How to Retrieve Deleted Messages on iPhone 12/11/XS/XR/X?

This is a situation that a lot of us have found ourselves in before, whether it’s accidentally deleted text messages or prematurely deleting an important file. It can quickly come with a rush of regret and worry, or that feeling can come later on when we realize the mistake we have made. Either way we can help you recover deleted text messages iPhone. iOS data recovery is a new concept so the following solutions should be new to you.

Verified Methods to Recover Deleted Text Messages on iPhone

We’ve done the legwork for you and found the methods that work best when it comes to recovering deleted text messages on an iPhone.

#1. The Most Efficient Way to Retrieve Deleted Text Messages on iPhone 12/11/XS/XR/X

Hard drives have an interesting file storage system where deleting a file doesn’t result in it being permanently inaccessible. Most devices, including laptops and iPhones, will keep deleted data until the allocated storage slot is overwritten.

iphone messages recovery

What does this mean? In simple terms: if you use a third-party data recovery solution for iPhones, then there’s a high chance of the text messages being recovered.

Recovery Modes You Should Know

Using data recovery software will usually present 3 different recovery modes:

  • Recover from iTunes backup
  • Recover from iCloud backup
  • Recover from iPhone (direct recovery)

In this case, you’d want to try recover deleted text messages on iPhone with the direct approach, but if that doesn’t yield the results we’re hoping for then try one of the other backup modes.

After either a backup or your iPhone is scanned, you’ll see a breakdown of every file stored within the backup or device. You can then locate deleted texts, select them, and recover them to the computer.

Recently deleted text messages have a higher chance of recovery than those deleted further back, since they’re less likely to be overwritten.

Our Choice – Tenorshare UltData

Tenorshare UltData is the iPhone recovery software which we recommend for this process. This solution gives users access to features like:

  • Recover permanently deleted messages & SMS attachments from any iOS/iPadOS devices
  • Get back your lost data no matter how you lost: factory reset, upgrade, broken screen, water damages, forgot iPhone passcode, etc.
  • Highest recovery rate in the industry: up to 99%
  • Allow you to scan and preview your lost data for free
  • Can also recover messages from WhatsApp, Messenger, Kik, Viber and more

A free trial is available so you can get a good look at how Tenorshare UltData works, what features are readily available, and how to retrieve deleted messages on iPhone with it.

download buttons

After a few minutes of messing around with the main features, we promise you’ll be more inclined to purchase the full version.

Step 1. Open Tenorshare Ultdata on your computer and connect your iPhone.

ultdata connect iphone

Step 2. Select “Messages & Attachments” and click on “Start Scan” button.

ultdata recovery type

Step 3. After scanning, preview your deleted messages, choose those you want to recover and finally click on “Recovery” button.

preview iphone deleted messages

#2. Retrieve Deleted Text Messages from iCloud Backup

Advice that too many iPhone users ignore is to take regular backups of their device’s data. We can’t predict when data loss strikes or when we’ll need to recover deleted text messages, but precautions can be taken.

Apple goes all out and backups can be taken directly from your iOS device without using a computer. Signing in to your iCloud account and tapping a button is all the effort that it takes. Better yet, automatic backups can be scheduled to be taken regularly. Really, there isn’t any reason for not taking frequent iPhone backups.

If you smartly take backups with iCloud then you’re in luck, and our first method will show you how to recover deleted text messages iPhone via iCloud. With an active internet connection (preferably Wi-fi), follow the steps below:

Step 1. Unlock your iPhone and launch the “Settings” application.

Step 2. Tap on “General” and swipe down to tap “Reset”.

Step 3. Next, choose the “Erase All Content and Settings” reset option.

iphone x reset all settings

Step 4. Confirm the factory reset by entering your passcode.

Step 5. Once your iPhone finishes erasing it will restart and you can tap “Restore from iCloud Backup”.

iphone x setup restore from icloud

Step 6. Sign in to your iCloud account and when you select “Choose backup”, you can select the one which contains your deleted text messages.

Your backup will be downloaded, and the text messages will be recovered to your iPhone. It’s fairly simple but it relies on an internet connection and can take a short while to download the desired backup. In addition, there are 2 important notes to remember:


  • When you restore your iPhone with an iCloud backup, any new data stored on your iPhone AFTER the backup was taken will be overwritten or deleted. This includes text messages, so you could lose other texts.
  • Taking a new iCloud backup AFTER the backup containing deleted text messages was taken will overwrite the texts. It’s important that you don’t take another backup otherwise those deleted texts won’t be recoverable.

These details aside, using an iCloud backup to restore deleted text messages is an efficient solution.

#3. Get Deleted iPhone iMessages Back from

Restoring from an iCloud backup isn’t the only use for iCloud when it comes to how to retrieve deleted messages on iPhone. By signing into the iCloud launchpad, certain groups of users can see their iMessages.

Step 1. On your computer, open a browser and go to

Step 2. Sign in using the same account details as the iCloud account on your iPhone.

Step 3. Click on the “Text Messages” option from the main menu.

Note: if “Text Messages” isn’t a visible option then move on to the next solution.

Step 4. Browse through the texts and check if the deleted messages are available.

Step 5. Now go on your iPhone and tap your iCloud name at the top, then tap “iCloud”.

Step 6. Disable the “Text Messages” slider and tap “Keep on My iPhone” on the notification.

text messages keep on my iphone

Step 7. Wait a minute before tapping the slider again to turn on this feature again, and missing iCloud messages should now download to your iPhone.

Again, this iCloud approach isn’t that difficult to comprehend but it does have a limitation.


iCloud doesn’t back up SMS texts in every country nor for every carrier, so there is a possibility that following this method won’t help you. Hopefully, you find all of the deleted text messages on and can restore them quickly.

#4. Restore Deleted Messages on iPhone Using iTunes Backup

iTunes has been the default way of backing up iOS devices for the longest time, with the rise of iCloud happening more recently. Obviously, you would have had to take a backup prior to the text messages being deleted so if you didn’t, look at another solution. But if an iTunes backup was taken, use these steps to retrieve deleted messages:

Step 1. Open iTunes and connect the iPhone to your computer using a lightning cable.

Step 2. After iTunes detects your iPhone, click the device icon at the top of the window.

Step 3. Select “Summary” from the sidebar menu.

Step 4. Click on “Restore Backup” and all of your iPhone backups will be shown.

restore itunes backup

Step 5. Choose the iPhone backup which you took that contains the deleted text messages. Click “Restore Backup” and the data will be recovered on your iPhone.


Just like with an iCloud backup, if you restore iTunes backups then your current text messages will be overwritten and possibly lost. Unlike the previous method though, you can’t restore the text messages separately from the rest of your data.


Grabbing a copy of Tenorshare UltData iPhone Data Recovery is the best way that you can guarantee successfully learning how to retrieve deleted messages on iPhone. If that approach doesn’t aide your problem then you can also try an iTunes or iCloud backup, or the method.

About the Author

Darren is an Apple Certified Independent Technician with a passion for researching all aspects of phone locks, including Activation Lock, carrier lock, screen lock, FRP lock, and more. With years of experience in the mobile phone industry, Darren has become a leading authority in his field and has been a sought-after consultant for individuals and businesses seeking to unlock their devices.

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