Among the many exciting features coming this fall to iPhone, iPad, and Mac is the ability to recover recently deleted texts. Imagine never being frustrated again for accidentally deleting an important text or iMessage, knowing that you can recover it in just a few taps. The feature is long overdue, but it’s better late than never.
There are other cool new things you can do in the Messages app with the iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS 13 Ventura software updates, such as editing and un-sending a message, but the trick with them is that they only work for iMessages — not for regular SMS and MMS texts. Recovering deleted messages works for iMessages and texts equally, just like when marking them unread.
The Messages app now has a new section called “Recently Deleted” that stores your deleted messages for 30 days, much like a trash bin on a computer. After the 30 days have passed, Apple will delete your messages permanently. (Apple does mention that it “may take up to 40 days,” as confusing as that sounds.)
You also have an option to manually erase some or all deleted messages forever rather than wait 30 days. And you can rescue anything you need to see again — only you can’t see the message until you recover it.
To access your deleted messages, tap “Edit” from the conversations list, then choose “Show Recently Deleted.” Here, you can manage them before your software takes control after 30 days. To permanently:
- Erase all deleted messages: tap “Delete All,” followed by “Delete [#] Messages” on the confirmation prompt.
- Restore all deleted messages: tap “Restore All,” followed by “Restore [#] Messages” on the confirmation prompt.
- Erase just one or some: tap the empty circle next to each message, choose “Delete,” then “Delete [#] Messages” on the confirmation prompt.
- Restore just one or some: tap the empty circle next to each message, choose “Recover,” then “Recover [#] Messages” on the confirmation prompt.
If “Filter Unknown Senders” is enabled in Settings –> Messages, the process looks slightly different. The “Recently Deleted” section appears among “Filters” once you have deleted one or messages. To access it, tap “Filters” from the conversations list or swipe right from the left side of the screen.
On macOS 13 Ventura, the process works differently. To access your deleted messages, tap “View” from the menu bar, then choose “Recently Deleted.”
Here, you can manage them before your software takes control after 30 days. It’s a little different than iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 since there is no “Delete All” or “Recover All” button. Instead, you can select one message (click), more than one message (Command-click), or a chunk of messages (Select-click).
Then, you can select “Delete” or “Recover” to act on all selected content.
And then “Delete [#] Messages” or “Recover [#] Messages” on the confirmation prompt.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to lock the “Recently Deleted” texts in the same way it’s possible in the Photos app for recently deleted images. Apple made your “Recently Deleted” photos locked by default in iOS 16 and iPadOS 16, but they didn’t offer such a feature in the Messages app.
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