How to recover deleted messages on iPhone

  • 2 min read
  • May 08, 2023
If you've accidentally deleted a message you'd rather keep, here's how to set things right.

iPhone 14 stood against a brick wall

We've all been there - doing a bit of a clean-up of our messages, deleting unwanted old threads and conversations, when you suddenly realise that you've deleted something you'd really rather keep.

If you're on an iPhone, the good news is that you're not stuck that way - there are a couple of things you can try that could help you retrieve these deleted messages. We've got all the details, right here.

How to recover deleted messages on iPhone

Just like with deleting photos, when you delete messages on an iPhone you actually have a grace period during which you can still access and restore them - this lasts for 30 days.

For that duration, the deleted messages actually go into a Trash folder, which they can be recovered from whenever you like. However, once they've been there for 30 days they will be permanently deleted.

To recover deleted messages from Trash, follow these steps.

  1. Open the Messages app
  2. Tap on Edit at the top left of the display
  3. Tap on Show Recently Deleted (which will only show if there are messages to recover)
  4. Select the message threads you would like to recover from the list
  5. Tap on Recover at the bottom right of the display and confirm your choice

That's it - you'll be able to see the message threads you've restored back in the main view of the app, slotted into the chronological view according to when the last message was sent or received.

If the above method doesn't work for you, it is most likely because you either deleted the messages more than 30 days ago, or deleted them permanently from the Trash section.

There's still one route open to you, though, if you've backed up your iPhone relatively regularly. If you check your backups and find that you have one from before you deleted the messages in question, you could roll back and install that backup.

This would retrieve the messages, although there would be a bunch of side effects since you'd likely be rolling your installation back quite far and would therefore lose data that you generated in between.

So, it's not exactly a simple solution if you're stuck without being able to restore your messages/