How to Recover Deleted Text Messages on iPhone without/from Backup

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

—— Caroline

Such problem happens a lot. You can lose some very important text messages that you want to recover instantly. It is also very likely that you didn't have a backup of the 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. 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.

Why Can Deleted iPhone Text Messages Be Recovered without Backup?

Like other data, messages are saved on the SQLite database. When you manually or accidentally delete them, it only changes its storage slot from "Allocated" to "Unallocated". The actual data is still in the database. When you use your phone and create new data, the entries in the "Unallocated" slot would be occupied first and new data will overwrite them. So before they are overwritten, you still have chance to get the deleted text messages back.

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Key Features:

  • Recover lost iPhone Text Messages without backup or from iTunes/iCloud backups.
  • Support 22+ types of data from iOS device. You can recover deleted photos from iPhone, retrieve deleted messages 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.

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


  • The first thing you should do is to stop using the iPhone as soon as you discover you've missed some data. This is to avoid overwriting the missing texts and hence rendering them unrecoverable.
  • The methods that will be introduced also work when you lost some text messages without backup after upgrading to the iOS 12/13.

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 Recover 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


If you are not sure whether you have an available backup, you can check them first if you need. You can also directly go to the Option 2 and Option 3 and the software will help you about checking them too.

  • Check iTunes backup: launch iTunes on PC or Mac, click Edit > Preference > Device and see if there is any backup.
  • Check iCloud backup: go to Settings > Apple ID > iCloud > iCloud Backup. Turn on iCloud backup and see if when the last successful backup is. 

2. Recover Deleted iPhone Messages from iTunes/iCloud Backup(no restore)

2.1 Recover 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 mesages you need unless you perform the restore.

Now iMyFone D-Back can completely overcome this, because it allows you 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

2.2 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 Backup" and click Start button. Sign in to your iCloud account using your Apple ID information.

Fill in your iCloud account

Step 2.All the iCloud backups will be shown, so choose the most relevant one and click "Next".

Select iCloud Backup

Step 3.Select "Message" from the list of data types shown and click "Scan" to continue.

Select the files you wish to recover

Step 4.All the sms will appear when the scan is completed. You can select the ones you want to retrieve and then click "Recover". 

recover the data

3. Restore Deleted iPhone Messages from iTunes/iCloud Backup

3.1 Restore Deleted iPhone Messages from iTunes Backup

To recover deleted iPhone text messages from iTunes backup by restoring the backup can be a little risky because new SMS messages since 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 are OK with this, then you can continue to recover 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".

recover from iTunes


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 from choosing a wrong backup.

3.2 Restore Deleted iPhone Text Messages from iCloud Backup

It's a pity that 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.

But if you have enough iCloud space and have uploaded your text messages to iCloud as backup, then probably you can succeed in performing the iCloud backup recovery.

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

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 is 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 Mehods

via D-Back via Official iTunes via Official iCloud
Success rate High Medium Medium
Recover deleted messages without backup Yes No No
Recover messages from iTunes backup Preview before recovery Restore without viewing No
Recover messages from iCloud backup Preview before recovery No Restore without viewing

See deleted messages within backup

Yes No No
Recovery Options Selectively or fully Fully restore only Fully restore only

Recover deleted text messages without computer

No No Yes
Difficulty Easy Complex Complex

From the above comparision table, 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:


FAQs about iPhone Messages Recovery

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

If you do not have backups, the only way to recover deleted messages is to rely on thir-party software. For now, there is no totally free iPhone data recovery software, but most of them have free trail 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 full version is the same with what you can view with 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 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 is no mobile applications can access the device data. That means you can only try the desktop-software to access your deleted text messages.

Video Guide on iPhone Messages Recovery

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? Free trial version is available now.

Windows version    Mac version

  • Gregory Gary

    Will this retrieve the text messages from the phone and any messages I’ve stored on the SIM card?

    • Hello Gregory, iMyfone D-Back can help you retrieve text messages, iMessages, Skype messages, WhatsApp messages, Kik messages and Wechat messages from your iPhone. Just download the free trail to scan and preview the messages :)

  • Oliver

    I don’t understand. If I restore the entire iTunes backup I would be asked to restore everything? but i only want to restore text messages in my iTunes backup. What should i do?

    • Hello Oliver, no worry. You could choose “Recover from iTunes backup” mode of our software. This recovery mode will help you extract text messages from iTunes backup selectively without overwriting data on your iPhone.

  • Gonzalez

    If I already have the program downloaded, do I still need internet to recover the old text messages without back-up?

    • Hello Gonzalez, you don’t need internet to recover the old text messages without backup by choosing recovery mode – “Recover from iOS Device”. Any further inquiry, please feel free to let us know.

  • George

    I have an apple iphone 4 and deleted all texts from one person by mistake. How can I get them back?I’ve never done any back up.

    • Hello George, you can download iMyfone D-Back and choose the recovery mode “Recover from iOS device” to check whether your deleted text messages can be detected and displayed by using trail version of our product. Good luck to you!

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