How to Recover Deleted iMessages

One of the most popular features of the iPhone ecosystem is iMessages. Allowing easy contact, iMessages are pretty handy. But what do you do when things go wrong? Maybe you accidentally hit the delete button. Maybe your phone crashed. Whatever the reason, the question is can you restore those deleted iMessages? And that’s what we’re looking at today…

Image Credit: Tiger Mobiles

The Basics

We have to be honest with you, and the answer to your question is maybe. There is a chance that you can restore those messages, but there’s no guarantee. This is also liable to take you a little time. So before you start, you might want to think about whether this is really worth it. If you really can’t live without those deleted messages, then you’ve got three restoration options, and you’ll need to choose which is right for you. A couple of these options are going to cost you a fair amount of cash too. If you’re having trouble, you can always try each of the below solutions, though again, there are no guarantees here!

Option One: The Back Up

Alrighty, this is the easiest option, but it does come at a price. By far the simplest thing that you can do is to restore your phone from a back up, either from iTunes, or from iCloud. But, and there has to be a but here, there are a couple of problems. Firstly, you will need to wipe your phone and restore all of the data from the back up file. This means that any data you’ve added between the time the back up was made and now will be lost. Secondly, your back up may or may not have the iMessages you need. Say your last back up was made a week ago and the iMessage thread you need was created three days ago, then you won’t be able to restore it. And, obviously, this method does depend on you having a back up. If you don’t have a back up in place, then you’ll need to skip down to the next option. Do check first though, since in many instances your phone will be backing up to iCloud automatically.

WARNING: Do NOT Continue with this method until you have checked and double checked that you have a back up of all your data. If you don’t, you’re about to lose everything on your phone!

Right then, head into the settings menu on your phone, hit General, hit Reset, then hit “erase all content and settings.” Enter your passcode to proceed, and answer “yes” when asked if you’re sure. Your phone will reboot, and when it comes back to life it will ask you to connect to WiFi (do so if you can), then it will ask how you want to restore your data. If you want to restore from iCloud, just choose that option and your phone will do the rest. If you want to restore from iTunes, plug your phone into your computer, open iTunes, then choose the “restore from iTunes” option on your phone. And that’s it, you’re done. But given the problems with this option, you might want to choose another way of recovering your messages…

Option Two: Back Up Only Your Messages

So what about if we could do the above, but instead of wiping ALL your data, we could instead just wipe the iMessage data and then just restore the iMessage data. That would seem like a fair solution, and one that means you don’t have to wipe your entire phone. This is possible, using a software called iExplorer. However, and here’s the catch, iExplorer is going to set you back around £40. That’s pretty expensive for something that may or may not be able to restore your messages.

This method is pretty easy to use though. Just buy iExplorer, plug your phone into your computer, and open iExplorer on your PC or Mac. The software will guide you through the rest. The obvious bonus here is that you won’t need to delete anything from your phone, plus iExplorer will let you see exactly what’s backed up into your iTunes/iCloud account so you can decide whether it’s worth uploading all those iMessages again. That price is pretty hefty however… Plus, again, you’ll actually need to have a back up for this to work. Which brings us to option three.

Option Three: When You Don’t Have a Back Up

Alright, we’re not going to lecture you for not backing up your phone. If the worst has happened, and your phone hasn’t been backed up, your only option is to try using a data recovery tool to get your info back. Again, we’re going to be honest with you. There are a lot of data recovery options around, they vary a lot in price, and most of them aren’t very good (and many of them are difficult and technical to use). But there is a chance that such a programme can go through your phone and find the files that you thought were deleted. This works because deleting data from your phone doesn’t actually “vanish” it. The data is still there until you over-write it with something else.

So given the number of options around, which tool should you choose? That’s really up to you. But if you’re going to go this route we recommend using a programme called iSkySoft. This isn’t cheap, in fact you probably won’t get much change out of £100, but it is the most reliable and easiest option to use that we have found. The good news is that there’s a free trial version that you can use to find out if the messages you need are actually on your phone. If they are, you’ll then need to pay for the full version to recover them (but at least you’ll know that it works before committing to buying). You’ll need to download iSkySoft Data Recovery to your computer, plug in your phone, launch the programme, then follow the instructions…

Bottom Line

The bottom line here is that recovering your lost iMessages isn’t easy, but it can be possible (especially if you’re willing to spend a little cash). You’ll need to decide if those messages are really worth the time and trouble though!


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