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How to restore SMS messages from iTunes backup [2 ways]

Alex Griffith Updated on Apr 14, 2022 6:11 PM

Tip: You have great chance to retrieve deleted text messages from iPhone internal memory if you've not had the device backed up on iCloud or iTunes.

Losing texts including iMessages on iPhone can happen to anyone. If you have make a full backup of your SMS messages in advance using iTunes, then this article would do you a lot of favor and get them back. Read on and learn 2 efficient way to recover text messages from iTunes backup.

Despite the rapid growth of social media like Facebook and Twitter, text messages were and still are the significant part of our life. You take all the SMS messages for granted until one day you lost them. Thankfully, whether it's due to a factory reset, iOS update, or accidental deletion or even device damage, you're able to restore texts from iPhone backup you made with iTunes. Here's how.

Option 1: Restoring Text Messages from iTunes Backup - Apple Way

Using an Apple way has pros and cons. Apple has long offered the ability to help you retrieve text messages from iTunes backup quickly as long as you backed up your iPhone via iTunes. One huge drawback is that this method will restore the entire iTunes backup and replace the data on your iPhone. You won't restore only text messages to iPhone.

  • Run iTunes on your computer and connect iPhone using a USB cable.
  • Hit on the device icon at the upper left corner when iPhone is detected by iTunes.
  • On the summary page select Restore Backup... under Backups section.
  • restore messages from iTunes backup to iPhone

  • Select the most recent backup entry that includes SMS messages you want.
  • Click the Restore button. Wait until the process is complete. Your messages should be restored and reappear in the messaging list on iPhone.
  • export text messages from iPhone backup

Related article: How to import SMS messages from an old iPhone to a new iPhone

Option 2: Using iPhone Backup Extractor (Without Overwriting Data)

If you don't want to be asked to restore everything from iTunes backup, but just restore text messages in iTunes backup, consider using a specialist iPhone Backup Extractor like iOS Data Recovery. It let you preview/ read text messages from iTunes backup and select specific pieces of messages you want to recover. It won't touch current data on your iPhone. It also can recover data, not just texts, from iPhone storage and iCloud backup, making data recovery more flexibility.

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This method applies to the scenario when you have created an iTunes backup beforehand. If you're backing iPhone up with iCloud, you may try restore text messages from iCloud. Below are instructions on how to extract text messages from iPhone backup in iTunes using iOS Data Recovery.

Step 1: Choose "Recover from iTunes Backup File" mode

Download the software and install it on your computer, then open up it.

The software's main interface is fairly straightforward. From there we select Recover from iTunes Backup File mode. It will automatically search for the backup files in your computer and display them on the interface.

extract SMS messages from iTunes backup

Step 2: Pick up a relevant iTunes backup

From the scanned backup list, select one backup which holds the text messages you want to retrieve, then click the Start Scan button. The process might take your some time and the duration depends on the amount of data in this backup.

Once the scanning process is complete, you will get a window as below, where you're given an overview of the archived data and categorized in a decent way.

scan results

Step 3: Retrieve deleted messages from iTunes backup

The application features the preview function that allows you to view text messages from the list, detailed information such as the contacts number of the sender, name, and the specific conversations included.

Now, it's time to restore SMS messages. tick the checkbox next to each message you want to get back, and hit the Recover button at the bottom right corner.

restore only SMS messages to iPhone.

When a dialog box pops up, specify a local folder where to save the output messages on computer.

Again, hit the Recover button and the program will begin retrieving messages from iTunes backup and save onto your computer soon.

Does iTunes Backup Messages?

The answer is YES. iTunes literally back up nearly all of your iPhone's data including content from the iTunes and App Stores, MP3s or CDs, videos, books, photos, text (SMS), iMessages, and multimedia (MMS) messages.


That's all there is to it! Both two options can restore iTunes backup and get iPhone text messages back successfully. So, is one form of recovery better than the other? Like almost all data-related questions, the answer depends on your personal preference.

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