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iOS 16 adds new feature to allow finding iMessages and SMS texts deleted within the last 40 days. You can also try to restore backup to get your iMessages back. Here's how to do.
Summary: Beginning with iOS 16 and iPadOS 16.1, Apple iPhone and iPad both have Recently Deleted folder built-in as part of the Messages app, from where users can retrieve deleted iMessages, messages, and conversations for up to 40 days. You can also use iCloud to restore a backup to recover your iPhone iMessages; or retrieve deleted iMessage conversions on iPhone by restoring from backups saved on computer using Finder or iTunes.
If nothing else seems to work, you may use a 3rd party tool, iPhone Data Recovery for example. It carries a deep and thorough scan capability of the phone memory to find and recover deleted SMS texts, iMessages without backup for you.
Tapped "Delete" button on an iMessage bubble or an entire conversation and instantly regretted it? You're not alone. Whether you recently mass deleted iMessage conversations to clear up space, or you got rid of spam messages from the list on your iPhone, you might accidentally deleted iMessages you want to save.
Don't worry, though. It's possible to recover deleted iMessages from backup if you have your iPhone set to back up in iTunes/ Finder, or iCloud, but you will revert the device to factory settings as part of the necessary iMessages recovery process. In iOS 16 or later, you can even restore your iMessages from a Recently Deleted folder—a part of the Messages app that comes build in by default—if you realize your mistake quickly. Here's how.
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The following instructions work the same whether you're retrieving iMessages (blue bubble conversations) or recovering deleted text messages (green bubble conversations) on iPhone.
The Messages app received major update in iOS 16 by integrating with a new Recently Deleted folder to make it more friendly and convenient. It now gives you ability to restored iMessages deleted from iPhone accidentally in the past 30 to 40 days. During the grace period, you can go into the folder and view all the deleted conversations and easily retrieve the ones you want.
Recently Deleted album works well in retrieving all your text, video, picture, sound included in the conversation. But once the days have elapsed, a recently deleted iMessage is erased permanently from your iPhone. To recover it, you should use Apple's other tools such as iCloud, iTunes, Finder, which we'll show you how to recover deleted iMessage from a backup with later in this article.
Note: if you turn on Messages in iCloud and delete a conversation or a single iMessage, it will be removed across all your devices, not just the iPhone.
1. Open Messages app on your iPhone.
2. Tap Edit in the upper left corner to go back to Messages page.
3. Select Recently Deleted.
4. View and select the conversations with the messages you want to return to your iPhone.
5. In the lower right corner, tap Recover. If you want to retrieve all of your iMessages and text messages from there, tap Recover All instead.
6. Tap Recover Messages to get them back.
Tip: Just as Messages app, Apple also offers a folder with same name for Photos app to save and retrieve recently deleted photos on iPhone in case you change your mind.
Built into iPhone, iCloud offers a number of features including device track (Find My) and messages sync across all your devices. Another useful feature is its ability to use iCloud backup to recover the deleted iMessages and other data, including texts, photos, notes, if you've set the iPhone backed up before.
The only drawback about retrieving deleted iMessages with iCloud is that it requires to reset the iPhone back to its factory settings first—which erases all your current data in the process, and then revert to a condition when the backup was made. Here's how.
Open Settings on your iPhone.
Tap your name at the top of the page, and then click iCloud. It shows you a list of apps using iCloud—you can tap "Show All" to expand the list. Make sure you've toggled the "Sync this iPhone" switch to the right side to turn on Messages in iCloud.
Tap iCloud Backup and now you can see the last time your iPhone was successfully backed up. If the time when you deleted the iMessage is later than that of the Last successful Backup, you should be able to undelete your iPhone iMessages.
Go back to Settings, and tap General > Transfer or Reset iPhone.
Tap Erase All Content and Settings.
In "Erase This iPhone" page, tap Continue.
Enter your passcode to sign out iCloud and remove Find My. It will begin deleting all your existing content on your iPhone, such as photos, text messages, media files, apps, and resetting it to its factory settings.
Once the reset process is complete, you should get a welcome screen with setup assistant. Let it walk you through the necessary setup steps, and when it arrives in App & Data screen, select Restore from iCloud Backup.
Sign into to iCloud with your Apple ID and password, and then select the most relevant backup from the available iCloud backups. Wait for the iPhone to retrieve your deleted iMessages. All your other data files, such as contacts, notes, reminders in the backup will be back, too.
Also see: Text Messages disappeared from iPhone
On a Mac with Mojave 10.14 or older, or on a Windows computer, your backups are made in iTunes; for Catalina 10.15 or later, they're created by Finder instead. Follow these steps to retrieve iMessages deleted on iPhone with iTunes or Finder if you have backed up your device to your Mac or PC.
1. Plug your iPhone into your Mac or PC and launch Finder or iTunes if it doesn't open automatically. If it asks to Trust This Computer, tap Trust on your phone screen.
2. On your Mac, click the phone name under Location on the sidebar of Finder. On your PC machine, click on the icon of your phone at the top of the iTunes screen, and then choose Summary tab.
3. Click Restore Backup.
You might need to click the This Computer on iTunes or Back up all of the data on your iPhone to this Mac on Finder if the button doesn't work when you click it.
4. Pick the recent backup that includes the iMessages you deleted, and click Restore. iTunes or Finder will take a while to restore the iPhone, and your old iMessages should reappear soon in the messaging list.
If neither of Recently Deleted folder on iPhone or backup helps you get deleted iMessages back, consider using a third-party iMessages retrieve software app. iPhone Data Recovery tops our ranking thanks to its intuitive interface and great features.
It's available on both macOS and Windows, offering you an efficient way to scan the iPhone or iPad memory to retrieve the deleted files, such as photos, texts, iMessages, call history, contacts, notes. It also has options to just extract files you want from an iTunes or iCloud backup without resetting your phone that Apple does. Besides this, the program comes with several cool features, including the ability to fix the iOS & iPadOS and a backup feature to save your iPhone data to your computer in case accidental deletions.
Step 1: Run iPhone Data Recovery
Run the software on your computer, and connect the iPhone.
As you don't have any backup in iCloud or iTunes for your old iMessages, here select "Recover from iOS Device" to start.
Step 2: Scan the iPhone
Once connected, click "Start Scan" on the program window. It will take a few minutes to complete the scan process.
Step 3: View the iMessages list
In the results list, you can click the "Messages" and "Messages Attachments" in the menu on left side, then you can preview all found existing and deleted text messages and iMessages on the right side section.
Step 4: Retrieve lost iMessages and save to computer
Select the iMessages you want to retrieve from the list by checking the box, and hit "Recover" button on the lower right corner of the program window. Specify a location where the conversations are stored, and you're good to go.
That's how you can retrieve deleted iMessages without backup. You may find other types of data in the scan results and get them back. Want to know if your iTunes backs up your old iMessages? Run its "Recover from iTunes Backup File" mode in the main interface.
No. Depending on your country and region, some phone carriers have the options to keep a record of your call logs and text messages for a specific period of time, but the backup doesn't contain iMessages — it's Apple's own end-to-end encrypted instant messaging service that can only be sent from one Apple device to another.
The first thing you should do is go to Recently Deleted folder. It saves your texts and iMessages for up to 40 days before deleting them forever.
Yes, it's possible, but you need to have a backup of your iPhone on the computer or in the iCloud before the iMessages were erased. To restore them:
If you can't retrieve deleted iMessages using a backup from iCloud or computer, you may try a dedicated file retrieve tool like iPhone Data Recovery to help you scan and find iMessages from device storage.
The Message History feature can automatically delete SMS texts and iMessages in your Messages app to free up storage space on your iPhone. You may go to Settings > Messages > Keep Messages, and set the time to Forever.
To unsend an iMessage that you sent mistakenly:
Make sure you're using iMessage with iOS 16, iPadOS 16.1, macOS Ventura, or later.