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Recover deleted messages on iPhone without backup in 3 ways

Getting back messages from iPhone without backup is possible and easy. Here's how-to tutorial with screenshots attached for iPhone deleted text messages recovery.

Elena Spencer Updated on Dec 20, 2023 6:43 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 worse than deleting your texts is just to find that you didn't back up data, enable iCloud Backup or turn on Messages in iCloud on iPhone.

So, is it possible to retrieve deleted text messages iPhone without backup? Yes! We've collected a few solutions for how to retrieve deleted messages on iPhone without backup.

  • iPhone running with iOS 16 or later has made it easy to find deleted text messages in Recently Deleted folder within 30 days and recover them without a backup needed.
  • If you can't see your deleted messages in Recently Deleted and have no backup, try to use a dedicated program called iPhone Data Recovery to retrieve your texts from the phone memory before they're gone permanently.
  • Some phone providers keep a record of message history and restore messages without iPhone being backed up.

Tip: This post can be applied to deleted text messages recovery on iPhone 15 or newer, iPhone 14, 13, 12, 11, SE, XR, XS, X, 8, 7 or earlier. No backup file is involved.

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Can you recover deleted texts on iPhone without backup?

If you used iCloud to back up your iPhone before the messages were missing then you can restore your phone from backup on your iCloud account; the other option is to restore iPhone from a backup that you may create on your computer. An available backup makes retrieving deleted text messages from your iPhone free an easy task.

If you don't have any iPhone backup, no worries. iOS 16 or higher has come with a Recently Deleted folder within Messages app, where you can find deleted text messages and recover them in just a few taps.

When your deleted messages (SMS, MMS, iMessages) are no longer in Recently Deleted, they're not actually wiped out once and for all. Instead, they have been lurking in the hard drive until that space is used to fill new files. This is exactly why you still have chance to get those texts back to iPhone without older backup by a data recovery utility.

Via Recently Deleted in iOS 16 or later: Retrieve iPhone deleted messages without backup

If your iPhone has been updated to iOS 16 or later, this option is for you. Anytime you mistakenly delete some texts and you have no backup in place, go to Messages app, find Recently Deleted folder, then you should manage to restore your deleted conversations and messages for up to 30 days. Here how.

Step 1. Unlock your iPhone and open the native Messages app.

Step 2. Tap Edit at the top-left corner of the conversation list, and select Show Recently Deleted. Or you may tap Filters > Recently Deleted. This will display all messages that you've deleted in the past 30 days.

Step 3. In Recently Deleted folder, select the conversations containing the deleted messages you want to retrieve and restore them to conversation inbox.

Via iPhone Data Recovery tool: Find and recover text messages from iPhone without backup

If the deleted text messages can't be restored from Recently Deleted Messages, your next stop should be to use a third party utility to scan your iPhone storage and see deleted SMS texts that haven't been backed up. 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 a previous backup in seconds.

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Here's how you can use iPhone Data Recovery to recover deleted text messages without any backups. So breath out, let's get started.

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

Fire up the program, and connect your iPhone to the computer via USB cable.

Click Start Scan button 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, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB,) the scan may take a while to complete.

When the scan is done, all found text messages and other files will be categorized in different types on the left side bar. As you see, the tool is also capable of recovering deleted photos, videos, contacts, call history, notes and many more.

Go ahead and click "Messages" category. 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 is 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 retrieve permanently deleted text messages on iPhone if you did not have backup in iCloud or iTunes. Whether your messages are missing due to accidental deletion, failed iOS update, or whatever, this iPhone Data Recovery program works for getting them back without relying on a backup.

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

Tip: If you have a recent backup for your deleted iPhone text messages, you could do a full restore. If you don't want to erase all content and settings before doing text recovery on iPhone, try to use iPhone Data Recovery program to extract deleted data from the backup without losing current data on the device.

Contact phone carrier: Retrieve deleted messages without iPhone backup

If you're lucky enough, your phone provider may keep a copy of your text history from a very few days to significantly months longer. This is the last resort to recover deleted text messages on iPhone free with no backup. It's not guaranteed to work, but at least it's worth trying to contact your service provider to see if they keep your text messages before they get deleted or disappeared from the inbox.

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

Always back up text messages on iPhone to avoid accidental deletion or loss

Now you should know how to find deleted messages on iPhone without iCloud or iTunes backup. The next thing you do is to ensure you'll never lose the conversations by backing up text messages. Apple's iCloud, iTunes/ Finder, and a reliable iPhone backup service are available routes you can choose from for both a cloud backup or a local backup.

To have your messages backed up to either iCloud or iTunes, do not turn on Messages in iCloud feature. If it's enabled, the iPhone backup won't contain the text messages and can not restore a deleted message. Worse, when you delete some text messages, they will be gone from iPhone and iCloud, and cannot be retrieved.

FAQs: iPhone text messages recovery

1. Is it possible to recover deleted messages on the iPhone without iTunes or iCloud backup?

In the past, it's impossible to recover and see deleted text conversation from an iPhone without a backup, unless you're willing try a solid 3rd-party file recovery program like iPhone Data Recovery - it will help finding and retrieving the texts that you deleted from iPhone's internal database, instead of from any backups.

Starting from iOS 16 with the added Recently Deleted feature within Messages app, you can restore lost messages even when you haven't backed up your iPhone. The iPhone recovery for text messages in Recently Deleted is valid for only 30 days after the deletion.

2. Can you recover permanently deleted text messages without an iPhone backup?

Messages' Recently Deleted in iOS 16 or later gives you up to 30 days to recover entire text messages conversations in a fast manner via Edit > Recently Deleted without a backup.

If the items are permanently deleted - you've emptied the Recently Deleted folder, or the messages are missing for some reasons, and they were not backed up, you need to try a recovery application.

3. How to find deleted text messages without iCloud?

When you didn't have iCloud backup and want to get back deleted texts, you might have iCloud set to ON for Messages then the text messages are removed forever when the deletion happens, so you're not able to restore messages from iCloud backup.

To retrieve deleted text conversation without iCloud, check Recently Deleted folder or use an iOS data recovery software program.

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