Recover Deleted Text Messages on iPhone Without Backup

So we all know that you’re supposed to keep backups. But let’s face it, if you had a backup of your deleted messages then you wouldn’t need to be here in the first place. You’d just go back to that backup and retrieve your deleted text message from there. So let’s take this as a reminder we’re supposed to be taking backups in future, alright?

iphone text messageThat aside – don’t worry. Most of us don’t keep backups and you can still retrieve deleted messages without a backup. This is especially easy if you happen to be an iPhone user. For all the problems Apple might give you (such as causing you to delete all your messages far too easily) they make it easy enough to recover your messages without having to rely on a backup. Basically it’s because of the way they deal with data on the handset.

Technically (and yes we are going to get a little technical here – feel free to skip it or just hit the download button at the top if you just want to download the tool) it’s a bad thing we can do this. Phone providers try to make deleted messages actually delete. The idea being if we deleted something it was usually intentional and we usually want it kept deleted. If we’re able to access that data again then it’s because we’re exploiting or abusing a bug to do so.

In the case of the Apple iPhone deleted messages are still being kept on the hard drive and are just “earmarked” as deleted so your average SMS app won’t pick them up. But tools that are specifically looking for messages that have been marked as deleted can still find them because the data is still locally there. This is possible on a lot of different types of phones but the size of the iPhone’s hard drive (which they do like to boast about) makes it especially possible in this case. The higher the capacity of the phone – the longer a deleted message can stay earmarked for.

iPhone Backups for The Future

iphone backupiPhone backups are easy to keep – including storing your SMS messages. There are third party tools you can buy but you don’t need anything fancy. The iTunes software itself already does everything for you.

Right click on the iPhone and select “Back Up”.

Aside from backing up the rest of your important data it is more reliable than relying on recovering the data from the drive. While possible and pretty likely with the size of the drive there is a chance that the data can be overwritten. When it’s earmarked it’s left for other apps to write over because the message is no longer considered important.

It is likely to stay available for some time but once you have the file backed up that backup file isn’t going to be overwritten as easily. If the information is really important consider keeping a backup of that backup (by which I really just mean store it on another drive or email it to yourself for example).

So it is entirely possible (and pretty easy) to recover deleted text messages on iPhone without backup files ready and waiting. If you haven’t already take a look at the TextRar recovery tool (you’ll find the download button at the top of the page) and it can help you do just that – though try to keep a backup next time.

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