How to Recover Deleted Messages on iPhone or iPad

Introduction

Deleting text messages from your iPhone can help clear up space in storage, but you also run the risk of deleting important information you need at a later date.
iMessage icon

If you suddenly remember you needed a message, we can help with the following methods of recovering deleted messages.

1 Check iCloud Backup Date

If your latest iCloud backup occurred before you deleted your message, you can restore it using iCloud back up.

Here's How To Check Your iCloud Back Up Date:

  1. Select Settings.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Select your Apple ID.
    iOS Settings menu highlighting the iCloud user button.
  3. Select iCloud.
    iOS iCloud user menu highlighting the iCloud option.
  4. Select iCloud Backup.
    iOS iCloud settings menu highlighting iCloud backup.
  5. Review the date iCloud last backed up.
    iOS showing last backup date

? Is your back up date before you deleted the message?

  1. Yes. The next steps will restore the previous backup
  2. No, but I backed up to iTunes
  3. No

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Deleting text messages from your iPhone can help clear up space in storage, but you also run the risk of deleting important information you need at a later date.
iMessage icon

If you suddenly remember you needed a message, we can help with the following methods of recovering deleted messages.

If your latest iCloud backup occurred before you deleted your message, you can restore it using iCloud back up.

Here's How To Check Your iCloud Back Up Date:

  1. Select Settings.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Select your Apple ID.
    iOS Settings menu highlighting the iCloud user button.
  3. Select iCloud.
    iOS iCloud user menu highlighting the iCloud option.
  4. Select iCloud Backup.
    iOS iCloud settings menu highlighting iCloud backup.
  5. Review the date iCloud last backed up.
    iOS showing last backup date
  1. Select Settings.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Select General.
    Settings with General highlighted.
  3. Select Reset.
    General settings with Reset highlighted.
  4. Select Erase All Content and Settings, and enter your iPhone's passcode (if prompted).
    iOS Reset menu highlighting erase all content and settings.
  5. You will receive a confirmation prompt offering to Backup Then Erase or Erase Now. If you would like to back up your device's information before erasing, select Backup Then Erase. Otherwise, select Erase Now.
    iOS Erase all content and settings confirmation prompt.

Your iPhone will now wipe all data and reset back to factory defaults. When completed, you will be presented with the Welcome screen you saw when you took your iPhone out of the box for the first time.

  1. Once your iPhone is factory reset you'll be brought to the Apps and Data screen.
  2. Select Restore from iCloud Back Up.
    iOS restore from iCloud backup screen
  3. Your latest back up will then be loaded onto the phone.
In order to connect your iPhone to your computer you need to have a  fully updated version of iTunes. Without these updates, iTunes won't connect to your iPhone.
  1. Open iTunes.
    iTunes icon
  2. From the menu bar at the top of the iTunes window, choose Help.
  3. Select Check for Updates.
    iTunes help menu open showing check for updates
  4. Follow the prompts to install the latest version.

Restoring your device will erase all data from your iOS device. Prior to performing a restore, you may want to perform an iCloud backup or a manual backup in iTunes.

Before restoring the device, we must disable the Find My Device from your iOS device.

  1. Open Settings from the Home Screen.
    Settings icon.
  2. Tap on Accounts & Passwords.
    Settings menu with Accounts and Passwords selected. Screenshot.
  3. Tap on your iCloud account.
    Accounts and Passwords with iCloud account selected. Screenshot.
  4. Tap on Find My iOS Device.
    iCloud accounts settings with Find My device selecteed. Screenshot.
  5. Toggle Find My iOS Device off.
    Find my device toggled off. Screenshot.
  6. Enter your Apple ID Password to disable the Find My iOS Device function.

The following steps will walk you through restoring your iOS device to factory defaults.

  1. Connect your device to the computer and open iTunes.
    iTunes icon.
  2. Click on Restore [your device].
    Restore screen with Restore button selected. Screenshot.
  3. Click on Restore.
    Restore confirmation box with Restore option selected. Screenshot.
  4. You may be prompted to download the firmware for your devices. If this happens select Next to continue.
    Firmware summary screen with Next button selected. Screenshot.
  5. The download will now start. Leave your device plugged in and once the download finishes it will start the restore. You can view your progress of the download by clicking the downloads button that appears while downloading is in progress.
    Download progress. Screenshot.
  6. Once the restore is complete (which takes approximately 15 minutes), you will be asked if you want to restore from a backup. Use the following guidelines to decide which option is the best.
    Setup As New This is the suggested setup if you are resetting your device to troubleshoot issues. This will set up the device like you first purchased it and will not carry over any software issue you may have had before restoring.
    iCloud Restore iCloud restores are the suggested method if you are swapping to a new device. It is recommended to do this step when you will be on a Wi-Fi connection for good period of time as it may take awhile to finish.
    iTunes Restore iTunes restores are the suggested method if you normally since your device solely with iTunes.
  1. Open the App Store on your Mac.
    macOS App Store.
  2. At the top of the App Store window, click Updates.
    App store with Updates button highlighted.
  3. If any macOS or iTunes updates are available, click Update.
    App Store updates section highlighting the update button.
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