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How to Recover Deleted Text Messages on iPhone

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Tata Davis

November 4, 2015 (Updated: April 24, 2020)• Filed to: iPhone Data Recovery

6 min read

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Question
"I want to recover text messages accidentally deleted from my iPhone 11 running iOS 13. I tried the spotlight thing but nothing showed up. These messages are important to me! Please help to recover deleted text messages iPhone if it is possible."

—— Caroline

Such a problem happens a lot. You can lose some very important text messages that you want to restore instantly. It is also very likely that you didn't have a backup of the text messages before you accidentally deleted them. Whether you have a backup or not, this article shows you a few simple solutions to help you recover deleted text messages on iPhone XR/XS Max/XS/X/8/7/6s/6/5s/5c/4s/4 without backup, or from backup.

1. Can You Retrieve Deleted Texts from iPhone

One common thing we have heard from iPhone users is “I just deleted text messages, can I retrieve them from my iPhone?”. The answer is yes. As long as the messages are not overwritten yet, you can always get them back. And if you have an iTunes/iCloud backup, the chance to recover is even greater.

What most users don't know is, the iPhone saves all data in an SQLite database. When you delete your text messages, they are just moved from the “Allocated” category to the “Unallocated” category, and the actual data is still available. However, if you create new data, the “Unallocated” category will get occupied first and this will overwrite the deleted information. If the deleted messages are yet to be overwritten, you can use a third-party tool to access the SQLite database and retrieve this data.

If you had already used either iTunes or iCloud to backup your device, you can restore the data to your device. The biggest disadvantage is, however, you cannot view the backup file before the restoration. And if the deleted messages are not included in the backup file, it's possible that you lose other data as well. To solve this problem, we will also show you how to extract and view messages from iTunes/iCloud backup and later restore to your device.

Note

If you don't have any backups and want to recover messages directly from iPhone, it's important to stop using your iPhone as it may generate new data and overwrite the deleted data.

2. Recover Deleted Text Messages on iPhone without Backup

Forgot to back up your text messages to iCloud or iTunes before they are accidentally deleted? No need to be frustrated anymore. iMyFone D-Back iPhone Data Recovery can help you retrieve deleted text messages from iPhone without backup or extract text messages from iTunes and iCloud backup in just three steps.

d back

1,000,000+ Downloads

Key Features:

  • Directly retrieve lost iPhone Text Messages without backup or from iTunes/iCloud backups.
  • Support 22+ types of data from iOS devices. You can restore deleted messages from iPhone, find deleted photos on iPhone, and so on.
  • Support recovery for almost all iOS devices, including recovering data from iPhone 8, iPhone X, iPad, and iPod touch.
  • Four modes that can be used as per user's proficiency - Smart Recovery, Recover from iOS Device, Recover from iTunes Backup. Recover from iCloud Backup.
  • iMyFone D-Back is fully compatible with the latest iPhone models and iOS version including iOS 12/13.

Windows version Mac version

Video Guide to Recover Deleted Text Messages iPhone

How to use iMyFone D-Back to recover accidentally deleted text messages? The following are the specific steps for your reference.

Step 1.Launch the Program and Choose Recovery Mode

Download and install D-Back on your computer. Run the program on your computer and then choose "Recover from iOS Device."

select message from ios

Step 2.Connect Device to Computer

Connect the iPhone to the computer and then click "Next" as soon as the program recognizes the device.

connect your device

Step 3.Choose Message Data Type

Choose "Message" from the next window and click "Scan" to start scanning your iPhone for the deleted text messages.

select message from ios

Step 4.Preview and Restore the Deleted Text Messages

After a few minutes, you should see all the recoverable messages on the next screen. Choose the ones you want to recover and then click "Recover", the program will let you choose one folder to store the text messages you need.

preview the messages

Windows version Mac version

3. Retrieve Deleted iPhone Messages from iTunes/iCloud Backup(no restore)

3.1 Retrieve Deleted iPhone Messages from iTunes Backup(no restore)

This option only works when you have made an available iTunes backup before. Official iTunes does not allow you to view its content, so you will not know whether it contains the messages you need unless you perform the restore.

Now iMyFone D-Back can completely overcome this because it allows you to want to view and check whether an iTunes backup includes the needed messages. Here's how.

Step 1.Choose "Recover from iTunes backup" and click "Start". Then you will see all iTunes backups on the computer. Choose one from those listed and then click "Next".

Select iTunes Backup

Step 2.Select "Message" as the type of data to recover. Click "Scan" to allow the program to scan the selected backup file.

select file types

Step 3.When the scan completes, all messages will be displayed. Select the ones you want and click "Recover" to save them.

recover the data

Windows version Mac version

3.2 Recover Deleted iPhone Messages from iCloud Backup(no restore)

Before restoring, you must erase all data and settings on your device which means you will lose all current data. Luckily D-Back will help you because it allows you to view your iCloud contents without restoring it.

Step 1.Select "Recover from iCloud" and click the Start button. Sign in to your iCloud account using your Apple ID information.

recover from icloud

Step 2.Click "iCloud Backup" and tap on the "Scan" button.

select icloud backup to scan

Step 3.All the backup will be displayed on the next screen, choose one and click "Next".

Select the files you wish to recover

Step 4.Choose the "Messages" data type as you want to recover it, and click "Scan" to get in the scan process.

select data type

Step 5.Then all the recoverable text messages will be displayed, choose the text messages you want to recover, then they will be stored on your computer.

preview and recover

Windows version Mac version

4. Restore Deleted iPhone Messages from iTunes/iCloud Backup

4.1 Restore Deleted iPhone Messages from iTunes Backup

  1. Simply connect the iPhone to the computer and then launch iTunes.
  2. Click on the device icon once it shows up in iTunes.
  3. In the Backups option, click "Restore Backup..." to choose the most relevant backup and then click "Restore".

Note

  • To recover deleted iPhone text messages from iTunes backup by restoring the backup can be a little risky because new SMS messages since the last sync will not be stored in iTunes backup.
  • All text messages will be replaced by the text messages in the backup after you click Restore Backup. What's worse, the other apps will also be replaced by the data in your backup.
  • If you don't want to lose all the other data on your device in order to recover the lost text messages, you can use the steps in Option 2 which will view your iTunes backup first to prevent you from choosing a wrong backup.

recover from iTunes

4.2 Restore Deleted iPhone Text Messages without Computer - from iCloud Backup

Step 1: Go to Settings > General > Reset on your iPhone, then choose "Erase All Content and Settings".

reset your iPhone

Step 2: From the Apps & Data screen, choose to Recover from iCloud Backup, then sign in to iCloud and select "Choose backup," then choose from a list of available backups in iCloud.

choose Restore from iCloud Backup

Note

  • iCloud may not back up all the text messages for users who have only 5GB free iCloud space, so this method may not be useful for all.

Tip: You may get to know that Spotlight Search can show you deleted text messages possibly, but you still can't open or recover them. However, this function can help you to locate the deleted text messages faster so that you can recover deleted iPhone text messages from iCloud quicker. To make sure text messages are available for Spotlight Search, you need to check-in Settings> General> Spotlight Search, and make sure Message is checked. If you can't remember the first sentence of the deleted text messages or the sender, you can use Spotlight Search with the keyword in the SMS.

Reviews of All Methods

From all the above methods, you can choose one that's suitable for yourself. And we can see that D-Back is more simple and practical to use than any other methods:

  1. D-Back supports to restore deleted messages even without backup while official iTunes and iCloud need backup.
  2. D-Back allows you to view text messages before recovery while the other two official tools do not support.
  3. If you want to selectively retrieve text messages, it's better to choose D-Back.
  4. The ease of use makes D-Back suitable for anyone, and no technical knowledge required.
  5. Moreover, using D-Back can achieve the best recovery result.

From the above analysis, you may understand the pros and cons of all the methods. All you need to do is to choose one suitable for you. In addition, some users have sent their feedback to us and here we can have a look at one of them:

user-review-2

FAQs about iPhone Messages Recovery

1. How do I recover deleted text messages on my iPhone without iCloud or backup for free?

If you do not have backups, the only way to recover deleted messages is to rely on third-party software. For now, there is no totally free iPhone data recovery software, but most of them have free trial versions. Like D-Back, if the free trial version can find and preview the data you need, then probably the full version can recover them, also. That means what you can recover with the full version is the same with what you can view with the trial version.

2. How old messages deleted can I recover?

The recovery chance is not much related to the time when you delete them, but whether they are overwritten. So stop using your device after losing data. Another thing you need to pay attention to is the messages you delete just now might probably not be defined as abandoned data by device, so sometimes the software cannot scan them out immediately. But it will be fine with later trying.

3. Can I recover deleted text messages from iPhone via applications?

Due to Apple's restrictions, there are no mobile applications can access the device data. That means you can only try the desktop-software to access your deleted text messages.

Besides text messages, iMyFone D-Back iPhone Data Recovery can also recover WhatsApp messages, Viber messages, Kik messages, contacts, notes, and more for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch running iOS 12/13 or other versions. Why not give it a shot? The Free trial version is available now.

Windows version Mac version

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