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How to recover deleted text messages on iPhone 12 with or without backup

You can recover deleted text messages on your iPhone 12 (Pro, Pro Max, Mini), using iCloud backup, iTunes backup or third-party app.

Elena Spencer Updated on Mar 15, 2023 7:56 PM

Messages app shipped with iPhone is there for instant communication but in case you discover that you lost conversation or accidentally deleted messages when freeing up space of the inbox, you might wonder if you can get them back.

The answer is YES. You can use your recent backup to retrieve deleted text messages via iCloud, iTunes or Finder. This renders your iPhone 12 restored to factory settings with the newer data deleted.

The article will guide you through how to restore the deleted texts from iCloud backup, and how to recover deleted messages on iPhone 12 if no backup has been taken.


Recover Texts

Here're useful ways to recover messages if you've lost or accidentally deleted them from the inbox.


  • With an iCloud or iTunes backup, you'll be able to recover your deleted messages by restoring your iPhone 12.
  • Third-party tool like iOS Data Recovery serves the purpose of recovering deleted text messages and iMessages from iPhone 12 without overwriting current data stored on the phone.
  • The last resort to retrieve deleted messages is to get help from your phone carrier. It might keep a copy of your texts.

Jump to the sections below.

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How to recover deleted text messages on iPhone 12 with an iCloud backup

iCloud is a robust service to back up iPhone and restore missing messages later if needed. If you've backed up your iPhone 12 to iCloud prior to the date when you deleted the text messages by mistake, you should be able to recover the messages by restoring your phone. You will not only get back the deleted texts, but also the photos, videos, and attachments. Here's how.

Step 1: Check when your iPhone 12 was last backed up

Should you use iCloud backup to recover deleted messages. You need to first head to iCloud settings and check if the last iCloud backup is before the deletion of text messages from iPhone 12 device.

  • In Settings app, tap your Apple ID at the top.
  • Select iCloud > iCloud Backup. There, you will see the date and time of your last backup on iCloud beneath "Back Up Now."

If the last successful backup was made since before those deleted messages were deleted, proceed with the next step of restoring your iPhone 12; otherwise, you need to skip to next method.

Your iCloud backup should be made before erasing texts.

Step 2: Restore deleted text messages on iPhone 12 with iCloud backup

Now you're ready to erase your iPhone 12, reset it to factory settings, and then set it up using the iCloud backup to get back the deleted messages. Bear in mind that your device will return to the previous stage where those deleted text messages still existed, but you will lose all your data since after the backup and have to verify your Apple ID when sign back into some apps.

  • In the main menu of Settings app, choose General.
  • Scroll down and tap on Transfer or Reset iPhone.
  • Tap "Transfer or Reset iPhone."

  • Tap Erase All Content and Settings at the bottom.
  • Start erasing iPhone 12 to factory conditions.

  • Wait for the restore to complete and set up your iPhone 12. At the Apps & Data screen, choose Restore from iCloud backup and then log into your account with your Apple ID and password.
  • How to Restore Messages from iCloud

    Choose a previous iCloud backup to recover your texts.

  • At the Choose Backup screen, pick the backup which contains your deleted messages to recover them. Your iPhone 12 is now restoring with iCloud and restarted. Let your apps install and update.

When everything is done, go to Messages app and check to see if your deleted texts are retrieved. At this point, you will lose all data that hasn't been backed up in iCloud.

How to recover deleted text messages from iCloud account

This could be sometimes ridiculous as Apple doesn't back up SMS messages to iCloud for all users in all territories, and for all phone operators - due to local laws.

If the text messages were backed up to iCloud, you will find an icon for messages on iCloud website once signed in. Then, apply the instructions to restore your deleted messages without resetting iPhone 12.

  • Go to icloud.com and enter your Apple ID and password for login.
  • Click on Text Messages when it appears on the screen. If there is no icon for messages, then this method isn't working for you as your messages on iPhone 12 haven't been backed up over to iCloud.
  • Browse through the message threads and select the ones you wish to restore.
  • Go back to your iPhone 12, tap Settings > [your name].
  • Choose iCloud, and then turn off Messages option from the list.
  • A prompt will now pop up from the bottom. Choose Keep on My iPhone.
  • Switch ON the toggle for Messages, and tap Merger.
  • Wait for a few minutes for the deleted text messages to download. You can check if they reappear on your iPhone 12.

Download Messages from iCloud Account

Turn off Messages in iCloud and then turn it back on.

How to recover deleted messages with Finder or iTunes backup on computer

Have got a backup of your iPhone 12 ready on computer? This is your option. As with the previous method of restoring deleted texts from iCloud, you need to have an iTunes backup prepared, and make sure the backup predates the time when the text messages got deleted. Any data newer than the backup will be lost when restoring.

Follow these steps to restore iPhone 12 to get back deleted text messages.

Step 1: Turn off Find My iPhone feature before restoring

Open Settings app, tap your Apple ID at the top, choose Find My. Then tap on Find My iPhone and turn it off (or make sure it's already turned off.)

Disable Find My iPhone if it's on.

Step 2: Choose correct backup to retrieve deleted text messages

  • Connect your iPhone 12 to your PC or Mac.
  • Launch iTunes on an older Mac or a PC. On a Mac with macOS 10.15 or higher, open Finder.
  • In iTunes, choose your device icon on the upper left of the window. In Finder, select your device under Location on the left sidebar, and then click General at the top.
  • Click Restore Backup.
  • On the popup box, choose a backup that was created before you deleted the messages.
  • Hit Restore. The backup file is now restoring to your iPhone 12. The current data on the device should be replaced.

Your deleted text messages should return to your phone only if you didn't make a fresh copy after those items being deleted.

Finder Restore Screen

Use a backup saved on computer to restore your messages from.

How to retrieve deleted text messages on iPhone 12 with a third-party software

What if you don't have backup? Or you only to find that your backup was made since deleting text messages from iPhone 12, right?

Where to find your deleted messages?

Luckily, iOS Data Recovery makes it possible to recover deleted text messages from iPhone 12 without backup. It adopts comprehensive searching algorithm to dig into the flash memory and find out any data files that have been potentially deleted.

Plus, the software includes a smart feature that grants users to selectively restore deleted texts from iCloud or iTunes backup. This also requires you to back up your messages before deletion. Take it easy; it will not overwrite any data that's currently on the device when performing the recovery.

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Steps on recovering deleted text messages on iPhone 12 without losing data

Note that it's not 100% guaranteed that the software is able to get back your deleted messages; it's likely that they're overwritten by the data you added to the flash storage. So to prevent the overwrite of the deleted text messages you want to recover, simply stop using your iPhone once the deletion occurred.

1. Start iOS Data Recovery utility on your PC or Mac

2. Choose Recover from iOS Device.

3. Connect iPhone 12 to your computer. When detected, click Start Scan.

Use the tool to scan your iPhone 12 memory and find the messages that have been deleted or lost.

4. After the scanning process is finished, select the SMS messages or iMessages you need. You can determine which thread of conversation to recover.

5. Press Recover button to recover SMS texts, iMessages, photos, videos, as well as attachments you deleted on iPhone 12.

Recover Deleted Text Messages iPhone

Select a message or multiple text messages for recovery and save onto computer.

Video Guide: iPhone 12 Deleted Messages Recovery

Contact cellular carrier to recover iMessages and SMS deleted on iPhone

In addition to all these different ways to recover a deleted iMessage, you may also try contacting your phone operator. Some cellular service providers keep the content of your SMS text messages and MMS messages for time periods ranging from a few days to several months.

You may access them by going to your service provider's website and sign in with your account, or call into customer service and request a record for texts details. Either way, it's still possible to get your texts back.

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