Accidentally deleted important messages on your iPhone? Don't worry, we've all been there, and the good news is that there are a handful of ways to recover deleted texts from an iPhone: using iCloud, using iTunes, and using a third-party app. We'll guide you through each method in an effort to restore your valuable iPhone messages.

Simply put, you can get those texts messages back by restoring from a backup - we recommend iCloud for cloud backups and iTunes (Finder if you're running macOS Catalina or later) for local backups. Even if the worst happens and you haven't got a backup, you may be able to get those messages back using a third-party app.

Carry on reading to find out exactly what you need to do to recover deleted texts on an iPhone right here. If you've got the the opposite problem, we also explain how to delete all messages on an iPhone.

iCloud


If you have ever backed up your iPhone to iCloud, you should be able to restore whichever messages were on your iPhone at the time of the backup.

Note that Apple changed things around and introduced Messages in iCloud a while ago. Enabling this in the Settings menu of your iPhone syncs messages across all your devices which use the same Apple ID. The downside to this is that deleted messages are wiped from all connected devices, and messages aren't a part of standard iCloud backups with the functionality enabled. 

Even if you're lucky enough to not have the functionality enabled, the only way to restore messages via an iCloud is to completely erase your iPhone and restore it from an iCloud backup. Just be sure to restore from a backup from before the text messages were deleted!

Check Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud > Manage Storage > Backups to see which backups you have available.

If you find the backup you need, you'll need to factory reset your iPhone before restoring via iCloud backup. To reset your iPhone, head to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. 

Note that anything on your iPhone added after the backup date will be deleted, so make backups of any data you don't want to lose. 

iTunes/Finder


If iCloud didn't work, there are two further options to try. First, you can try recovering deleted text messages via an iTunes (or Finder in macOS Catalina) backup. This can often be the best way.

Unless you disabled the automatic sync option in iTunes, your iPhone should be backed up every time you've synced with your PC or Mac.

  • Connect your iPhone to the PC or Mac you sync with.
  • iTunes (or Finder in macOS Catalina and later) should open - open it yourself if this doesn't happen.
  • You should see your iPhone appear in the top-left. Click it.
  • Now click 'Restore backup'.
  • All the data you previously backed up will now replace the data on your phone. It will take a few minutes. As long as you haven't backed up subsequent to deleting those messages, they should reappear on your phone.

Third-Party App


If neither of the options above has worked, it is time to go nuclear. Well, not literally, but it may cost you a couple of quid, and there's no guarantee it'll work.

We've not used these personally, but a there are some third-party apps appear to have a good online reputation: PhoneRescue by iMobie, Enigma Recovery, WonderShare Dr.Fone for iOS, iMyFone D-Back Data Recovery and Tenorshare iPhone Data Recovery.

These apps work without a backup because even after you have 'deleted' messages, they remain in compressed form on your iPhone until overwritten. That means you may be able to recover deleted messages using these utilities (and others) - but there are no guarantees.