Recover Deleted Text Messages on iPhone

You probably know how easy it is to accidentally erase an important text from your iPhone. But how do you get it back then? How often did you find yourself searching for a specific text message with a confirmation code, a tracking number or even a password? Did I delete it right away? Was it in that thread? Did I just delete the whole thread?

Text Messages on iPhone
Recover Deleted Text Messages on iPhone

Many believe their text messages are safe and secure for good and even if they were erased by them there's a magical place somewhere they are stored. May it be your provider keeping a copy of them? For a text message (SMS), that is not the case. Once you delete it, it's pretty much gone. The good news is – it's recoverable. And we will provide you with the instructions on one of the most efficient ways to recover deleted text messages on iPhone with Disk Drill.

Why Are Messages Disappearing on iPhone?

All my text messages disappeared all of a sudden. Four people have texted me since and in search I can find the text of their old messages but cannot open them but no other contacts messages.

— Source: Apple Communities

Desperate cries for help like the one above are, unfortunately, not as rare as they should be. Indeed, there are many iPhone users whose messages have suddenly disappeared from their devices, often leading to the loss of important information.

But why? What can cause messages to suddenly disappear? Let’s take a look at several possible causes:

Message retention settings

Message retention settings

The Messages app can be configured to keep messages for 30 days, 1 year, or forever. Messages older than the set age are automatically deleted.

Update gone wrong

Update gone wrong

A faulty iOS update can cause all kinds of unexpected behavior, including causing messages to disappear.

User error

User error

We all make mistakes, and sometimes we’re not even aware of making them. You wouldn’t be the first person in the world to wake up after a night of drinking with your messages deleted and your memories of the night before cloudy.

iOS malware

iOS malware

iPhone users don’t have to worry about malware too much, but that doesn’t mean they can be completely careless either. Cybercriminals are constantly coming up with more capable malware, so don’t assume that your messages are 100% safe.



When you jailbreak your iPhone, you allow apps to run with root privileges, meaning they can do just about anything, even delete your messages.

Storage corruption

Storage corruption

iPhones come with flash-based memory chips. Such chips are very durable and last a long time, but they can certainly fail or become corrupted just like any other storage device.


As you can see, there are quite a few reasons for messages to disappear suddenly, which only highlights the importance of iPhone backups.

Steps to Recover Deleted Text Messages on iPhone with Data Recovery Software

1. Download and Install Disk Drill

Start by downloading Disk Drill from its official website. Once downloaded, install it just like you would normally. Disk Drill is compatible with all recent versions of macOS, and it runs even on Macs with Apple silicon processors.

Download and Install Disk Drill

2. Connect Your iPhone and Launch Disk Drill

Next, you need to connect your iPhone to your Mac and tap Trust on your phone when asked if you want to trust your Mac. You can then launch Disk Drill and go through the initial setup to configure basic settings and give Disk Drill the permissions it needs to scan your device and recover text messages.

Connect Your iPhone and Launch Disk Drill

3. Scan Your iPhone

To undelete lost text messages, you need to first select the iPhones & iPads category from the left pane and then choose your iPhone. Before you click the Search for lost data button to recover deleted text messages from your iPhone, you should close all apps (including iTunes) that are accessing your device.

Scan Your iPhone

4. Review Found Text Messages

Wait for Disk Drill to finish scanning your iPhone. You can then filter the search results by choosing the Messages filter in the left pane. This will allow you to easily review all recoverable text messages before retrieving them back

Review Found Text Messages

5. Recover Selected Text Messages

Finally, select all text messages you want to recover and click the Recover button to bring them back. You can also click the Show in Finder button to mount selected files as a disk, allowing you to retrieve them using Finder.

Recover Selected Text Messages

Trying to Recover Messages with Attachments or Appointments?

Incoming text messages may include all kinds of attachments, such as photos and appointments. When opened, attachments are sometimes processed and stored by other apps, such as Photos and Calendar. If your main goal is to recover attachments—not text messages themselves—then you should also explore all the different places where they may be stored.

How to Protect Your iPhone Text Messages

Ways to Recover Deleted Text Messages on iPhone without Software (iOS 15 Update)

Disk Drill is highly effective when it comes to restoring deleted text messages from iOS devices, but it’s not the only way how to retrieve deleted text messages on iPhone. Let’s take a look at several other methods that you can use without installing any third-party software.

Method 1

Get Deleted Messages Back on iPhone from iCloud

Do you back up your iPhone to iCloud, Apple’s cloud storage service? If you do, then you’re in luck because you can retrieve them without much effort. Just know that you’ll have to temporary erase all content and settings before restoring everything back from a backup. If this makes you anxious, feel free to come back to this method later:

  1. Open the Settings app and go to General. Scroll all the way down and tap Reset.
  2. Select the Erase All Content and Settings option.
  3. Confirm your decision to erase your iPhone.
  4. Go through the initial setup process until you come to the Apps & Data screen.
  5. There, select the Restore from iCloud Backup option.
  6. Sign in to iCloud and choose the most recent backup that contains your text messages.
Get Deleted Messages Back on iPhone from iCloud
Method 2

Recover Your Text Messages from a Finder/iTunes Backup

If you’ve recently backed up your iPhone using Finder or iTunes, then you can easily use your local backup to get deleted messages back on your iPhone. Here’s what you need to do if you’re running macOS Catalina or newer:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac.
  2. Launch Finder and choose your iPhone.
  3. Click the Restore Backup option in the General tab.
  4. Select the most recent backup that contains the lost or accidentally deleted text messages.
  5. Click Restore.

If you’re running a version of macOS that’s older than macOS Catalina, then you need to use iTunes to recover your text messages from a backup. The recovery process itself is basically the same, however. The biggest difference is that the Restore Backup button is located in the Summary tab.

Recover Your Text Messages from a Finder or iTunes Backup
Method 3

Look for Your Text Messages on Other Apple Devices

It’s possible to set up any iPhone running a recent version of iOS (newer than iOS 8.1) to let you receive and send SMS and MMS text messages on your Mac. If you’ve done so already, retrieving them is a matter of opening the Messages app:

  1. Launch Finder.
  2. Go to Applications.
  3. Double-click the Messages app.

Alternatively, you can look for your text messages on other iOS devices that are connected to the same iCloud account as your iPhone.

Look for Your Text Messages on Other Apple Devices
Method 4

Retrieve Text Messages from Your Phone Carrier

Some phone carriers let their customers back up all sent and received text messages to their online accounts. This recovery method is particularly useful because it doesn’t depend on iOS at all, which means that you can use it even if all you have is an older Android smartphone. To find out if your phone carrier lets you undelete text messages, we recommend you contact its customer support number and ask directly. That’s the fastest way how to find out if their recovery is possible.

Retrieve Text Messages from Your Phone Carrier
Method 5

Use Professional Data Recovery Service

If you can’t access your text messages because your iPhone has been physically damaged, then we recommend you don’t attempt to repair the damage at home. Instead, you should send your iPhone to a professional data recovery center and let well-equipped professionals retrieve your data for you. Here’s how most data recovery centers operate:

  1. You initiate your work order
  2. The data recovery center provides you with a shipping label.
  3. You pack and ship your media.
  4. A data recovery professional sends you a price quote.
  5. You approve the price quote and wait for your data to be recovered.
Use Professional Data Recovery Service

Ask the Sender to Resend Important Messages

If everything else fails, then you can always ask the sender (or senders) whose messages you have lost to send them again.

To resent a message on an iPhone:

  1. Launch the Messages app and go through the message thread that contains the messages you want to resend.
  2. Tap and hold any message.
  3. Select the More option at the bottom.
  4. Checkmark the circle for the message you want resend.
  5. Tap the Forward icon in the bottom-right corner.
  6. Choose the recipient.
  7. Hit the Send button.

By following these instructions, the sender should be able to resend any message to you with ease.

Ask the Sender to Resend Important Messages

Scan iPhone. Retrieve your deleted text messages.

Disk Drill implements several iPhone recovery algorithms and actually Deep Scan is not of them. However, it does help with plenty of other data recovery scenarios. It's good to know that Disk Drill does provide you with a choice of data recovery methods in case one of them doesn't produce the anticipated result.

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated on by Disk Drill Team

Can you get back deleted text messages on iPhone?

Yes, it’s possible to get back text messages that were deleted from your iPhone—you just need to use the right recovery technique. Text messages are stored in the CSV file format, which can be recovered using readily available data recovery software applications and opened just like any other plain text file.

How do I retrieve erased text messages on iPhone?

You can retrieve erased text messages that were stored on your iPhone using data recovery software like Disk Drill:

  1. Download and install Disk Drill.
  2. Connect your iPhone to your Mac.
  3. Launch Disk Drill and scan your iPhone.
  4. Look for files in the “Chats” category.
  5. Preview found files and recover your text messages.

Can you recover deleted texts on iPhone without backup?

Yes, you can recover deleted text messages even if you don’t have a backup. However, you will be able to do so only until they become overwritten with new data. Since you can never know when that will happen, it’s a good idea to begin their recovery as soon as possible.

How do you find hidden text messages on iPhone?

Whenever you receive a text message from an unknown number, the Messages app hides it in the Unknown Senders tab. Here’s how you can find hidden text messages:

  1. Launch the Messages app.
  2. Switch to the Unknown Senders tab.
  3. Open hidden text messages.

You can change this behavior by going to Settings > Messages and turning off/on the Filter Unknown Senders option.

Can Disk Drill recover deleted text messages iPhone?

Yes, Disk Drill can be used to recover deleted text messages from any iPhone. In fact, Disk Drill makes this incredibly easy thanks to its intuitive user interface and powerful data recovery algorithms.

Recover deleted text messages on iPhone!

Do not know how to recover deleted text messages on Android? Disk Drill will help.

Learn more on data recovery

How do I recover lost files?

Samanta J Samanta J
My impressions after using this app are only positive. The interface is intuitive, the recovery capabilities are rather powerful as my deleted videos were restored quickly.
Read more
It's very easy to use and is an excellent final option if you feel like you've lost your data for good. Disk Drill for Mac is a valuable tool to recover lost files...
Read more
Used by world famous companies