How To Retrieve Deleted Texts On An iPhone

How To Retrieve Texts and Deleted Messages On An iPhone

Like other smartphones, the iPhone enables users to instantly and conveniently send and/or receive text messages. With the iPhone, there are several ways to text – iMessage for iPhone to iPhone users, traditional SMS text messaging for non-iPhone users, and a myriad of Instant Messengers (IMs) or third-party messaging apps. 

In this digital age, messages are no longer just restricted to casual ‘hellos’. Some conversations can be about business deals, confidential health situations, personal plans, and more. But what happens if you accidentally deleted all or some of your conversations? What happens if you’ve lost your iPhone and haven’t enabled and synced your data to your iCloud account? What happens if along with your iPhone, your iCloud gets hacked or compromised, corrupting all private text messaging data? 

Read on to learn how to retrieve deleted texts and some other tips on retrieving texts from another phone and/or third-party application.

Search iPhone Messages via SMS/iMessage or Other Messengers

Apple’s iCloud storage plays an important role in ensuring the safety and security of your iPhone’s data, including text messages, email messages, and chat conversations. However, being an optional feature, iCloud won’t automatically sync and backup iPhone data unless it’s set beforehand or manually initiated.

Before delving deeper into the efficient methods of retrieving deleted messages on iPhones, let’s first check out how to search for these types of messages. It won’t hurt to first verify if a message has been deleted or corrupted before initiating data recovery processes.

Searching messages may sound like a useless basic troubleshooting step, but it helps to rule out those options before making bold or complicated actions. The process may slightly vary, depending on which platform you’re searching. We’ll be sharing the steps should you need to look into iMessage, Facebook, or WhatsApp.

Searching Text Messages on the iPhone Messages App

  1. Launch iPhone’s Messages app. 
  2. Pull down on the screen until the Search Bar shows up.
  3. Type in any relevant keyword you think is included in the message you’re searching for.
  4. Browse through the results of relevant thread/s.
  5. Tap on the specific conversation to open or tap on the See All button if the conversation you need doesn’t show up on the initial page.
  6. The term searched for should be displayed highlighted within the said conversation.

Searching Messages on the Facebook Messenger

  1. Launch the Facebook Messenger app.
  2. Locate the Search field (typically located on top) then type in a relevant keyword.
  3. Several categories would show up, allowing you to select which platform to look for: (1) Messages (conversations with contacts), (2) Discover (groups and pages on Facebook), (3) More on Instagram (relevant Instagram accounts you may or may not follow), and (4) More People (people who are not in your contacts).
  4. Tap on the See More button.
  5. Search through the list of conversations matching the search term. 
  6. Select the specific conversation and you should be redirected to the specific message/s containing the keyword (highlighted).

Searching Messages on the WhatsApp Messenger

  1. Launch the WhatsApp Messenger app. 
  2. Navigate to the Chats tab.
  3. Go to the Search section which is typically located on top.
  4. Type in the keyword you think is the most relevant to the specific message you’re looking for. 
  5. Search through the list of conversations matching the search term. 
  6. Select the specific conversation and you should be redirected to the specific message/s containing the keyword (highlighted).

Retrieve Text Messages via iCloud Recovery

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Apple’s iCloud is an accessible and effective way of storing and backing up important data from your iPhone and other iOS devices. Aside from iCloud messages, you can regularly sync multimedia files, contacts, location details, and various other information. The key here is to regularly sync your data between your iPhone and iCloud account.

Hence, iCloud backups can help you efficiently restore deleted messages on iPhones. Before proceeding be sure your iCloud backup is dated before when the message you’re looking for has been deleted. Otherwise, you won’t be able to retrieve the text messages.

Here’s how to check your last or most recent iCloud backup.

  1. Launch iPhone’s Settings app. 
  2. Tap on your Apple ID profile.
  3. Go to the iCloud section.
  4. Select the iCloud Backup option.
  5. Check the time and date below the Back Up Now tab and confirm if the available iCloud backup is before or after the text messages have been deleted from your iPhone.

If you have an available iCloud backup before the deletion of the text messages, you may then go ahead and restore using the iCloud backup method.

  1. Launch iPhone’s Settings app.
  2. Navigate to the General page.
  3. Go to the Reset section.
  4. Select the Erase All Content and Settings option. 
  5. Choose Erase Now from the pop-up menu.
  6. Everything should have been wiped out by now, prompting you to set up your iPhone as if it’s brand new.
  7. Follow the on-screen instructions and once you’ve reached the Apps & Data page, select Restore from iCloud Backup.
  8. Type in Apple ID/iCloud password and/or device PIN when prompted.
  9. Tap on the Choose backup option and be sure to select the backup before the deletion of the iPhone messages you’re looking for.

Retrieve Text Messages via Computer BackUp

If the available iCloud backup is after the iPhone text messages have been deleted, or if you don’t have an iCloud backup at all, a computer backup should work. Similar to iCloud storage or databases, local backups allow you to store valuable information and important data within your computer. Hence, computer backups can also help efficiently restore deleted text messages on iPhones.

Be sure, however, you were able to enable the PC/mac syncing feature beforehand. Otherwise, this method won’t work for you. 

If you did back up your files and data locally, go ahead and proceed with restoring your files utilizing your personal computer or macOS device. Note that you first need to ensure the Find My iPhone feature is disabled. Here’s how.

  1. Launch iPhone’s Settings app.
  2. Tap on your device’s [name] and ensure the Find My iPhone feature is disabled.
  3. Tap on your Apple ID profile.
  4. Go to the Find My section.
  5. Select the Find My iPhone option.
  6. Toggle off the button beside the Find My iPhone tab. Type in your Apple ID password to confirm the selection.

Once you’ve made sure the Find My iPhone feature is disabled, proceed with the backup. For the computer backup method, there are two ways on how to recover deleted messages – via Finder and via iTunes.

Via Finder

  1. Using the appropriate cable, connect your iPhone to your computer. 
  2. When prompted, tap on the Trust option to fully connect the devices.
  3. Go to Finder and navigate to the Locations section. 
  4. Select Manage Backups and browse through to locate an available backup before the deletion of the text messages. 
  5. Click on the applicable backup and hit OK
  6. Choose Restore iPhone.
  7. Wait until the process completes and be sure to follow any command prompt.

Via iTunes

  1. Using the appropriate cable, connect your iPhone to your computer. 
  2. Wait for the iTunes window to show up or manually launch it. 
  3. Select your device by clicking on the Phone icon located beside the drop-down menu on the top-left section.
  4. Navigate to the Summary page.
  5. Go to the Restore Backup section. 
  6. Depending on what’s applicable, select the from iCloud or This Computer option.
  7. Wait until the process completes and be sure to follow any command prompt.

Retrieve Text Messages via Network Service Provider

If for some reason you’re unable to restore iPhone text messages using data backups from iCloud, Finder, or iTunes, consider pushing your luck and seek assistance from your network service provider. 

Most cell networks have data backups in place. However, in most cases, these are programmed to be automatically overwritten by the newest data. Some networks do it per data while some do so per device. For instance, the network has recorded your recently received message from Mark. But when John texted you, the text from Mark is automatically deleted and overwritten by the text from John. So, the only copy they can generate is the conversation with John. For those who keep records of phone data as one, that message from Mark could be overwritten by a phone call from Maria or an MMS sent by Paul, or a photo shared by Jen.

Hence, retrieving deleted iPhone messages through your cell network provider isn’t a sure thing. Nevertheless, it could be worth your time and effort. Depending on their customer service, you can call a 1-800 number and look for technical support, send them an email, or chat with a bot for a case ticket to be created.

Retrieve Text Messages via Monitoring Software

If all else fails, you could resort to third-party apps offering data recovery or file backup services. Several iPhone apps offer those types of features but for the sake of getting great value for your money, we recommend utilizing monitoring software.

Monitoring apps, especially premium ones like Auto Forward, can do much aside from monitoring online and offline iPhone activities. The best ones showcase various other features, including parental controls, data storage, file retrieval, security settings, and more. Since tracking apps are programmed to automatically capture and simultaneously transmit data from the monitored iPhone to their remote servers, these are capable of retrieving all sent and received text messages even those that have been long since or recently deleted. 

Monitoring software for the iPhone works like iCloud storage in a way it can smoothly sync data. Unlike iCloud backup, however, the app won’t require you to regularly or manually sync data. Once installed and activated, it automatically digs deep into the target device, requiring minimal to no user input. 

While typically a paid service, you’re guaranteed accurate results and a smooth experience when you opt to backup data and/or restore files via monitoring software. Plus, despite the complexity of their cutting-edge software programming, monitoring software like Auto Forward is easy and convenient to use – from installation to navigation to extraction.

The steps might slightly vary, but in the case of Auto Forward, here’s how to acquire copies of deleted text messages from any compatible iPhone. 

  1. Purchase and Download

Choose which plan you think could best cater to your needs and wants. Settle the required one-time fee. Wait for the confirmation email containing further instructions and initiate the download process.

  1. Install and Activate

All you have to do is have physical access to the iPhone and follow the instructions provided by the company. This shouldn’t take more than a minute. 

  1. Access and Retrieve

Complete the setup and customize your account based on your preferred settings. Utilizing any internet-enabled device, access the cloud-based control panel dashboard and login with your created/provided account credentials. From the dashboard, navigate to the messages section. This is where you can see copies of all message conversations exactly as how they appear on the target iPhone. You can also retrieve from here any message that has been intentionally or accidentally deleted or archived from the iPhone.

Try Auto Forward Today!

Author: Liam King

I am a tech writer looking to share with the world all of the latest gadgets, apps, and news.