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How can I recover deleted text messages without iPhone being backed Up?

Alex Griffith Updated on Apr 15, 2022 3:29 PM

We have all experienced bad things of our iPhones at one time or another. You open the Messages app and try to get rid of the spam messages, but accidentally delete text messages that you didn't mean to delete; or you do a major iOS update, but after that all your text messages disappeared on iPhone. What's worst than losing your texts just to find that you don't have either iCloud or iTunes backup to restore from.

But we are here to help you out! We've collected a few possible solutions for recovering deleted text messages without backup.

Remember, the less you use the Messages app to send and receive texts from now on, the more likely to get back the deleted messages that were not backed up. One fact that users tend to ignore is that text messages that seem permanently deleted from iPhone sometimes aren't. they are just invisible in inbox, waiting to be erased by new files or be restored.

Table of Contents

Know this before you begin

Double check your iCloud and iTunes (for macOS 10.15 or later, please check Finder) to determine whether you have backup or not made before. Anytime you accidentally delete a text message conversation, it helps to see if there is iPhone backup available to restore from. If you have a backup that contains the deleted message, you can easily restore the iPhone from the backup and get the deleted text message. If not, go with the first three approaches we outlined below.

1. Here's how to check if you have an iCloud backup on your iPhone. Go to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud > iCloud Backup. You can find the last successful iCloud backup beneath.

2. iTunes on Windows: Open iTunes, go to > Edit > Preferences > Devices. You can find a list of backup files there. Check carefully to define whether your deleted text messages are included in any of backup.

3. Finder on Mac: Go to General > Manage Backups.

How to recover deleted text messages without a backup

You should methodically try iCloud Messages, file data recovery program, phone provider to see if one of those parts can help you retrieve messages without iCloud & iTunes backup.

1. Restore deleted texts from iCloud Messages

Since iOS 11.4, Apple adds Messages in iCloud feature for syncing your iMessages and text messages across your iPhone, iPad, iPod and Mac. Generally speaking, when you mistakenly delete a SMS conversation, it'll get deleted everywhere. But, there's one exception. Your another device turns off the feature and downloads the text messages locally before they are deleted from your iPhone.

So, if you have another iOS device sharing with the same Apple ID, you should open the device and have a look at the Messages app. If the messages are still on that device, iPad for example, here is what you can do:

On iPad (you may have another iOS device or Mac keeping the deleted texts).

  • Go to Settings > Apple ID, iCloud, iTunes & App Store > iCloud
  • Turn on Messages.

Give your device a few minutes to sync the text messages with iCloud.

Repeat the same steps on your iPhone, and wait your messages to restore back to iPhone from iCloud.

2. Try iPhone data recovery software (no backup invovled)

If the deleted text messages can't be restored from iCloud Messages, your next stop should be to use a third party utility to scan your iPhone storage for deleted texts. This is the most efficient way to retrieve deleted texts without backup. After all, your message conversations are processed in a single inbox on your iPhone itself.

iPhone Data Recovery is our favorite. It has a long and distinguished reputation among file recovery field for Apple products. Your iPhone often hides deleted files, including text messages, in somewhere before removing them forever (as long as you don't use the device frequently), and this program makes it really easy to find those files by its powerful scanning engine and recover them without backup in seconds.

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for Windows | for MacOS

Here's how you can use iPhone Data Recovery to recover deleted text messages that haven't been backed up. So breath out, let's get started.

Click the button above and download the right version on your computer. Follow the on-screen wizard to finish the installation process. It's quite simple and fast.

Fire up iPhone Data Recovery software, and connect your iPhone to the computer via USB cable.

Click "Start Scan" when the device is detected. Let the program do the scanning on your device's internal memory. If your iPhone has a large amount of storage capacity, 128GB for example, the scan may take a while to complete. You can do some other works on your computer or have a rest.

When the scan is done, all found text messages and other files will be categorized in different types. You can check the scanning results like the image below.

search for deleted texts when iPhone wasn't backed up

Go ahead and click "Messages" on the left side bar. This will display all your deleted and existing texts on the center pane. You can toggle on "Only display the deleted item(s)" option on the top.

Tip: Attached photo, link, audio in a message thread are included in "Messages Attachments".

Now, check the boxes next to deleted messages you want to recover, and finally click "Recover" button at the lower right.

This is how you can recover deleted text messages on iPhone if you did not have backup in iCloud or iTunes. You can also use this program to retrieve data from an iCloud or iTunes backup without touching current data on the device.

Watch also: How to recover deleted messages on iPhone without backup

If a full scan on internal storage doesn't work in finding your texts, move on to the next troubleshooting step.

3. Get deleted text messages from phone carrier

If you're lucky enough, you probably get a copy of your texts history from your phone carrier. This is the last resort to recover deleted text messages with no backup. Some of phone carriers store the records of messages for their clients for different periods of time, from a very few days to significantly months longer.

You can contact your carrier to see if they keep your text messages history. It's not a guaranteed to work, but at least it's worth giving it a try.

If none of these methods gets your deleted iPhone text messages back without backup, it's pretty likely that they are gone forever.

4. Retrieve messages from iCloud (if you have recent backup)

Tip: This method only apply to situation that the messages existed when the backup was created.

If you're sure that the deleted iPhone text messages are included your recent iCloud backup (by checking Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud > iCloud Backup) and the iCloud backup has not been updated since deletion, you can revert your iPhone to that date and restore text messages from backup with iCloud.

Beware though, unless those message conversations are important enough for you, restoring from an iCloud backup will wipe out everything that saved on your iPhone since the backup date. Before doing a restore, make sure you have all your important data on the device backed up.

Here's how to restore from iCloud backup and recover the text messages.

Erase your iPhone.

1. Go to Settings > General > Reset. then select Reset All Content and Settings.

2. Tap Back Up Then Erase.

3. Enter your passcode and then type in your Apple ID password to confirm. It will reset your device back to factory reset and set up as a new iPhone just like you first used the device.

Restore your iPhone.

1. When your iPhone powers on, tap the screen to select language, country or region.

2. Tap the Wi-Fi network, and tap Join.

3. On Data & Privacy screen, tap Continue.

4. Set up Face or Touch ID, then tap Continue.

5. On App & Data screen, tap Restore from iCloud Backup.

6. Sign in to your iCloud with Apple ID.

7. Proceed to Choose backup, and then choose the recent backup that contains your deleted text messages to restore. (important!)

You will get a progress bar along with the estimated completion time when the iCloud restore starts. Keep the device connected with Wi-Fi stable.

Once the process is done, the deleted text messages should restore to your iPhone.

5. Restore deleted text messages from backup with iTunes

Deleted SMS messages can also be recovered from backup using iTunes if you have backed your iPhone the old-fashion way — backed up the device on a computer, before you deleted the messages.

The bad news is, Just like that of iCloud, restoring SMS messages from backup in iTunes is also an all-or-nothing process. If you don't want to experience with erasing the phone and then getting texts from backup, you may opt to select iPhone Data Recovery mentioned above to extract just text messages from iTunes backup.

Before you start the procedure, make sure your have iTunes updated to the latest version, and the Find My iPhone feature is turned off.

1. Launch iTunes. (PC or macOS with 10.14 or older)

2. Connect the iPhone to the computer via a Lightning cable.

3. When the device icon appears on the upper left corner of the window, click it.

4. Click Summary, then select Restore Backup.

5. Select a backup that includes your deleted text messages from the available backup list.

6. Click Restore.

Keep your iPhone connected to computer and have enough power until the restore process comes to end.

6. Restore from Finder (for macOS 10.15 or above)

Apple have replaced iTunes with Finder to take care of file syncing and backup tasks since the release of macOS Catalina.

To restore iPhone from the Finder backup to retrieve deleted texts on your Mac, follow this steps:

1. Connect your device to Mac, and launch Finder.

2. Under Locations from the sidebar, click on your device name.

3. Under General tab, click Restore iPhone.

4. Select a backup from the Backup drop-box. Enter a password if necessary.

5. Click Restore to start restoring deleted text messages from backup.

What's next?

Once your deleted texts has been recovered with or without iCloud or iTunes backup, the best way to ensure you'll never lose the conversation is to perform regular backups. With regard to backing up your iPhone, there are various backup methods are available to you. You can choose from the Apple's way—iCloud, iTunes or Finder, or opt to third-party backup services. Which one is the best depending your needs and budget.

Anyway, keep your important text messages and other files in a second safe place is the way to protect your data from loss when accident happens in future.

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