Proven Way | How to Recover Deleted iMessages on Mac

Abby Haines updated on Feb 21, 2020 to Mac File Recovery | How-to Articles


By accidental, you deleted the conversations from an iMessage on your Mac. Then you wondered how can you recover the deleted iMessages on your Mac. Generally, you can first back up the existing contents in your iMessage and then perform the data recovery, which will help you recover the deleted iMessages without further data loss.

When you deleted iMessage by mistake on Mac computer, stay calm. All you need is to follow through the 3 parts below, and you will bring your lost iMessages back immediately:

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Part 1. Backup Existing iMessages Run Mac backup software > Set backup location > Back up existing iMessages...Full steps
Part 2. Recover Deleted iMessages Sign out and quit iMessage > Press and hold Option key > "Go" > "Library"...Full steps
Part 3. Recover iMessage Backup Run Mac backup software > Select and restore previous iMessage backup...Full steps

"I have accidentally deleted contents of an iMessage on a specific contact on my Mac. And after that, all the messages from the person were gone. Is there any way to recover deleted iMessages on Mac? I really want to get the conversations back!"

iMessage is a free instant messaging service from Apple. Along with text messages, iMessage allows you to send unlimited pictures, videos, contacts etc. to other Apple users anywhere anytime for free. But sometimes, those iMessages saved on Mac might be deleted or get lost. When it happens, you may want to get them back, especially when those messages record some unforgettable memories.

Is It Possible to Recover Deleted iMessages on Mac

To illustrate this matter clearly, you need to know where iMessages are stored on a Mac. When you go to the ~/Library/Messages folder on your Mac, you will see the Archive folder, Attachments folder, and a file named 'chat.db'. The archive folder contains all your past messages that you have closed or saved, the Attachments folder contains the images, videos, audios, and other files that you have sent or received on your Mac via iMessage, and the file 'chat.db' is the database file where all of your messages are stored.

How to recover deleted iMessages on Mac

When you delete a conversation from iMessage on your Mac, the content of the chat.db file is changed but the file still exists on your computer. That's why you can't use data recovery software, which can only recover deleted files, not the deleted content of the file, to retrieve data. (The data recovery software will be quite helpful if you accidentally deleted the chat.db file on your Mac.)

Thus, the only way to get your deleted iMessages back is to recover the items from your Time Machine backup, on condition that you have backed up your Mac before the accidental deletion.

How to Recover Deleted iMessages on Mac Without Data Loss

Now you may want to ask the question, "If I recover my deleted iMessages from a former backup, will the later changes in the iMessage disappear?". Unfortunately, the answer is "Yes". But that doesn't mean you will necessarily lose them. With the help of EaseUS file backup software, EaseUS Todo Backup, you can back up your existing iMessages before the recovery and then retrieve them back after the operation.

How to recover deleted iMessages on Mac without data loss

Part 1: Back up the existing iMessages on your Mac

Step 1: Launch EaseUS Todo Backup for Mac. Click the plus icon in the bottom-left corner to add a new project. Enter the name of the project and click 'OK'.

Back up iMessages on Mac - Step 1

Step 2: Set up the backup destination and other backup settings. After that, click 'OK'.

Back up iMessages on Mac - Step 2

Step 3: Click 'File+' to choose the files you'd like to backup. In this case, you need to back up the files and folders under the path '~/Library/Messages'. Click the Start button to begin backing up the iMessages on your Mac to another drive or an external storage device.

Back up iMessages on Mac - Step 3

Part 2: Recover deleted iMessages on your Mac from Time Machine backup

After backing up the existing items, you can now start to recover the deleted iMessages on your Mac without worrying about the loss of your other conversations.

Step 1: Sign out all iMessage accounts and quit Messages.

Step 2: Press and hold down the Option key and select 'Go' > 'Library' from the Finder menu bar.

Step 3: A folder window will open. Restore the subfolder named "Messages" from a backup that predates the unwanted changes

Step 4: Then log out and log back in.

This method restores the whole iMessage database and will replace the current database with an earlier version. Luckily, since you have backed up the earlier database, you can now make a backup of the recovered conversations elsewhere and then restore the later changes that have been covered by your Time Machine backup.

Part 3: Recover the iMessge backup to your Mac

Step 1: Open EaseUS Todo Backup.

Step 2: Select the backup project you want to restore and click the 'Restore' button. (By default, the program selects the most recent backup in the menu. Make sure the correct backup is selected.)

Step 3: Select the files you want to restore from your external hard drive (use Cmd + Shift keys for bulk selection).

Step 4: Choose whether to restore to the original or to a custom folder.

Step 5: Click the 'Restore All' or 'Restore Selected' button to start the recovery process.

How to recover deleted iMessages on Mac


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2. Why cannot I recover 2GB data for free?

It is recommended to check the version installed is Free or Trial because they are different versions.

Trial has data preview function but cannot save any files, while the Free version enables to recover 2 GB files. The default free space is 500 MB and you may share the product on social media to get another 1.5 GB.

3. Why cannot the recovered files be opened?

A file is saved as 2 parts on the storage device: directory info (which is comprised by file name, time stamp and size info, etc.) and data content.

If the files with original file names and folder structures cannot be opened, one possible reason is the corrupted directory info. There is still a chance to recover the data content with the RAW Recovery method in our software.

4. Why isn't it suggested to recover the files back to the original drive?

The storage structure of the lost files would be altered or damaged by any changes on the drive. If you save the recovered files back to the same drive, the original data structures and data content would be corrupted or overwritten, which causes permanent data loss. So you should prepare another disk to save the files.

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The Free version helps you save 2GB files to better verify the recovery quality of our product before purchase.

6. How long does it take to scan the drive?

It strongly depends on the capacity of your hard drive and the performance of your computer. As reference,most drive recoveries can be completed in around 10 to 12 hours for a 1-TB healthy hard drive in general conditions.

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