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Can I recover deleted text messages that I’ve erased from my iPhone?

We often have iPhone users write to us asking if there is a way to recover deleted text messages or iMessages from their iPhone or iPad. The answer is “it depends on what data is left over in your Messages database!” There are only two ways to recover deleted messages:

  1. If you have previously backed up your iPhone or iPad and, those deleted text messages that you erased are in the backup.
  2. If the deleted messages are still in the Messages app data on your iPhone now. iPhone text messages are not purged immediately when you erase them! In this case, we can take a new backup and look for the deleted text messages.

Is there a way to recover deleted text messages directly from the iPhone without using the backup?

Unfortunately this is not possible. Apple prevents all iPhone users worldwide from recovering deleted iMessages or text messages directly from the iPhone or iPad. Also, beware of any third-party companies that claim they can recover deleted messages directly off your phone since most of them will simply be reading from the local iPhone backup on your computer.

I see my deleted messages in the Spotlight cache on my computer! How can I access them?

You definitely can preview deleted text messages summaries by looking in the spotlight cache. The spotlight cache is not part of your iPhone backup, so it’s not available for recovering messages. Some iPhone users report being able to access the Spotlight cache data after jailbreaking their iPhone or iPad, however, we recommend against do this for two main reasons:

  1. Jailbreaking your iPhone will invalidate your Apple warranty.
  2. When you jailbreak your device it immediately makes the iPhone more susceptible to malware.

What’s the best method to see if my deleted iPhone text messages are recoverable?

The free trial of Decipher TextMessage will quickly show you if you have any deleted text messages or deleted iMessages that are recoverable. This is all within the trial version of the program and you don’t need to purchase the full version of the software in order to look and see if deleted messages are contained in your backup.

Steps to recover deleted iPhone text messages:

  1. Install Decipher TextMessage.
  2. Select your iPhone in the left-hand column of the program
  3. Click “recover” in the menu.

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When you click “recover” in the menu of Decipher TextMessage, you will immediately see all deleted messages and data that are in your iPhone backups. If you want to save the messages to your computer you can upgrade to the paid version of the program. This will enable you to copy the recovered text messages in text format to your Mac or Windows computer. There is no way to place recovered text messages back on to your iPhone into the messages app since Apple prevents this. The recovery window also gives you the ability to search the entire recovered text message history for keywords, contacts, or phone numbers.

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More information on retrieving deleted iPhone text messages

If you would like to dive deeper and learn more about recovering iPhone text messages that you deleted, we have another blog on text message recovery which you might find helpful!

Also, you can download the free trial of Decipher TexMessage here to get started searching for your deleted text messages and iMessages. Questions about deleted text message recovery for iPhone or iPad? Drop us a support email via our Decipher Tools website and we’ll get back to you. We’re based in San Francisco and Phoenix USA and we reply to everyone.

Written by: Jay W.
Updated on January 20, 2017

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