Recover Deleted Text Messages on Your iPhone Without Having to Restore

You no longer need to depend on a backup to retrieve any trashed texts on iOS 16.

Nelson Aguilar
Nelson Aguilar is an LA-based tech how-to writer and graduate of UCLA. With more than a decade of experience, he covers Apple and Google and writes on iPhone and Android features, privacy and security settings and more.
Nelson Aguilar
2 min read
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Recovering a deleted text message is no longer a pain, thanks to iOS 16.

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This might surprise you, but if you ever wanted to find and recover a deleted text message on iOS 15, the only way to do it was to first hope that you had a backup with that specific text, and then restore your iPhone. An overly complicated and time-consuming process, for what should be an easy task.

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Fortunately that's now been simplified thanks to iOS 16.

Instead of dealing with restoring a backup, you can now find the deleted texts on your device and recover them into the Messages app with just a few taps. The process is simple, but you need to know where to look before you can recover any deleted text messages. Here's how.

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First find your deleted text messages

All of your deleted text messages can be found in the Messages app. To find your trashed messages, open Messages and tap the Filters option in the top left of your text threads. Here you can filter your text messages by known senders, unread messages and more. However, the option we want is Recently Deleted.

Recently deleted text messages on iOS

You only have 30 days to recover a deleted text message.

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A list of your recent text messages will appear, showing phone numbers or contacts, number of messages and days left until permanent deletion. This will include both entire message threads and individual texts that are deleted. However, you'll be able to see (and recover) deleted messages only if they've been deleted in the last 30 days, so you have to act relatively fast.

Also, you can't see the actual messages themselves, so you'll have to recover them by recognizing the contact name or phone number. Once recovered, you'll then be able to read the texts.

Then recover your deleted text messages

If you want to recover a text message, tap on the thread or message so that it's selected, hit Recover on the bottom right, and then tap Recover Message in the pop-up that appears. You can also recover all of your deleted text messages at once -- don't select any message and then just tap Recover All.

Deleted text messages on iOS

You can also recover all deleted text messages at once.

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Your recovered text messages will appear in sequential order from when they were either sent or received, so you may have to scroll a bit through your existing texts to find them, especially if they're old and you have a great deal of new messages cluttering up your inbox.

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