Once you delete SMS text messages from an iPhone, they are pretty much gone for all practical purposes. However, you can try to recover deleted text messages on your iPhone by using any of the methods discussed in this post.
Recover Deleted Text Messages On iPhone From iTunes
You should be able to recover deleted text messages from a recent backup on iTunes, in case you had set up your iPhone to automatically backup to your iTunes account or had made a recent manual backup of your iPhone to iTunes (before deleting the text messages).
1. First, turn off Find my iPhone by tapping on Settings > iCloud > Toggle OFF Find My iPhone (See image below)
Note: This step is required to prevent error messages from iTunes. Based on our experience, it is better to follow the steps below after turning off find my iPhone.
2. Connect your iPhone to the computer using a USB cable
3. Once iTunes recognizes your iPhone, you will see it as a phone icon at the top left hand corner of your screen (See image below)
4. Select your phone (click on the phone icon)
5. Under the section Backups click on the Restore Backup… button (See image below).
6. Now, select the backup that you want to restore from.
In this step you will have the opportunity to choose from the backup files saved to your iTunes account. Make sure that you pick a backup that likely contains the deleted text messages. There is no point in selecting a backup that was made after the text messages were deleted.
7. Once you select the backup file, all the data on your phone will be replaced by the data stored on the backup file.
8. Wait for the restore process to be completed.
You should be able to see the deleted text messages appearing in the normal messaging list on your iPhone, once the data on your iPhone is replaced by the data from iTunes backup file, containing deleted text messages.
Recover Deleted Text Messages on iPhone From iCloud
This is a far better method to restore lost text messages compared to iTunes. This method allows you to recover and backup only the text messages, instead of having to backup all your phone’s data.
However, iCloud does not backup SMS text messages in all territories. Hence, this method is only applicable to those who are able see the text messages in step#2 below.
1. Login to https://icloud.com with your Apple ID and password
2. Click on Text Messages in case you see them
Note: This method is not applicable to you in case you do not see text messages after logging in to your iCloud account. Follow the next steps only if you can see the text messages in step#2 above
3. Go through text messages and select the ones that you want to restore.
4. Now go to your iPhone and tap on Settings > iCloud.
5. Turn off Text Messages (in case they are set to ON).
6. You will now see a pop-up. Select: ‘Keep on My iPhone‘.
7. Once again Tap on Settings > iCloud and turn back the text messages to ON.
8. Next Tap ‘Merge‘, and wait for the deleted text messages to show up on your iPhone
Recover Deleted text Messages Directly From iPhone
Whenever you delete a file on your iPhone, iPad or iPod, the file is not actually deleted. iOS just marks this file as being available for being over-written, instead of deleting it immediately.
The marked file continues to live on your iPhone till it gets overwritten by new data.
There are certain third party apps that scan your iOS devices for deleted files and list all deleted files to you. You can then choose the files that you want to restore back to your iPhone.
Jihosoft iPhone Data Recovery is one such third party tool that can help you recover deleted or lost text messages directly from your iPhone and also from iTunes.
1. Connect your iPhone to a computer using a USB cable
2. Click on Start Scan button (See image below)
Jihosoft Data Recovery program will begin scanning your iOS device for lost data, including text messages.
3. Once the scan is complete, all your lost data will be displayed in the form of scan results.
4. Go through the files listed in the Scan results (You can easily preview them).
5. Finally, check the files you need and click “Recover“.
As you can see in the image above, Jihosoft can also recover data from iTunes backup, without the need to connect your iOS device to the computer. This is useful when you have a broken or damaged iPhone that cannot be connected to a computer.
Note: You should immediately stop using your iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch whenever you are faced with accidentally deleted files and lost data on your iPhone.
As mentioned above, deleted files continue to live on your iOS device till they eventually get over-written by new data. Hence, any operation on the device can generate new data, which may overwrite your lost data and decrease the chances of data recovery.