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How to recover deleted text messages (SMS) from an Apple iPhone

Recovering deleted iPhone text messages and photos can be done by trained experts provided certain steps are taken by the user. Taking the following actions will help ensure total recovery of your deleted messages.

Turn off your iPhone If possible, completely stop using the iPhone. Place the iPhone in airplane mode or turn it off. Or you can remove the SIM card if you prefer. The longer you the use the iPhone, the less likely a full or even partial recovery is possible.

Contact An Expert iPhone forensic experts can help you retrieve the text messages and images you’ve recently deleted. Time is a critical factor in achieving a full recovery.

For law enforcement, attorneys and corporations, we offer expert iPhone forensic consulting and expert witness services. Please note this is a premium service and not offered for basic individual consumer recovery.

Top 3 Steps You Can Take to Recover Your iPhone Text Messages

    Stop using the iPhone immediately. Turn the iPhone off, place in airplane mode or remove the SIM card. Yes, we are repeating ourselves but this is the most important thing you can do. Make a backup of your iPhone backup directory (not your iPhone, but your existing backup directory on your computer). Valuable information from a previous backup can contain the information you need. See our post about iPhone backups for more information. * Contact an iPhone expert who can perform the recovery. Experts can use various techniques including:
  • Forensic imaging and analysis of the iPhone (admissible in court if needed)
  • Recovery of deleted records in the SMS database if present
  • Examination of the keyboard cache files for outbound conversations
  • Recovery of iPhone screenshots which may contain images of the text messages
  • Full indexed search of the iPhone user data partition using powerful searching tools

Top 5DON’Ts If You Want to Recover iPhone Text Messages

    • Don’t use your iPhone at all. (Do you see a theme here?)
    • Don’t sync or backup the iPhone (let an expert take care of this)
    • Don’t install new applications from the App Store
    • Don’t modify/examine the files in your backup directory
    • Don’t forget to call an expert as soon as possible.

People approach experts weeks or months after their text messages have been deleted. After that amount of time, while partial recoveries (message fragments) are plausible, full recovery is nearly impossible. However, if your text messages are deleted and you follow the steps above immediately, a successful recovery may still be possible.

For more information, check out our free iPhone Forensics white paper. If you are a law enforcement, attorneys and corporations, interested in expert iPhone forensic consulting and expert witness services, please contact us.

viaExtract Forensics Software: iOS Support Coming Soon

viaExtract, the Android logical forensics suite, will soon support Android physical, iOS logical, and iOS physical as well. Download the demo today.