Text messages can sometimes be difficult to track and often disappear under mysterious circumstances, including mistaken deletion, faulty iOS update, jailbreak failure, or other unfortunate circumstance. However, regardless of how they got lost, you can restore missing text messages on your iPhone, most of the time.
This is because your iPhone saves all your text message, MMS, and iMessage data to a SQLite database, an open source back-end utility built into all mobile phones (and most computers) and integrated into many popular applications. This function operates silently, automatically in the background.
When you delete a message, the space is transformed from allocated to unallocated, while the message data remains intact. Over time, new messages that come in will overwrite it. Before the new data overwrites the old data, you can still recover those messages. The first thing to do is stop sending messages until you get your lost messages back.
Depending on how you back up your iPhone, with iCloud or directly to your computer, there are several methods you can use to recover lost texts, even after a factory reset. Third-party applications can also help under certain conditions. We will walk you through the various ways to recover text messages using iOS 13 and 14, which are identical.
Restore texts from an iCloud backup
If you have iCloud backup enabled and your iPhone is backing up as scheduled, then the deleted texts should be available. The service backs up messages sent via iMessage, SMS, and MMS, but requires the same SIM card as when you backed up.
- To go Settings> Name> iCloud> iCloud Backup.
- Make sure iCloud Backup is enabled.
- Erase your iPhone by entering Settings> General> Reset.
- Choose Clear all content and settings.
- You will be asked if you want to restore your iPhone from an iCloud backup.
- Choose Restore from iCloud Backup.
Once your backup is restored, you should be able to access the text messages that were on your phone when you first backed up.
Restore texts from your Mac (with MacOS 10.15 Catalina)
If you back up to your computer, you may already have a number of backups saved. To get started, first disable Find my iphone on your phone. Tap Settings> Your name> Find my> Find my iPhone and turn off the switch. (Be prepared to type your Apple ID password so that it turns off Find My iPhone.) Now do the following.
- Connect your phone to your computer via USB.
- Open Finder by double clicking on your HDD icon.
- Under the Locations sidebar, find your iPhone and click on it.
- Click Manage backups to see all your saved backups and choose which one to restore your messages. The backup must be older than the date you deleted the messages.
- Click Restore iphone.
Consult your service provider
If that fails, contact your ISP’s customer service or technical support department. It is possible, but not guaranteed, that your provider has stored a backup of messages sent and received from your phone that have not yet been overwritten. If so, you can probably access them. Test your ISP before resorting to a third-party application.
Restore texts with a third-party application
As a last resort, you can try various reputable third-party applications that allow you to recover lost text messages from your iPhone. Just connect your iPhone to your computer, launch the app, and follow the onscreen instructions. These apps tend to work in a similar way and can recover many types of files, from text messages to call history. Here are a few that we’ve found that can help you handle this task.
PhoneRescue can recover messages and many other types of files, such as contacts, call history, message attachments, voicemail, calendar, reminders, notes, and more. It allows you to recover data from your iCloud account, as well as from Finder and device backups. The application also has a number of repair tools that allow you to recover data from your device if it fails. A one-year subscription costs $ 50.
This recovery tool is compatible with the latest iOS devices and you can install the program on Mac and Windows computers. The software makes it easy to recover lost text messages as well as photos, videos, and even data from third-party applications like WhatsApp. Licenses are available for $ 60 per user per year.
Tenorshare recovers messages and media covering dozens of file types, including WhatsApp, SMS, contacts, and photos. With three recovery modes, you can preview everything that has been restored in advance. It is compatible with the newest phone models and the latest version of iOS. A one-year license costs $ 60.