Text messages don’t actually get deleted
Apple iOS stores every text message you ever made on your iPhone even you have deleted. When you using spotlight search to find something and maybe you will find that some text conversations you made months ago, which were deleted by yourself, are still showing up!
Apple customer support confirmed that and told me the only way to permanent remove all text messages and emails , is to do a master reset, or restore to factory setting on iTunes. This method will wipe all data from your phone. Your contacts, apps, and settings are also erased.
So, if you deleted your text messages by mistake. Lost them due to jailbreak, or upgrading to the latest iOS. You still have chance to retrieve them. Here we show you 5 methods to retrieve the text messages you deleted from an iPhone.
5 methods to retrieve deleted text messages from iPhone
Here we introduce 5 ways to recover the lost text messages from iPhone. Please choose the one which is suitable for your current situation. We may need iTunes and iCloud backup during the recovery process.
- Retrieve deleted text messages directly from the iPhone
- Extract text messages from iCloud backup using iPhone Backup Extractor
- Extract SMS from iTunes backup with iPhone Data Recovery software
- Retrieve deleted text messages directly from iCloud (Free)
- Restore lost messages from iTunes backup (Free)
Method 1: Retrieve deleted text messages directly from the iPhone
This method is applicable to the case of people lost their text messages while have no backup. It is suitable for all iPhone generation, including iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.
We will need a 3rd-party iPhone data recovery tool to help us, which can directly scan the phone and find the deleted content, then put them back to your iPhone or save on the computer.
First, download iPhone Data Recovery software and install it. There has both Windows and Mac version. Then follow the steps.
Step 1: Connect your iPhone to the computer and run the iPhone data recovery tool.
Connect your iPhone to the computer and do not pull it down during the recover process. Then open the program, you will see the main interface as below.
Step 2: Start the scan process in order to find the lost messages
After you click the “Start Scan” button, the program will begin to scan your phone and try to find all the data on your device, including those deleted.
Step 3: Preview and recover the deleted text messages from iPhone
After scanning, all found data are displayed in categories, you can preview the messages. The deleted ones are in orange. Tick those you need and click “Recover” button. The program will ask you if you want to save them on your device or to the computer.
Method 2: Extract text messages from iCloud backup using iPhone Backup Extractor
This method is suitable for those who backed up their iPhone with iCloud. You can extract the iCloud backup file and get the messages. Even you don’t have your iPhone around, you can still export the text messages out to the computer.
Of course, you should download the iPhone Backup Extractor software first.
Step 1: Choose the recovery mode and connect to your iCloud account
Run the program and choose the recovery mode of “Recover from iCloud Backup Files”, then login to your iCloud account. The program would not keep the records of your account, password or content at any time during your sessions.
Step 2: Download your iCloud backup and analysis
After you logged into iCloud, the program will show you all iCloud backups. Choose the latest one and click “Download”, then tick the type of files you would like to download, click “Next” to continue. When you click “Start Scan” button, the program will download the backup file and analysis it.
Step 3: Preview and recover the text messages you want from the iCloud backup
Waiting for the scan is complete. You can preview all messages in your iCloud backup. Check them and tick those you need. Then click the “Recover” button to save them on your computer. The software will prompt whether you want to restore those messages to your iPhone if it is connected with your computer during the recovery process.
Method 3: Extract SMS from iTunes backup with iPhone Data Recovery software
This method is very similar to Method 2; the difference between them is that this method is use iTunes backup. We know, the iTunes will create a backup every time you synched your iPhone with your computer. So this gives us a possibility to recover the data.
You should download the software first just like before.
Step 1: Choose the iTunes recovery mode
Run the software and choose the recovery mode “Recover from iTunes Backup File”. It will detect and list all iTunes backups on your computer. Choose the most recent one and hit “Start Scan”.
Step 2: Preview and recover previous data
After a while, all data in the iTunes backup file would be extracted and displayed in categories. It contains deleted and existing messages on your device. To separate them, please turn on “Only display the deleted items”. Pick those text you want and click the “Recover” button. The messages can be directly recovered to your iPhone if you keep your iPhone connected with your computer during the recovery process.
Method 4: Retrieve deleted text messages directly from iCloud (Free)
If you have backed up your iPhone to iCloud, you can restore your iPhone text messages from the backup (iCloud backup may be the best backup you have for it can back up your device automatically over Wi-Fi every day while it’s turned on, locked, and connected to a power source. Get details about what iCloud backs up).
This method applies to all iPhone generation running iOS 5 or later. But you should know that, this will erase the current content and settings on your iPhone first and then copy the old data. It means if you have some new messages after you accidentally lost SMS, then you may lost the new texts.
1. On your iPhone, go to Settings > General > Software Update. If a newer version of iOS is available, follow the onscreen instructions to download and install it.
2. Make sure you have a recent backup to restore from.
On your iOS 8 device: Go to Settings > iCloud > Storage > Manage Storage, then tap a device listed under Backups to see the date and size of its latest backup.
On your iOS 7 device: Go to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup > Manage Storage, then tap a device listed under Backups to see the date and size of its latest backup.
3.Go to Settings > General > Reset, then tap “Erase all content and settings”.
4. In the Setup Assistant, proceed to “Set up your device”, tap Restore from a Backup, then sign in to iCloud.
5. Proceed to “Choose backup”, then choose from a list of available backups in iCloud. Then the data in the backup file would be restored on your phone.
Method 5: Restore lost messages from iTunes backup (Free)
This method is applicable to all iOS device. If you didn’t disable the automatic sync option in iTunes, it will back up your phone every time you synched your iPhone with iTunes. You can easily retrieve the messages with those backups.
1. Connect your iPhone to the computer that has your backup file.
2. Run the iTunes. Make sure it is the latest version of iTunes.
3. After iTunes recognized your iPhone, click Restore backup button, or choose File > Devices > Restore from Back up. If you are using iTunes 10.7 or earlier, right click the device from the list and choose Restore from Backup.
But its disadvantage is the same as Method 4, You should always keep your iTunes backup up to date. Or you may lose your current data and settings since the iPhone would be fully erased and go back to the previous status.
And there is no ways to preview the contents in the backup, also can not only to recover part of them. So I suggest to use iPhone Data Recovery.
Related: How to recover lost photos from iPhone.