How to Retrieve Deleted Text Messages on iPhone

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Did you lose your text messages and are now wondering how to get deleted messages back on iPhone? You are at the right place. Text messages contain crucial information and conversations that we like to refer to when needed.

When you accidentally delete them or lose the text messages for some reason, you do not have to fret at all because by the time you are through reading this guide, you will be more than equipped to retrieve them back to your iPhone.

In learning how to retrieve deleted text messages on iPhone, there are generally two scenarios you deal with – how to get deleted messages back on iPhone with a backup and how to recover deleted messages on iPhone without a backup. There are official and unofficial methods to retrieve deleted text messages from a backup, but it’s a whole different ball game if you do not have a backup.

To retrieve deleted text messages without a backup, you need an iPhone text recovery software, such as Tenorshare UltData. So, that’s the first solution we will treat in this guide.

Method 1. Best Way to Retrieve Deleted Text Messages from iPhone without a Backup

It is essential to back up your iPhone Apps and data while using it in case you lose them, but the solution we will begin with requires no backup. Tenorshare UltData is a computer iPhone text messages software that recovers deleted text messages directly from your iPhone, even without a backup. Here’s how it’s possible – when you delete data from your iPhone, it does not get wiped at once. Instead, the piece of data is hidden but still located in your device storage.

>> Get Tenorshare UltData <<

However, when you save further files or data on the iPhone, the hidden data will eventually get overwritten. While the power to retrieve deleted text messages from your iPhone is massively important, UltData is also one of the few iPhone data recovery solutions that are user-friendly, fast, efficient, and safe for your data. It works on all iPhone models and supports all iOS versions. Below are some essential features of Tenorshare UltData. Or you can read our full review of UltData.

Key Features:

  • With Tenorshare UltData, your information is secure, as the application does not overwrite the existing files.
  • You can recover any text from your iPhone without having a previously made backup.
  • UltData has features for repairing your iOS system issues.
  • Also, for most iPhones, you are not at risk of losing any data or your device getting wiped.
  • It restores all your deleted text messages, and you can also recover lost music, WhatsApp, LINE, and other social messages, videos, documents, pictures, and so on. UltData recovers all file formats.
  • Did you mistakenly delete the text messages, lost them to a factory reset or jailbreaking, or did your iPhone crash? No matter how you lost the data, Tenorshare UltData will recover it all.
  • Tenorshare UltData is compatible with all iPhone models, from the iPhone 4 to iPhone 11 series. It also recovers from all iPads, and iPod Touch.

Steps to retrieve deleted text messages on iPhone using Tenorshare UltData:

Step 1. Connect your iPhone and start UltData

You begin the troubleshooting by connecting the iPhone to your computer with a reliable USB cable. Next, launch Tenorshare UltData and click on “Recover from iOS Device.”

open tenorshare iphone text recovery and connect the iphone

Once selecting the option, UltData starts to detect information about the connected iPhone. Remember to unlock the passcode of the iPhone and “Trust” your computer from the iPhone screen.

Trust the iphone after connecting to tenorshare iphone text message recovery

If Tenorshare UltData fails to detect your connected iPhone even after unlocking and trusting it, the application shows you some troubleshooting steps to take, as shown on the screenshot below.

UltData advises that you eject the USB cable and try again on a different USB port; on desktop be sure to plug it at the back of your system unit. It also suggests using a different cable.

troubleshooting tips for when tenorshare iphone text recovery does not detect your device

If, during the process of recovering your deleted text messages, you notice that your iPhone is frozen, select the “Fix iOS to Normal” button to do this.

Lastly, sometimes, your iPhone may get stuck on Recovery Mode. To resolve this issue, simply click on the “Exit Recovery Mode” button on the UltData screen.

click exit recovery mode in your iphone is stuck on this mode

Step 2. Scan the iPhone for recoverable data

After Tenorshare UltData successfully detects your connected iPhone, it shows you a screen listing all the file types it can recover. From this window, select the file formats that you wish to restore. In this case, we will check “Messages & Attachments.”

After checking the box for iPhone text message recovery and any other file type you what to recover, proceed to scan your device for the deleted text messages. Do this by clicking the “Start Scan” button at the bottom of your screen.

choose what file types such as text messages you wish to recover

Step 3. Preview the found files and recover them

The scanning operation does not take too much time; you can wait for only a few minutes. If the scan is successful (as expected), you should now see the files that UltData found in the course of the previous scan.

Before recovering these files, I advise that you preview them to be sure of what you are getting. Simply double-click on the individual files to preview them. Next, mark the text messages that you want to recover and then click “Recover” on the bottom right-hand corner of your screen.

page showing recoverable text messages found during ultdata's scan

An exciting feature of Tenorshare UltData is that it allows you to print out the recovered text messages. For this, connect a printer and click on “Print” at the top-right menu. You can also print out recovered contacts, notes, and more from your iPhone using UltData.

Step 4. Retrieve your deleted text messages

Tenorshare UltData gives you options of either recovering the deleted text messages to your computer or straight to your iPhone. The latter option works for text messages, contacts, and notes.

the two options ultdata provides for recovering deleted text messages from iphone

Adjust Output Settings:

On the preview page, you might have noticed the “Quick Settings” icon. This is where we configure the data recovery process. Before recovering the text messages, open this option. All the settings here are okay in their default values; all you need to do here is select the destination folder by clicking “Browse.” Ensure that the destination location you choose is different from the location on which the files were saved.

select the location to save the recovered text messages on iphone

Method 2. Best Way to Recover Deleted Text Messages from iPhone with iTunes Backup

If you deleted your SMS messages by mistake, iTunes presents a way to recover them. A prerequisite to this solution is that you must have made an iTunes backup previously, and the more recent the backup, the better.

>> Get Tenorshare UltData <<

For this method, we will also make use of Tenorshare UltData, but here, we will use a different operating mode called the “Recover from iTunes Backup File” mode. Read the steps below to learn how to get deleted messages back on iPhone using iTunes backup.

Step 1. Choose the “iTunes Backup Recovery” mode and choose the iTunes backup

In the first method, we made use of the rather general “Recover from iOS device” mode. Here, we will be more specific and tell UltData what kind of data you wish to recover.
Select the “Recover from iTunes Backup” mode, and you will see all the various iTunes backups available on your computer. Choose the relevant backup file and click “Start Scan.”

select an itunes backup and click start scan on ultdata text recovery


1. UltData displays only the iTunes backup files that are located in the default directory. So, if your backup file is not showing on this screen, click “Import Now,” locate your preferred backup file and import it to UltData.

importing an itunes backup file into tenorshare text messages recovery software

2. For Windows OS users, if you delete an iTunes backup file but later realize that it holds valuable information, you can get it back. All you have to do is click on the “Go get back deleted iTunes backup” button below the screen content. Specify a directory and hit “Start Scan” to find your backup.

retrieving deleted itunes backups using tenorshare ultdata

You may have to wait for a couple of minutes for the scan to complete. After that time, you will now start to see the imported backup file into Tenorshare UltData. To recover from any backup file, click “Recover” on the Scan completed screen.

Step 2. Preview the files found

On successfully completing the scanning, all the items that were found will be shown to you on the next screen. The data are categorized from the menu options. This page also shows you the existing files on the location.

Although UltData distinguishes the files with colors, you can opt to see only the deleted items. To sort out the files to only show deleted files, click “Show Only Deleted.”

tenorshare ultdata - successfully show you the recoverable items following the scan

Step 3. Preview and recover deleted data

The page where you see the recoverable files is also where the recovery happens. First, you may want to preview the items before performing the recovery. Double-click on the file to take a look at it before you go on to recover.

Further, after previewing the files, you should select the file format and location in which you want to save the recovered items. To access the “Output Settings,” click the corresponding output settings icon.

output settings for recovering messages using ultdata

Tenorshare UltData offers you two options for saving the recovered data – Recover to Computer or Recover to Device. With your iPhone connected to the computer, you can use either of these methods. Not only can you restore deleted text messages to your iPhone, you can also recover other files, such as contacts, iPhone messaging applications, notes, etc.

recover to your computer or recover to phone

When you are satisfied with all the settings, click on the individual items to mark the files that you wish to retrieve and hit the “Recover” button at the bottom of the page.

click recover to get you deleted text messages on iphone

Method 3. Best Way to Recover Deleted Text Messages from iPhone with iCloud Backup

Still making use of Tenorshare UltData, we will use a different mode to retrieve these text messages. Another recovery mode that Tenorshare UltData offers is restoring deleted data from iCloud backup.

>> Get Tenorshare UltData <<

Like iTunes, you can back up your iPhone data to iCloud, and better still, iCloud backups are usually automatic. This means that you probably have the backups, even if you do not remember initiating it. Let’s go right in to show you how to retrieve deleted text messages on iPhone using an iCloud backup.

Step 1. Choose a recovery mode and log in to iCloud

Like the first two methods, we begin by launching Tenorshare UltData and selecting the recovery mode. For retrieving the deleted text messages from the iCloud backup, we will use the “Recover from iCloud Backup File” mode. So, click on this option and then sign in to iCloud using your Apple ID credentials.

sign in to icloud and select the icloud backup recovery mode

Step 2. Choose an iCloud backup file

If your Apple ID and password are correct, you will land in a screen showing all your iCloud backups. From this list, select the most recent backup file. You can confirm their recency by viewing the details, as UltData shows the date, size, and versions of the backups. After selecting the backup, click the “Next” button to continue.

select the most recent icloud backup to get your text messages

Step 3. Select the file formats for recovery

The screen that follows is where you get to choose the types of files that you want Tenorshare UltData to recover. Since you are looking to retrieve deleted text messages, you can check “Messages & Attachments” under “Message & Call log.” After you select this, click on the “Next” button below, and UltData will begin to download your selected iCloud backup.

select the types of files such as text that you want ultdata to recover

Step 4. Download the files off iCloud

Tenorshare UltData now begins to download your data from iCloud. Depending on your internet speed, and the size of your backup file, the download may take some time, so, be patient.
When the download is finished successfully, it triggers the program to start scanning the downloaded file for the file types you selected in the previous step. After this process is done, UltData lists all the recoverable files that match your chosen file types.

tenorshare ultdata icloud backup download the backup files from icloud

Step 5. Preview the recoverable data from your iCloud backup

The recoverable items on the list can be previewed first before you proceed to retrieve them. To preview a file from this list, double-click on it. Note that what you see on your screen are both the recoverable items and already existing files.

To view only the recoverable data, click “Show Only Deleted.” After you confirm the files that you want to restore, proceed by clicking the “Recover” button below. However, before hitting that button, check out Step 6 for additional settings and an easier way to restore the text messages to your iPhone.

recoverable items listed for you to preview

Step 6. Select the files that you want to recover

After previewing the items, you should now be sure of which and which you will recover. To tell Tenorshare UltData the directory in which it should save your data, click on “Output Setting.”

The output settings page lets you select output formats for various file types, and it also allows you to set an export location. Simply click on the “Browse” button, choose the directory you wish to save the recovered files in and hit “Save.”

select the text messages for recovery from icloud

In this guide on how to retrieve deleted text messages on iPhone using iCloud backup, we are interested in text messages. For lost text messages, contacts, and notes, you have two recovery options. Tenorshare UltData can recover the data to your computer or directly to your iPhone if connected.

If you want UltData to recover the text messages to your iPhone, select the “Recover to Device” mode and connect the device to your computer using a USB cable. Otherwise, if you only wish that the text messages be saved to your computer, click “Recover to Computer” and don’t bother connecting your iPhone.

recover the lost text messages to your iphone or recover them to your computer

Method 4. Official Way to Restore Deleted Text Messages from iPhone with iTunes

Another way to restore deleted text messages from your iTunes backup is by using the iTunes software itself. This is the official way, as it involves no non-Apple software. However, unlike when we made use of Tenorshare UltData, you cannot pick and choose the types of files you want to restore.

Here, you have to restore everything contained in the backup. Also, all of the existing data on your iPhone will get deleted and replaced with data from the backup. If you are okay with these terms, then follow the guide below on how to recover deleted messages on iPhone using iTunes.

Note that for this method to work, you should disable Find My iPhone on your device.

Step 1. Connect your iPhone to the computer that has iTunes installed, and then click on the icon depicting your iPhone, as you can see on the screenshot below.

connect iphone and click on the iphone icon in itunes

Step 2. When you click on the iPhone icon, it opens up stuff contained on the connected device. Next, navigate to the “Summary” tab on the left panel and then select “Restore Backup.”

go to summary and click restore backup in itunes

Step 3. Now, on the popup you will get, click on the dropdown menu and choose a backup to restore as instructed in the popup.

select an itunes backup to restore in itunes

Step 4. Finally, you need to authorize iTunes to proceed with the restoration process. After selecting the backup to restore, you will get a prompt warning you that the operation will erase your iPhone and return it to factory settings. Click “Restore” to authorize the operation and recover all your data from the iTunes backup.

Method 5. Official Way to Restore Deleted Text Messages from iPhone with iCloud

In Method 3, we showed you how to recover deleted messages on iPhone from iCloud. However, although that was a simpler and more preferable method, it’s not the official solution. In this section, we will recover the lost text messages on iPhone directly from iCloud, which is the technique that Apple recommends.

Like the last method we discussed, restoring from iCloud using the official way will not only get you back your text messages but every single data contained in the backup. Also, it will replace your existing data with the new ones from the backup.

Step 1. Turn on your iPhone and open the Settings app. Under where you see your name, tap the arrow beside “Apple ID, iCloud, iTunes & App Store.

tap the selected area to proceed with recovering icloud data

Step 2. Next, tap on the “iCloud” menu to open it, and then find and select “iCloud Backup.”

tap icloud now

select icloud backup from the icloud menu

Step 3. Next, confirm that the backup was created before you lost the text messages that you want to restore.

check the time of your last backup in icloud

If the time the backup was made is before the time you lost your text messages, then follow the steps below. You will have to erase the device and then restore it using this backup which predates the time you lost the text messages.

Step 4. Open the Settings app once again and tap on “General.”

open settings and select general

Step 5. From the general settings, tap on “Reset.” Next, select “Erase All Content and Settings.” This option will wipe your files, media, apps, etc. But your app settings may be recoverable the first time you launch the app, thanks to your iCloud backup.

tap reset and select erase all content and settings

Step 6. The iPhone will now warn you that you “may lose photos and other data that are not yet uploaded to iCloud.” Next, authorize the operation by tapping “Erase Now.”

from the warning, tap erase now to authorize the operation

After a few seconds, your iPhone will be wiped and restart with the setup screen like a new iPhone. Follow through with the set up until you arrive at the Apps & Data screen. Then, follow the steps below:

Step 7. While you are still in the Apps & Data screen of the iPhone setup, tap on “Restore from iCloud Backup.”

Step 8. Next, type in your passwords from the iCloud backup and proceed to sign in to iCloud.

Step 9. After this, tap “Choose Backup” and select one from the list of your iCloud backups. Remember the one you saw at the beginning of this guide? You are better off selecting it, so long as it predates the deletion of your text messages, rather than going for an older one.

Step 10. Finally, after the restoration of your iCloud backup, sign in to all your accounts.


Judging by how easily you’ve learned how to retrieve deleted text messages on iPhone, you can see that losing your text messages is not that had. We have treated five methods of recovering deleted text messages on your iPhone. Tenorshare UltData features in three of these because of how robust and flexible the software is.

However, if you do not want to make use of a third-party application that is not developed by Apple, you have also learned how to get deleted messages back on iPhone directly from iCloud and iTunes backups.

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