How do I recover deleted text messages on my iPhone for free?

We’ve all accidentally deleted a text message that we wish we could get back. iPhones don’t have a built-in way to recover deleted texts, but thankfully there are a few free methods you can use to try and get your messages back.

In this guide, I’ll go over several different ways to recover deleted texts on an iPhone, all without having to pay anything. We’ll look at recently deleted messages, iCloud backups, iTunes backups, and third party apps. With multiple options, you should hopefully find a solution that works!

Check Recently Deleted Messages

The first place to check when you’ve deleted a text is your Recently Deleted folder in the Messages app. Your iPhone will hold onto deleted messages here for up to 30 days before removing them permanently.

To view your Recently Deleted texts:

1. Open the Messages app.
2. Tap on the conversation that contained the deleted text.
3. Tap on the contact name at the top of the conversation.
4. Scroll down and tap “Delete Conversation”
5. On the Delete Conversation pop-up, tap on “Recently Deleted”

This will show you any texts that have been recently deleted from this conversation. Tap and hold on any bubble to “Undelete” it and restore the message.

The Recently Deleted folder is the fastest and easiest way to recover deleted texts on an iPhone. However, it will only work on very recent deletions, within the last 30 days. If the text you need has already been permanently removed, keep reading for other retrieval options.

Restore from an iCloud Backup

If you have iCloud backups enabled, you may be able to restore a deleted text from a previous backup. iCloud automatically backs up your iPhone periodically when connected to WiFi, unless you have disabled backups.

Here’s how to recover deleted texts from an iCloud backup:

1. Go to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud > Manage Storage > Backups.
2. Tap on your device name.
3. Tap on “Restore” to load the previous backup.

This will completely overwrite your current settings and data with the iCloud backup. So only use this method if you cannot recover the text any other way.

Once your phone has been restored, you can check for the deleted text in the Messages app. Keep in mind you’ll lose any messages, photos etc since the last backup.

Restore from an iTunes Backup

If you sync your iPhone with iTunes on a computer, you may have backups available that go further back than your iCloud backups. You can restore from an iTunes backup to retrieve deleted texts.

To restore from an iTunes backup:

1. Connect your iPhone to your computer and open iTunes
2. Under Backups, select your device
3. Click “Restore Backup” in the Backups section
4. Select the backup you want to restore

This process is similar to an iCloud restore. It will completely reset your iPhone data and settings to the selected backup. So only restore as a last resort.

Once the restore is complete, check your Messages app for the recovered text. Keep in mind any changes since the backup was made will be lost.

Use Third Party Software

If you can’t recover deleted texts through iPhone tools, your last option is to try third party software. There are a few free desktop programs that can retrieve deleted texts from an iPhone backup.

Here are some free options to try:

Dr. Fone – iOS Data Recovery

Dr. Fone is an extremely popular iOS recovery app for Windows and Mac. It can scan through your iPhone or iTunes backups to extract deleted texts.

To use Dr. Fone:

1. Download and install Dr. Fone on a computer your iPhone syncs with.
2. Open Dr. Fone and click “Data Recovery”
3. Connect your iPhone to your computer. Dr. Fone will scan it.
4. Select “Messages & Attachments” and click Scan.
5. Dr. Fone will scan your device for recoverable messages.
6. Preview and select the texts you want to recover.
7. Click “Recover” to export the texts to your computer.

Dr. Fone has a free trial that allows you to scan for recoverable data and preview it. To fully export the texts, you’ll need to purchase their full version. But the free scan still helps determine if your deleted texts are retrievable.

iMyFone iBypasser – Message Extractor

iMyFone iBypasser is designed specifically for iOS message recovery. Like Dr. Fone, it can scan and preview deleted texts from an iPhone or backup.

To use iMyFone iBypasser:

1. Download and install iMyFone iBypasser on your computer.
2. Open the app and select “Message Extractor”
3. Connect your iPhone or choose a backup file from your computer
4. Click Scan to search for recoverable texts
5. Preview the found messages
6. Select the texts to recover and hit Recover.

The free version will allow you to scan and preview messages. Unlocking the full version is needed to export the recovered texts. But you can verify it finds your deleted text without paying.

EaseUS MobiSaver Free

EaseUS MobiSaver Free is another great program for iOS data recovery. It scours iPhone or iTunes backups for any recoverable data.

To use EaseUS MobiSaver:

1. Get and install EaseUS MobiSaver on your computer
2. Open EaseUS MobiSaver
3. Connect your iPhone or select a backup
4. Click Scan
5. Choose the messages you wish to recover
6. Click Recover to export messages to your computer

Like the other programs, EaseUS will do an initial free scan to find recoverable data. You’ll then need to upgrade to the paid version to fully export your messages.

Prevent Future Message Loss

Recovering deleted texts takes some work. To avoid this issue in the future, here are some tips:

– Enable iCloud backups and periodically do local iTunes backups
– Avoid mass deleting conversations unless you’re sure
– Be careful about deleting individual texts – tap and hold to get the options for just deleting that message
– If you use your Recently Deleted folder, remember it only holds 30 days worth of messages
– Consider using a third party app like WhatsApp or Signal for important conversations, as they have built-in unsend/delete functions

Following some of these tips will help ensure your important conversations aren’t lost if you accidentally delete something.

Recover from iCloud Website

There is one more method you can try to recover deleted iPhone messages online using the iCloud website. Follow these steps:

1. Go to and login with your Apple ID
2. Click on Settings and select Messages
3. Click on a conversation to open it
4. Click the Actions button (gear icon) and choose “Recover Deleted Messages”
5. Confirm if you want to recover any deleted messages found

This allows you to restore deleted texts from your iCloud backup directly through the website interface. It’s less intensive than a full restore via Settings. But it only works if iCloud backups were actively saving your SMS history.

Contact Your Carrier

As a last ditch option, you may be able to recover deleted iPhone text messages by contacting your cell phone carrier. Most major carriers keep records of SMS messages for a short period.

Here are some carrier policies on retaining text records:


Verizon keeps deleted text records for up to 5 days. You’ll have to request a copy within this period. Contact Verizon support or visit a store to make the request.


AT&T retains deleted text records for up to 30 days. To request a copy, you’ll need to provide them with a subpoena or court order.


T-Mobile keeps deleted text records for just 24 hours after deletion. Contact support right away if you need them to recover a text.


Sprint holds onto text message records for 10 days after deletion. You can contact support and request an archive of your texts.

Recovering texts via your carrier will require contacting them quickly. And you may need to provide documentation or legal requests. But if you’ve exhausted all other options, it can be worth a try.

Use iExplorer

One more free software option for recovering deleted iPhone messages is iExplorer. This handy desktop app lets you browse the full contents of your iPhone backups for various data types.

Follow these steps to try finding deleted texts with iExplorer:

1. Download and install iExplorer on your computer.
2. Connect your iPhone to your computer or locate a backup.
3. In iExplorer, click on your device name or backup under Devices.
4. Navigate to Library > SMS > Chat Storage > Chats
5. Here you’ll see all message conversations stored in the backup.
6. Open conversations and check for any deleted texts you need.
7. Select and recover messages to your computer.

The free trial of iExplorer will allow you to browse and preview conversations from a backup. You’ll need to purchase their license to export recovered messages. But it provides another option for accessing deleted texts stored in iPhone backups.


While the iPhone doesn’t have a built-in deleted text recovery option, there are quite a few ways you can get back lost messages for free:

– Check the Recently Deleted folder in the Messages app
– Restore from an iCloud or iTunes backup
– Use free software like Dr. Fone, iMyFone iBypasser, EaseUS MobiSaver or iExplorer to scan for deleted texts in backups
– Try the Recover Deleted Messages option at
– Contact your carrier quickly to request restoring deleted SMS records

With multiple free methods, you have a very good chance of recovering accidentally deleted texts on your iPhone. Just don’t wait too long, as deleted messages are permanently removed after about a month in most cases.