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3 ways to restore iMessages from iCloud backup [easy & quick]

Blake Sullivan Updated on Jun 23, 2022 4:07 PM

This handy passage is going to tell you how to recover iMessages from iCloud via 3 methods, which can be applied to restore iMessage history deleted or lost from iPhone, iPad, iPod, etc.

iMessage's ease of use is both its ability to freely send texts, photos, or videos between Apple devices like iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, etc. over Wi-Fi or cellular-data networks and its end-to-end encryption. You can effortlessly toggle it on via heading to Settings > Messages in your device.

Besides, iMessages can be safely uploaded to and stored in iCloud on condition that you've activated either iCloud Backup or Messages in iCloud - iCloud will also update your entire message history and sync it across all your devices signed in with the same iCloud account.

If you accidentally deleted an iMessage, iCloud offers support to restore iMessages from iCloud backup and we'll show you how to do it. At times, you might get wrong messages like "Messages in iCloud is not available as iCloud and iMessage accounts do not match", "Messages in iCloud not available because iCloud and iMessage accounts are different", or "Messages have not been fully downloaded". This article also gets you covered, explaining how to retrieve iMessages from iCloud backup using an all-in-one third-party program.

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Essential: If you've enabled Messages in iCloud, the iMessages history won't backed up to iCloud. In other words, once an iMessage is deleted from your device, it'll permanently removed from all your other devices logged into the same Apple ID.

Reset your device and restore iMessages from iCloud

Thanks to Apple's advanced algorithm, retrieving iMessages (texts, photos, stickers, GIFs, and more) from an iCloud backup can be done directly on your device. To figure out if your iMessages are included in the backup, tap Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Manage Storage and see if there's an archive available for Messages. If Yes, this is the iCloud iMessage recovery process that Apple offers:

Don't miss the must-do step to keep your essential data and information backed up ahead of time.

  • Factory reset your iOS device by tapping Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.
  • Select Erase Now. When all the data and files are removed from your iPhone or iPad, set it up by following the on-screen instructions until you see "Apps and Data" page.
  • Choose Restore from iCloud Backup. Then, select the iCloud backup file that includes your deleted iMessage history. When it's done restoring from iCloud and the setup process is over, you can view and access the iMessages restored from iCloud in Messages app.

HEADS UP: This iCloud iMessage restore is an all or nothing process, which means that you're not entitled to restore only iMessages and all device data created and saved after the backup was performed will be erased completely. If this is your concern, go to next method.

Download iMessages from iCloud backup selectively

Aside from the error messages mentioned in the beginning, there're also other potential iCloud backup restore iMessage issues:

  • Some iMessage threads can't be fully restored (i.e., photos covered in the iMessage threads)
  • Stuck in "Downloading Messages from iCloud" screen
  • Restore iMessages backed up at a date that's different from the one you chose
  • Can't access or recover old iMessages from a year ago

Actually, restoring directly from your device is the only way to retrieve iMessages history or get old iMessages back from iCloud backup. You can do it more flexibly and successfully with iPhone Data Recovery. It lets you access iMessages from iCloud backup files, view the details of iMessage conversations and attachments, and specify desired recently deleted iMessage or old iMessage history to recover from iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and other Apple devices.

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Best of all, you don't need to wipe clean your device to recover deleted iMessages from iCloud backup. If you wish to give it a shot, follow this dead simple wizard to get started.

  • Launch the software on your PC or Mac, then click on "Recover from iCloud".
  • Type in your Apple ID and password to sign in to iCloud. Make sure that you're logged in with the same iCloud account that's used to back up iMessages. Tips: If you've activated the two-factor authentication, tap Allow on your phone and enter the verification code displayed on the device.
  • When you get into iCloud, hit iCloud Backup and then you should see a list of iCloud backup files.
  • Select the iCloud backup file that contains the iMessages you want to retrieve and press Download.
  • In the pop-up window, highlight Messages and Message Attachments option and hit Next button. It'll start downloading the iMessages, SMS messages and MMS messages.
  • Preview the backed-up iMessages and select the one(s) you'd like to recover by ticking the checkbox(es). Then, press Recover button. When prompted, choose a place to save the restored iMessage conversations in your computer and hit Recover button again.

You should now undelete all iMessages from iCloud backup. For your information, this tool also works well to restore iMessages from iTunes backup and get back messages without iCloud backups.

iCloud iMessage recovery without factory reset (Not for all)

Though it's true that with Messages turned on in iCloud, it's hard to recover an accidentally deleted group iMessage thread as it's not contained in your iCloud backup, there's still a possibility that the changes (the deletion of iMessages) haven't synced across other devices yet.

As such, you stand a little chance to download deleted iMessages from iCloud backup without factory reset. Note that feature isn't officially proclaimed to be a one-size-fits-all iCloud iMessage recovery solution, but it won't take you long to check if it works.

  • Go to icloud.com and sign in with your Apple ID and password. When you've logged in, choose Messages option. (This trick won't work for you if Messages icon doesn't show up.)
  • Look if the iMessages you need are backed up and stored in iCloud. If you can find them, unlock your iOS device and tap Settings > [your name] > iCloud. Then, turn off Messages option.
  • When asked, tap Keep On My iPhone. After a while, switch on Messages and choose Merge in the opening dialog box. Wait until it finishes downloading iMessages on your iOS device.

After recovering lost iMessages from iCloud backup and getting back the important conversations and media files, you might also be interested in:

iMessages take up so much iCloud storage? Here's how to clean them up

1. Get rid of old iMessages

If you've used Messages app for many years, a large number of old iMessages - as well as SMS and MMS - could be accumulated and occupy large space on your iCloud with Messages in iCloud enabled. To free up the iCloud online storage space, you can remove the old iMessages that don't matter from the device, which will also be deleted from other devices. Click here to learn how to delete an individual iMessage, multiple attachments from a contact or conversation, or an entire conversation on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Mac.

2. Delete old iCloud backup

  • Tap Settings > [your name] > iCloud.
  • Choose Manage Storage > Backups.
  • Select the name of the device that covers the backup you wish to delete.
  • Tap Delete Backup > Turn Off & Delete.

There's a reminder that iCloud Backup function will be automatically toggled off from your device after you delete an iCloud backup.

How to recover iMessages on Mac using iCloud

  • On your Mac, log out of iMessage and quit the app.
  • Launch Finder. From the Finder menu, click on Go.
  • Locate your library and search for a file called "messages" from an iCloud backup that was made before you deleted or lost the iMessages.
  • Open the messages folder and press Restore.
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