Find Deleted Messages on MacBook (2024 Tips)

Learn how to recover deleted iMessages on Mac using Apple iPhone and iPad devices, Time Machine backup, iCloud backup, and third-party EaseUS messages recovery software for Mac. 4 proven ways to recover deleted iMessages.

Table of Contents

"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 want to get the conversations back!"

how to recover deleted messages on mac

4 Ways to Recover Deleted iMessages on MacBook

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. Have you ever accidentally deleted iMessages? Do you know how to recover deleted messages, especially when those messages record some unforgettable memories? Stay calm when you delete iMessage text messages by mistake on your MacBook, iMac, or Mini. Learn carefully how to recover deleted iMessages on MacBook with the below four effective solutions.

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
1. Recover with Software Run Mac data recovery software and select the location where messages were deleted...Full steps
2. Recover on iPhone/iPad Generally speaking, for Mac users who use Apple iPhone or iPad at the same time...Full steps
3. Recover from Time Machine Sign out all iMessage accounts and, quit Messages, open Finder...Full steps
4. Recover from iCloud Sign out of iMessage on your Mac and locate the library...Full steps

How to Find iMessages on Mac via Message Archives

First, you need to figure out where the deleted iMessages stored. By navigating 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, and the Attachments folder contains the images, videos, audio, and other files that you have sent or received on your Mac via iMessage. The file 'chat.db' is the database file where all of your messages are stored.

Step 1. Open the iMessage application and click "Preferences".

Step 2. Ensure you enable the option "Save history when conversations are closed" in General.

how to see deleted messages on macbook

Step 3. Launch Finder, click on "Go" in the menu bar, and then click "Go to Folder".

Step 4. Type in ~/Library/Messages to view old iMessages on Mac.

how to find deleted iMessages on mac

Then, you can find all the iMessages on Mac.

Is It Possible to Recover/Find Deleted iMessages on Mac

Can you bring back a deleted iMessage? To some degree, yes. Apple provides customers with Time Machine, a comprehensive backup solution to macOS operating systems, which you can find in macOS Ventura, Monterey, Big Sur, Catalina, Mojave, High Sierra, and other versions as well.

As long as you turn on Time Machine backup, you can easily recover everything from its backup, including the deleted iMessages. Meanwhile, the other data sync solution of iCloud backup is also quite helpful in retrieving lost data across platforms. What if the mishap happens and you don't have a backup at hand? Then grab the last chance of using iMessage data recovery software to recover deleted messages without a backup.

Next, let's walk you through each guide on how to recover deleted iMessages on Mac.

1. How to Recover Deleted iMessages on Mac Using Software

Can you bring back a deleted iMessage when there is no backup? 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 use data recovery software to recover deleted files. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac is such a tool that can recover deleted files on macOS Ventura, Monterey, Big Sur, etc. It is pretty helpful if you accidentally delete the chat.db file on your Mac.

EaseUS Message Recovery Tool

  • Recover deleted files, messages, documents, photos, audio, music, and videos with simple clicks.
  • Recover permanently deleted files on Mac from an emptied recycle bin, memory card, flash drive, digital camera, etc.
  • Support data recovery on all macOS, including macOS Ventura, Monterey, Big Sur, Catalina, High Sierra, and more.

Follow the detailed guide to get back the deleted iMessage database with EaseUS data recovery software:

Note: You can create a backup of your Mac by clicking the "Disk Backup" on the left first. The software will recover the deleted files from the backup image. It can prevent further damage to your disk and data, making it safer and more reliable.

Step 1. Select the location and scan

Launch EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard for Mac and choose the disk where you lost data. Then, click "Search for lost files" to start scanning.

select a location and click search for lost files

Step 2. Filter and preview lost files

After the scan, use the file format filter on the left or upper right corner to find the deleted files you need.

filter lost files in types

Step 3. Recover lost data or files

You can double-click a file to preview its content, or choose multiple files to recover them at once. Click "Recover" to restore the lost data to a local or cloud drive.

click recover to recover lost data

2. How to Recover Deleted iMessages on Mac Using iPhone or iPad

Generally speaking, Mac users who use Apple iPhone or iPad simultaneously have greater chances of deleted iMessage recovery. Apple users of the macOS and iOS systems use the same Apple ID, so received and sent messages will appear on every device. When you carelessly lose important messages on Mac, you can try to recover iMessages on iPhone.

3. How to Recover Deleted iMessages on Mac Using Time Machine 

As long as you back up Mac data regularly with Time Machine, follow these steps to recover deleted messages from the Time Machine backup easily:

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. Locate the Library section and click on Messages.

Step 4. When the messages folder comes up, locate a file with the "chat.db" name and a date before the date the files you are looking for were deleted. 

Step 5. Select the file and click "Restore".

how to find deleted messages on macbook with time machine

Note: This method restores the whole iMessage database and will replace the current database with an earlier version.

4. How to Recover Deleted iMessages on Mac Using iCloud

Another way to see deleted messages on Mac is by using iCloud. Follow the steps below to find deleted iMessages on your MacBook.

Step 1. Sign out of iMessage on your Mac and quit the app.

Step 2. Open the Finder.

Step 3. Select Go from the Finder menu.

Step 4. Locate your library.

Step 5. Find a file named [messages] from an iCloud backup.

Step 6. Open this messages folder.

Step 7. Click "Restore".

If you prefer to run iCloud online, you can log in to iCloud and restore your messages.

recover iMessages in iCloud


That's all about recovering deleted messages on Mac 13/12/11/10.13/10.9. Don't worry about losing messages on your Mac, iPhone/iPad. Try the solutions mentioned before to get them back.

Recover Deleted iMessages on Mac FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions. Read them one by one to get additional help for Mac data recovery.

1. How to recover deleted messages on iPhone?

To recover deleted messages on iPhone:

  • Connect your iPhone to your PC and launch EaseUS MobiSaver. Click Recover from iOS Device on the left, and click Start.
  • EaseUS MobiSaver will automatically scan iPhone 13/12/11/X/XR/XS/8/7/6/5/4 and find lost messages and message attachments for you.
  • Tick Messages and Message Attachments. Choose the messages and attachments that you want to recover. Click Recover to PC or Recover to Device to decide where you'd like to restore them.

2. Can you get iMessage back once deleted?

Yes. You can restore deleted text messages on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac by restoring them with an iCloud backup.

3. How to set up iMessage on iPhone?

Steps on how to enable iMessage on iPhone 8:

  • Go to the Settings app on your new iPhone.
  • Scroll down and tap on Messages.
  • Slide iMessage to On and wait for it to activate.

4. How do I see old iMessages on my Mac?

Here are the steps to see deleted iMessages on Mac:

  • Navigate to Finder > Go Menu.
  • Type in ~/Library and press the Go button.
  • In the Library folder, choose the Messages Folder.

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Updated by Brithny

Brithny is a technology enthusiast, aiming to make readers' tech lives easy and enjoyable. She loves exploring new technologies and writing technical how-to tips. In her spare time, she loves sharing things about her game experience on Facebook or Twitter.

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Written by Tracy King

Tracy became a member of the EaseUS content team in 2013. Being a technical writer for over 10 years, she is enthusiastic about sharing tips to assist readers in resolving complex issues in disk management, file transfer, PC & Mac performance optimization, etc., like an expert.

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