from the middle of your iPhone home screen
  3. Think of a phrase, a name or something recognisable from the message(s) you are trying to trace. Now type it into the search field
  4. You can see more results by tapping ‘Show more’

Enigma Recovery™ – retrieve old Texts, iMessages & more…

Start download

Compatible with Windows and Mac computers

Option Three

Retrieve old messages from iPhone backup

Locating old messages within an iPhone backup is probably the most effective of the three options given here. You can use Enigma Recovery to scan the last backup of your iPhone to extract all your old data. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Grab your laptop
  2. Download Enigma Recovery and open the software
  3. Select a backup option from the left (iTunes or iCloud)
  4. (iCloud only) Log into your iCloud account
  5. Scan your backup file for Messages
  6. Select messages to view your old iPhone messages

How is it possible to recover old messages?

After items like messages, contacts and notes are deleted from our phones, they still remain on the phone’s internal database for a period of time until it is overwritten with the creation of new data.

It’s impossible to know the pattern in which old data is rewritten as it does not go in any particular order. Because of this, old files can remain within our device database for some time – sometimes years! All it takes is a little extraction tool to pull this data out and arrange it in a readable format.

More about backups

A backup is a snapshot or copy of all your data at that time: music, messages, contacts, WhatsApp chat, calls, calendar items and more. iCloud can only backup so much, unless you have either of the 50GB 200GB 1 or 2TB paid options (gosh that’s heaps of space!). iTunes however is limited only by the space on your laptop/computer, and is free.

Restoring a new iPhone to that backup will effectively transfer your old data to your new iPhone. Nine times out of ten, the process goes smoothly and everything is copied over. Other times people lose items in the process, in which case completing option 2 or 3 below will help you.

Lost music, photos, movies? Try these tips here.

Recover deleted iPhone messages – software

retrieve imessages

Using third party tools and apps, we can perform extra functions with our phones, functions that may not yet be available on the device itself. For instance, using iPhone data recovery software, you can view, recover and restore old text messages, iMessages and other files. All you need is the correct tool, a computer or laptop, and your iPhone.

There are many tools that can perform this task, but only one that can perform it across a range of different devices. Enigma Recovery is compatible with iPhone, Android and sd card devices. The software will display existing messages from your iPhone and also lost, old, and deleted messages.

Any more tips to retrieve old text messages? Comment here:

About the Author

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.

16 thoughts on “Retrieve Old Messages from Your New iPhone

  1. I have broken my iPhone 4s I need to recover a text message from it … since I have broken it I have changed network providers. It is the screen which is blank but the phone will charge is it possible to get the data required

    1. Hi Nikki,

      If you created a backup in iTunes or iCloud before your phone was broken, there’s a chance you can recover your old messages with our software through the backup. Try the free trial to see what it can recover for you! 🙂

  2. I deleted a message from my phone and I don’t have a computer how can I retrieve my message on my phone ?

    1. Hi Junior,

      Thanks for commenting! Unfortunately, you will need a computer or laptop to complete any tutorial that will allow you to recover deleted text messages from your iPhone.


  3. My iCloud account is locked which means that my iPhone has not been backed up in iTunes or iCloude since it has been locked. Can I still be able to retreive data from my iPhone (like phone calls and iMessages) that have been deleted?

  4. If I deleted messages, tried to restore the phone to get them back but got data from the last time it was backed up can I use this tool to retrieve the current messages I deleted?

    1. Hi Sam,

      Restoring your iPhone will effectively wipe the device of all it’s history, replacing it with the contents of the backup. After this, the software cannot recover deleted messages prior to the restore.

      Thanks for commenting!

    1. Hi Brandi,

      It’s hard to tell how much of your data will still remain in your iPhone and how much will have been re-written. The data is not re-written in any particular pattern. the best thing to do is download the free trial and scan your iPhone with it to see how much data can be re-written.

      Also, if you have made a backup of your phone in iTunes or iCloud before, you may be able to find your data by scanning your backup too. Give it a try!

  5. Hi. I need to access my old text messages. I have upgraded phones and no longer have my old phone with the messages, this was recycled & factory reset.
    Backups were automatic when attached to wifi.
    Will Enigma Recovery be able to retrieve these messages?

    Many thanks

  6. Hello,

    So I downloaded the application to my laptop to attempt to pull some old messages out of thin air through iCloud backups, except the app is not allowing me to sign into my iCloud account and keeps telling me that my information is incorrect even though I just used it to log into the iCloud website…

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