Can I retrieve delete text messages directly from my iPhone?

April 18, 2014
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I’m very tech savvy. I deleted some text messages I need which had job contacts, but the software to retrieve them is complicated. Can I just do it from my iPhone?

  1. Flipper1991
    May 12, 2014 at 7:51 am

    See this article : http://www.wikihow.com/Retrieve-Deleted-Text-Messages-from-an-iPhone

    [Ed. note: Be aware that the third-party software recommended in the linked post is NOT recommended by MakeUseOf.]

  2. Kelly W
    April 29, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    I'm sorry to hear about your unfortunate deletion! You do have some options:

    1) Depending on how much of the info you need, you may be able to use the phone search to search the Spotlight Cache on the phone. Swipe to the left on the home screen and enter some text that you remember from the messages. If what you need is in the search preview, you're in luck!

    2) Many of these answers say to restore your phone to the last known backup with the messages, which will work, but is a bit heavy-handed (and will lose your info since that backup.) If you do this, you might want to make a separate backup of your iPhone so you can "fast-forward" after doing the restore to the older backup. iTunes only keeps ONE backup by default, so you'll need to go into your backup files and "hide" your older iTunes backup so you don't erase it when making the new one. (If you want instructions on this, send us an email via our help page: http://deciphertools.com/support.html and I will send you how to hide the iTunes backups.)

    3) You can use third-party software to help you do the recovery. I'm one of the developers for Decipher TextMessage - http://deciphertools.com - I'm sorry to hear that you think the recovery software options are too complicated! Our program should scan the iTunes backup location automatically and show you the data available in your current backups. If the messages were already deleted in those backups, you can press the recover button to scan for deleted messages. It'll popup a page for you to search and sort the deleted messages and help you narrow down to the info you need.

    Another note: Is it the phone number the text is from that you need? If so, again, send me a note via the support page I linked above. There is a different way to search for phone numbers like that.

    Hope this all helps!

  3. Tim B
    April 24, 2014 at 12:44 am

    It might be worth checking they're definitely deleted, as much of your iPhone's message history is retained even when you think it isn't. If you only deleted the conversation, rather than individual messages, you should compose a new message to the same person (same number/email/group of contacts) and see if the message history is retrieved for you (it often is).

    This tends to work better with iMessage (blue messages) than SMS, though it's worth a try.

  4. Rahul K
    April 21, 2014 at 7:41 am

    Method 1:- Retrieve deleted texts on iPhone: from iTunes backup

    This works only if you automatically back up text messages.

    1. Connect your iPhone to the PC with which you sync it. iTunes should open (if not, open it manually).

    2. You should see your iPhone in a box, top righthand corner. Select it.

    3. Now choose 'Restore backup'.

    4. 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 text messages, they should now appear on your phone handset.

    Method 2:- Retrieve deleted texts on iPhone: from iCloud backup

    1. Login to https://icloud.com with your Apple ID and password

    2. Click on Text Messages (if it isn't there your messages haven't been backed up).

    3. If it is there searched the messages to find the ones you need.

    4. Now go to your iPhone and choose Settings, iCloud on your iPhone.

    5. Turn off Text Messages (or ensure it is turned off). I know this sounds counter intuitive but stay with it.

    6. You'll see a pop-up. Select: 'Keep on My iPhone'.

    7. Now turn back on text messages.

    8. Tap 'Merge', and wait. After a few minutes the deleted text messages should appear back on your iPhone.

    Method 3:- Retrieve deleted texts on iPhone: use a third-party app

    A couple of third-party apps appear to have a good online reputation: WonderShare Dr.Fone for iOS and Tenorshare iPhone Data Recovery. Because even after you have 'deleted' messages they remain on your handset until overwritten, you should be able to recover deleted messages using these utilities (and others) - but there are no guarantees.

    Hope this helps!

  5. Shirley
    April 21, 2014 at 6:30 am

    If you have a previous backup of iPhone saved with iTunes, you can retrieve your iPhone messages or pictures via iTunes backup in 4 steps only:

    1. Disable automatic syncing in iTunes
    2. Connect your iPhone to computer
    3. Restore the iPhone from a backup
    4. Allow the content to download onto your iPhone

    If you don't have any backup of iPhone, I'm afraid you have to refer to 3rd party data recovery program to get back the lost data from iPhone by extracting the backup stored by iTunes in unreadable format. However, I just think purchasing expensive data recovery software like that is a last resort method. Besides, you'd better give it a try to make sure it's a trusted program before diving in.

  6. Hovsep A
    April 18, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    if you have itunes backup then perhaps you can retrieve from there. but first Disable automatic syncing in iTunes then Connect your iPhone to your computer then Restore

    if you have icloud backup then perhaps you can recover from there also.

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