Here’s a scenario: you’ve deleted a text message on your iPhone you thought you’d never need it anymore. But as it turns out, you still do. Now, you want to bring it back.

This process used to be complicated. On iOS 15, you have to hope that the lost text message was part of a backup. But even after you’ve confirmed that it did, you still have to face the long and tiring process of restoring your iPhone just to bring that specific SMS back.

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Fortunately, Apple has made the process much easier with the latest iOS 16 update. And if you’re reading this in the future with newer iOS versions, the process should be similar.

With this new update, you don’t have to worry if you’ve backed up a text message and have to go through the exhausting and time-consuming process of restoring a backup of your iPhone.

The process is really simple and straightforward. So, without further ado, let us show you how.

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Where can I find deleted text messages on iOS 16 or later?

You can recover deleted iMessage or SMS text messages on your iPhone just like how you will recover deleted images or videos on the Photos app.

Essentially, the deleted messages will be put inside a “Recently Deleted” section in the Messages app, where you can recover them or delete them permanently.

How to retrieve deleted messages on an iPhone

Step 1: This method works if your smartphone is running on iOS 16 or later. That said, it’s best to first check if you’re running the said version before starting if you’re not sure.

To check if you’re running on iOS 16 or later, go to Settings > General > iOS version.

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Step 2: Open your Messages app and tap the Edit button on the top left.

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Step 3: Click on “Recently Deleted.”

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Step 4: Here you’ll see all your recently deleted images, their sender or receiver, as well as how many days until they are deleted permanently. You can choose to recover or delete a single message, or do the same process for all of them.

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How long do messages stay in the Recently Deleted section?

Much like on the Apple Photos app, the deleted messages will stay in the Recently Deleted section for 30 days. This means you have about a month to recover them or they will be deleted forever.

What can I see in the Recently Deleted section on Messages app?

The Recently Deleted section will contain all deleted messages, their senders or recipients, and how many days until they get deleted.

You have the option to delete or recover individual messages or all of them by tapping the “Delete All” or “Recover All” buttons. If you don’t care for those messages, just leave them be and they will be deleted permanently after a month.


That’s everything you should know when recovering a deleted SMS or iMessage on your iPhone. Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments.



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