How to Recover Deleted Messages on iPhone

Have you ever deleted a message on iPhone and decided you want that deleted message back? If you have deleted messages that you want to retrieve, you will find that the latest versions of iOS and iPadOS make recovering deleted text messages on both iPhone and iPad super easy.

As long as the deleted messages are less than 30 days old, you can find them on iPhone or iPad to recover and read those deleted messages again. This works to recover all messages on iPhone no matter they are iMessages, text messages, media, photos, videos or other as long as the message is in Messages app on iPhone or iPad.

The approach shown here to retrieve deleted messages on iPhone and iPad is done entirely on the device. You don’t have to restore the device from a backup or use third-party software.

How to Recover Deleted Messages on iPhone and iPad

Recovering deleted messages directly on iPhone or iPad is super easy, here is all you need to do:

Open the Messages app. On the main conversations page, tap “Edit” in the corner

Tap on “Show recently deleted”

Find the message threads/conversations you want to retrieve, then tap “Recover”.

Tap to confirm that you want to restore the message(s).

Now if you go back to the primary message conversation screen, you will find that the deleted messages are available again in the message threads list. When you delete a specific message from a thread, it appears throughout the thread where it was before you deleted it.

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The only real requirement to be able to recover deleted messages this way is that the iPhone or iPad is running a modern version of the system software, versioned from iOS/iPadOS 16 or later. Earlier versions don’t have this feature, but they may be able to recover deleted messages by restoring from old backups if you have them available. This process is quite different from what is covered here, but it has some disadvantages, so we will cover it separately in another article.

We’re demonstrating this on an iPhone, but it works the same on the iPad.

This is very useful if you accidentally deleted a message or perhaps deleted a text from an emotional reaction and after cooling down decided you wanted it back. It can also be useful for digital forensics, whether you’re collecting evidence or just need a record of the deleted messages.

Keep in mind that you have 30 days after a message is deleted to be able to recover it, although Apple mentions you can have up to 40 days from the date the message was originally deleted.

Note that you cannot use this feature to recover unsent messages as they are not technically deleted.

Are you using the Recover Deleted Text Messages feature in Messages for iPhone or iPad? Do you have a different approach to retrieve recently deleted messages on your iOS or iPadOS device? Tell us about your experience in the comments.