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This is a quick guide demonstrating how to restore lost or deleted iPhone SMS and iMessage conversations from a backup previously made by iTunes.

We recommend always keeping a save backup of your iPhone text messages in addition to the backup created by iTunes. While iTunes only backs up SMS and iMessage, CopyTrans Contacts helps you back up WhatsApp, Viber, and LINE conversations to your PC in addition to SMS and iMessage. Download CopyTrans Contacts now and prevent the loss of iPhone text messages in the future:

Backup iPhone text messages

How to recover iPhone SMS

  1. Open iTunes on your computer and connect the iPhone

  2. Once the iPhone appears in iTunes click on the device button iphone icon in itunes main window

  3. Under Backups click “Restore from Backup…” restore backup button in itunes

  4. Select a recent iPhone backup entry and click “Restore” restore iphone with itunes prompt
    Note: Select the iPhone backup entry dated before you lost access to the iPhone SMS messages

  5. Warning: restoring iPhone SMS and iMessage conversations from iTunes backup removes any media tracks which currently exist on the iPhone. iTunes then overwrites the iPhone contents and settings with the ones contained in the backup file iphone restore in progress

  6. Once the restore process terminates, you should regain access to the lost or previously deleted iPhone text messages.

Restore iPhone SMS without iTunes

iTunes may not be the best option to recover old iPhone SMS. Instead of restoring the old content, iTunes could accidentally overwrite the previous backup containing the original messages. Circumvent iTunes and restore your old iPhone backup with CopyTrans Shelbee which is a free tool for iPhone backup and restore. Download CopyTrans Shelbee for free

  1. Keep iTunes closed and, run CopyTrans Shelbee. Plug in your iPhone and click “Restore” restore button in copytrans shelbee

  2. From the next screen click the blue pencil button” click change button in shelbee for a list of iTunes backups

  3. Select the iPhone backup containing your old iPhone SMS from the list in the newly-opened window list of iTunes backups


  • The above tutorial demonstrates restoring an iPhone with iTunes from a backup in order to recover a previous state of the iPhone Messages app

  • This restores the iPhone text messages in the way they appeared at the time the backup was effectuated

  • The process will also restore other data you might have previously deleted or lost such as contacts, notes, apps, etc.

  • Restoring the iPhone messages via iTunes deletes all iPhone multimedia tracks such as songs, videos and podcasts and replaces them with the contents of the current iTunes library

  • If you go through with the iTunes restore, it will delete any photos outside of the Camera Roll and not already synced to iTunes

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By krasimir

Krasimir is an avid marketing aficionado and a tech-support specialist in charge of the English-speaking market. He grew up in Bulgaria and on the island of Mauritius where he became passionate about windsurfing and photography.