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How to recover deleted text messages from an iPhone backup

face Elena Spencer Updated on Apr 15, 2022 4:55 PM

Whether you accidentally deleted an entire conversation on your iPhone by right swiping and tapping the red Delete button, or set up iPhone as a "new phone" rather than restoring from backup file with all the texts (SMS and iMessages) backed up there, it's useful to know how to recover deleted texts on iPhone.

Basically, the recovery process can be quite simple by restoring iPhone from iCloud backup or iTunes backup (or Finder if you're using macOS Catalina 10.15 or higher). New data since the date of the backup would be lost, but we'll guide you through these steps of recovering from an old backup, and will also employ a way to restore ONLY messages from iPhone backup without restoring everything else.

How do I recover text messages from iPhone backups

Apple introduces two straightforward ways to recover deleted text messages from iPhone to restore the texts, pictures, videos and other memories: via iCloud backup and via iTunes/ Finder backup on computer, as long as the deleted messages are present when the backup was created.

If you've enabled Messages in iCloud, messages will not include in the iCloud backup. It's a syncing process that every time you delete a message on iPhone, it will be deleted from iCloud and all other devices using the same Apple ID. It's more likely that you cannot recover deleted messages this way, depending on your territory or phone operator. Check this via icloud.com.

For most users, text messages are saved in the iCloud backup and iTunes/ Finder backup—which you should have. And the good practice to recover messages on an iPhone is to reset your phone to factory settings and restore it from the backup.

Option 1: Restore only messages from iPhone backup

Anyone who accidentally deleted text messages from texts list on iPhone, or lost some old text messages should care about one thing: Is there a way to recover deleted SMS messages or iMessage from the iCloud backup without having to erase the whole phone and restore to factory defaults?

As you are aware, restoring a backup of iPhone is all or nothing. Thanks to iPhone Data Recovery, it's easy to access and read text messages from iPhone backup, and restore the texts and attachments you would like to get back. Plus, acting as a decent file recovery utility, it will let you decide which messages will be recovered - for instance, only one conversation in a message or the entire message. Best of all, you don't have to doing a restore and all files generated on the device since after the backup date are also intact.

We're going to use the software to restore deleted text messages from an iCloud backup. It also does well at restoring from an iTunes backup and the process is almost the same. If you have no backup in place, skip to Option 4.

Step 1: To begin, download iPhone Data Recovery application and install it on your PC or Mac.

Download Now!

for Windows | for MacOS

Step 2: Run the utility and choose "Recover from iCloud Backup File" tab from the left menu. Then sign into iCloud account with your Apple ID and passcode.

Step 3: On your phone, tap "Allow" in the sign-in notification, and then enter the verification code to complete sign in.

Step 4: Once done, click "iCloud Backup" icon and then click Start button.

Recover iPhone Messages from a Backup

Step 5: The software will reveal all iCloud backups you've created. Select the one that is containing the lost or deleted messages you want to restore, and click Download button.

Step 6: The tool will begin scanning iCloud backup for all backed-up data. When that's done, click "Messages" category from the left list, and you will see all SMS and iMessages on the middle panel sorted by contact name, phone number and email.

Step 7: Highlight certain text message(s) by check the tiny checkbox(es), and finally, hit Recover button to restore the deleted iPhone messages.

That's it! Here's how you can restore only messages from iCloud/ iTunes backup. All existing messages and other data on your iPhone won't be overwritten.

Option 2: Recover deleted text messages on iPhone using iCloud

Restoring from an iCloud backup will usually cost you more, say, overwriting anything already on the device, but this method has proven to be effective when restoring some contents in Messages that have been deleted.

If your iPhone was backed up on iCloud, your text messages should be saved in the backup. To restore deleted messages, make sure the backup has been made prior to deleting the texts, and then restore the iPhone to factory settings and restore it from the recent iCloud backup. You can't just restore the messages, though.

First, let's make sure you have a backup from before the message threads were deleted in the correct time frame:

1. Open Settings on iPhone

2. Tap [your name] > iCloud > Manage Storage.

3. Tap Backups, and check to see if your iPhone has been backed up.

Once you find that you have an appropriate backup to use, use the steps below to restore your iCloud backup:

1. Go back to Settings main screen, tap General > Reset.

2. Select Erase All Content and Settings.

3. From the pop-up, choose Erase Now. Your iPhone will take a few minutes to erase all of data and restore to factory settings.

4. When that's finished, you're prompted to set up your iPhone. Follow the on-screen instructions until you get into Apps & Data screen.

5. Choose Restore from iCloud Backup.

6. Log into your iCloud and access the backup. Select an old backup you want to restore deleted texts list from.

How to Recover Deleted Texts from an iCloud Backup

You deleted texts from an iCloud backup will now be restored to iPhone! You can check them in the Messages app, and everything will return to the way they were at the time of the backup.

Assuming you house your text messages in iCloud, they are not saved on your iPhone backups. After you restore the device from iCloud backup, stay connected to Wi-Fi connection and the texts should download in the background. If you're still missing the text message after this, it should be deleted permanently. You can check whether you have the messages in the Messages app on the iMac or other iOS devices.

Option 3: Retrieve deleted messages from an iTunes/ Finder backup

It's common that you have some software glitches on the iPhone. To fix the issue, you set your phone up as a new iPhone and as a result you've lost some old text messages. Despite this, you have these messages backed up to iTunes on computer.

Another native way is to recover messages from a backup on iTunes (or Finder in macOS Catalina or later). Like restoring from iCloud backup, there's no way to restore just the SMS/iMessage part of the backup. Whenever you have to restore from a backup, you restore all the data and settings from the backup.

Now, plug your iPhone into computer and restore deleted text messages using iTunes. If you're updating your Mac machine to macOS 10.15 or newer, open Finder and the recovery process is exactly the same.

1. Open iTunes, and click iPhone icon on the upper-left corner of the window. In Finder, select your phone from the left menu.

2. Choose Summary in the left menu. In Finder, click General tab.

3. Choose Restore Backup. This will restore all data in iTunes backup to the iPhone. Your old deleted messages should reappear in the normal text messages list.

So these are the three easy solutions to retrieve messages from iPhone backup, but make sure your backup is up-to-date just in case, always, always, always.

Option 4: Find and recover messages on iPhone (no backup)

If you can't find deleted texts even after restoring iTunes backup or iCloud backup, chances are that the messages have been already deleted before the backup you made. If this is your case, try the third-party iPhone Data Recovery program mentioned above once more to recover deleted messages on an iPhone, from the internal memory.

However, this option might not work if you added a lot of new calendar events and contacts and other data to the device, as the deleted messages are probably overwritten. It's worth a few minutes to try and the utility may works as expected.

Download Now!

for Windows | for MacOS

Not only can it restore text messages on an iPhone using iCloud Backup and iTunes/ Finder backup, but it also accesses the phone memory to find and retrieve deleted texts, as long as you act quickly.

1. Launch the text messages recovery iPhone software on your computer.

2. Connect your iPhone, and when it's recognized, click Start Scan button.

3. Sit back and wait for the tool to scan your entire device. Once done, it will sort all files into categories on the left panel, and give you an overview of the how much data is there.

Does an iPhone Backup Restore Text Messages

4. To restore messages and attachments, click "Messages" category and "Messages Attachments" category on the left and then select the messages threads you need back.

5. Click Recover button to accomplish the task.

The recovered messages will be saved in either CSV and HTML form. Hopefully all your deleted text messages are back.

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