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Recover Deleted Messages on an iPhone

As a good housekeeper you've deleted all your old text messages, and then realised that you do in fact need some or all of your old messages. Fear not: you can recover deleted text messages from your iPhone.

Indeed, it's possible you can do so without having recourse to anything more difficult than restoring from a backup. And, at worst, you may be able to get back those messages using a third-party app. Here are three ways to restore deleted SMS messages on an iPhone.

Restore from iCloud

If you have ever backed up your iPhone to iCloud or iTunes you should be able to restore your iPhone text messages from the backup. In fact, unless you disabled the automatic sync option in iTunes, you should have created a backup every time you synched with your PC or Mac.

Recover Delete Messages

Unfortunately, iCloud doesn't back up SMS in all territories, and for all phone operators. The following may not work (which is a shame because this is the best backup you can have for your SMS messages).

  • Log into icloud.com with your Apple ID.
  • Click on Text Messages (if it isn't there then your messages haven't been backed up).
  • Browse to find the messages you need.
  • On your iPhone choose Settings, iCloud.
  • Turn on Text Messages.
  • In the pop-up select: 'Keep on My iPhone'.
  • Now turn on Text Messages.
  • Tap Merge, and wait. After a few minutes the deleted texts should appear on your iPhone.

Restore from iTunes

Don't worry if the above didn't work. We have two further options to try. First, let's try recovering your SMS messages via an iTunes backup.

  • Connect your iPhone to the PC with which you sync it. iTunes should open.
  • You should see your iPhone in a box at the top righthand corner. Select it.
  • Choose Restore backup.

All the data you previously backed up will now replace the data on your phone. It will take a few minutes. Provided you haven't backed up the handset subsequent to deleting those text messages, they should now appear on your iPhone.

Restore from a third-party app

If neither of the options above has worked, it is time to try a third-party app. But be warned: this may cost you a couple of pounds, and it may not work.

Third-party apps work on the premise that even after you have 'deleted' your messages, they will remain on your iPhone until they are overwritten by new data.