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How to recover text messages on iPhone with/ without backup

Alex Griffith Updated on Apr 22, 2022 5:59 PM

No matter how you lost text messages on your iPhone, you have a great chance to get them back.

Among many ways of communication, text messaging is still one of the most widespread and oldest forms around. You never know how important these texts are until you need them badly. Lost or deleted text messages on iPhone accidentally? Well don't worry. In this guide, we'll show you five ways that you can salvage your hard work to recover text messages on iPhone.

If you've backed up your iPhone with Apple's iCloud or iTunes/ Finder (macOS Catalina or above) before the messages disappeared, things can be relatively simple. All you need to do is restore your iPhone and get deleted messages from an iCloud backup, or retrieve texts from iTunes (or Finder) backup. If not, you still have a big chance of recovering lost messages on iPhone by scanning the device memory deeply or contacting phone carrier.

Now, it's time to dive into recovering deleted texts on iPhone in details.

Option 1: Recover Text Messages: Restoring from iCloud Backup

Yes! This is probably the most efficient way of restoring deleted texts, and it is free! If you've turned on iCloud backup option in iPhone and do regular backup, your lost messages should archived in the backup file and you can get them back by restoring your iPhone.

Make sure you have the backup made before the texts missing. You can check it by going to Settings, tap your name, then tap iCloud > iCloud Backup > Back Up Now. If the time of last backup was before you deleted the messages, you're lucky enough.

check iCloud backup

To restore texts from an iCloud backup, follow these steps:

  • On iPhone, go to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings > Erase Now.
  • Go through the usual steps of setting up the iPhone.
  • On Apps & Data page, tap Restore from iCloud Backup.
  • Sign in to iCloud with your Apple ID.
  • Choose the most recent backup.

Wait until iCloud restores the iPhone from backup. Your deleted iMessage, text (SMS) and MMS messages should re-appear on Messages app. Apple has a Help Document on how it works: Restore your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch from a backup.

restore text messages from an iCloud backup

One drawback of this option is it would restore your iPhone to factory settings and erase all current contents, so make sure you make a backup of all your important stuff before trying this method.

Option 2: Recover Text Messages: Scanning iPhone Memory

This is the second way you can try, if iCloud doesn't work. When you delete a text conversations, it isn't immediately erased from the device but hidden there, waiting to be overwritten by new data or recovered. So t may be possible to scan the iPhone internal memory to find the text messages that haven't yet been overwritten and restore them.

There are a laundry list of iPhone text messages recovery software programs available on the web. If you want a program that is simple and powerful, iOS Data Recovery is the one for you. It truly works magic when you have to retrieve data from an iPhone or iPad without any backup. It goes to the internal storage of device and do an in-depth scanning automatically. It then delivers the information on the window that you can have a preview before performing a full recovery process.

Download Now!

for Windows | for MacOS

In addition to recovering deleted text messages (SMS, MMS, and iMessages), the program also supports recovery of contacts, photos, notes, reminders, call logs, WhatsApp messages, videos, voicemails, and more.

Here's what you need to do to restore your permanently deleted texts using iOS Data Recovery:

Step 1: Run the program and connect your iPhone

When you launch the program, select "Recover from iOS Device" mode from the interface. Next, hook up your iPhone with computer using an USB cable.

Tip: The program also comes with "Recover from iTunes" and "Recover from iCloud" features to help you restore data from backup without affecting current data on the device.

recover deleted texts iPhone

Step 2: Choose file type (SMS) to scan

In the next window select "Messages" and "Messages Attachments" file type to be scanned, followed by Next button. This iPhone messages recovery software will run a deep scan in your device to search for the lost texts. Be patient.

restore iPhone texts

Once completes, you'll get into the a window which gives you the results of text messages that are found, including attachments files such as photos, videos and audio.

Step 3: Preview and recover deleted texts from iPhone storage

On the results window, you are able to have a preview of each message conversation.

Next, select text messages you want to restore, click the Recover button. You'll be given a dialog. Select an local path, and the program will start retrieving messages and save in computer.

recover SMS messages from an iPhone

Your messages will save as CSV or HTML file on your computer. You can then open it on desktop, or print it for later use.

Also Watch Video: Recover Deleted Messages on iPhone

Option 3.1: Restore Texts: from iTunes Backup

This option works in a similar way to restoring from a backup on iCloud. If you're a big fan of iTunes and use it to back up your iPhone every time you plug the device into computer, you can restore deleted messages using iTunes (Mac with 10.14 or earlier, or on PC). Here's how.

  • Connect the iPhone to computer and launch iTunes.
  • Click the device icon appeared in the top left corner of the iTunes window.
  • In Summary section, click Restore Backup.
  • Select the most relevant backup that contains deletes texts you want.
  • Click Restore.

how to restore iPhone from iTunes

Note, restoring iPhone text messages from an iTunes backup will restore your iPhone and reverts everything back to that backup. This might be not a way to restore just messages, but it works.

Option 3.2: Restore Texts: from Finder Backup

For those who are using Mac with macOS Catalina 10.15 or above, follow these steps to retrieve deleted texts from Finder backup.

  • Connect the iPhone to Mac via Lightning cable and open Finder.
  • Click the device icon under Locations.
  • Select Restore Backup.
  • Choose the backup from a list of available archives.
  • Click Restore.

restore deleted messages on iPhone from Finder

Option 4. Restore Texts: Re-sync with iCloud on iPhone

Since the release of iOS 11.4, Apple provides services of synchronizing Messages conversations using iCloud in all territories and for all phone operators (Read: How to Sync Text Messages to iCloud). Provided that you have Messages option set to ON under iCloud before the deletion of texts messages, you may be able to recover the texts from there.

  • On iPhone, go to the Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud.
  • Toggle the Messages option off.
  • In the notification that pops up, select Disable and Download Messages.
  • Toggle on Messages again.

Done! Your text messages should back to your iPhone.

Toggle on Messages in iCloud

Option 5: Contact Your Phone Provider (Possible Way)

This is another option you can try to get back deleted messages to iPhone for free. It might not 100% work, but you can give it try at least. While most phone providers keeps a record of every incoming and outgoing call, some of them may offer backup of your text messages that you can access them. You can consult your phone carrier.

The Bottom Line

So those are 5 helpful ways for recovering deleted text messages from an iPhone. Be sure to back up your texts regularly to computer or somewhere. You won't want to go through the entire process again if your iPhone ever dies or you make an accidental swipe of text conversations (iMessages, SMS and, MMS) you assemble several years.

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