It’s way too easy to delete something off your iPhone because you want to preserve space, just to realize you really needed it. Photos have a 30 day period where they just sit in the “Recently Deleted” folder, but what about everything else? What about text messages, for example?
Cloud storage — and iCloud — have helped with the storage constraints of mobile devices, but it’s still all too common for an iPhone or iPad user to feel the squeeze, to wish that there was just a bit more room to add one more movie, or has banged into the wall of being unable to take photos because the “disk is full”. And so you delete things to make room. Makes sense, and it’s just a good habit.
The problem arises when you’re overzealous or are concerned someone else has gone through your iPhone and deleted things, or might have just had a system crash that was hard to remedy. What’s missing? What photos were deleted from your text messages? What notes from your Notes app? What about WhatsApp, Viber or Kik?
This is where DrFone iOS Toolkit (aka DrFone iPhone Data Recovery) is such a useful utility: it analyzes your iPhone and lets you easily recover a wide range of data, from previously deleted video to text messages, sometimes even from six months ago or earlier. Rather than talk about it, however, let’s see how it works on my Windows 10 system, with an Apple iPhone 7 plugged in. It starts with the splash screen:
Some of these features are actually additional programs or utilities you can purchase from Wondershare, but everything on the left is the core featureset of iOS Toolkit. I’m going to just focus on data recovery, particular its ability to recover deleted text messages and attachments, so I’ll click on “Data Recovery“.
It then prompts for an iPhone to be plugged into the PC if it’s not already:
Plug it in with the appropriate cord and wait a few seconds for it to show up to the operating system and then to the program and it’ll move to a screen that shows all the options available for data recovery:
You can analyze existing data on the device in the lower section, the upper section is devoted to identifying and showing deleted data from the device. Notice the categories: messages and attachments, contacts, call history, notes and attachments, calendar and reminder, safari bookmarks, and app specific options: WhatsApp, KiK and Viber. I don’t use the latter three so there’s no point in looking for the data. Instead, you can see what I’ve checked in the above screenshot.
A click on “Start Scan” on the lower right and it starts analyzing the attached phone. At least, for a few seconds, then it pops up a prompt for the device backup password. Don’t have that? You can’t get in (so it’s not a spy tool). Enter the correct password, however, and it’ll continue…
To be candid, it does take some time. Expect 5-10 minutes for a full scan and analysis, particularly if you have a bigger phone like I do and it’s mostly full. After a while the progress bar switches from the bottom of the window to the top, and adds a time completion estimate:
More time passes. And finally it’s done! And you’ll see that you have lots and lots of data on your phone, both deleted and currently accessible (it’s all mixed together). At least, I do:
Notice on the left how many items it’s found. 442 text messages, 1170 message attachments, 1307 contacts, 2365 call history log entries and 55 notes, along with 272 calendar entries. It’s hard to differentiate between data that’s been deleted and data that’s still active but the program has a filter system, as you can see when I click on the “Filter” box to extract just those messages that are deleted:
Even without the deleted data filter, there’s still a lot you can explore. For example, text messages from over two years ago that are still sitting on the phone:
Notice the two options Restore to Device and Recover to Computer. Handy!
Digging through hundreds or thousands of results is tedious, however, so it also turns out you can search for a specific word, phrase, number or other pattern. When I searched the text messages for “vegas”, for example, I found a number of different matches including this old exchange between my friend Roger and myself:
Where this gets particularly interesting, however, is to look at text message attachments. Me? I have over a thousand of them on my iPhone 7 according to Wondershare DrFone iOS Toolkit:
Any – or all! – of them can easily be copied onto my computer by selecting and then clicking “Recover to Computer” on the lower right. Easy!
And, finally, one more section: You can find and restore old Notes too. I use the Notes app quite a bit because of its sync between my computer and all my mobile devices, which is darn handy. But a shopping list from February, 2016? Well, that’s on there too:
If you want a tool that lets you really dig into the data on your iPhone, recover deleted text messages, attachments, Notes, contacts, and even look at your call history from months or even years earlier, then Dr. Fone iOS Toolkit is a really interesting choice. Better, it works great on Windows, letting you also sidestep the confusing and resource-intensive Apple iTunes for Windows. Got an Android phone? There’s a version of Dr. Fone Toolkit for you too.
DrFone iOS Toolkit is a commercial product. A one year license for the iOS Data Recovery toolset is $59.95, or $69.95 for a lifetime license, both for Windows. Want all the iOS tools in the suite? That’s $139.95. And if you’d like to run the software on your Mac system, the prices bump up just a little bit: $69.95 for a one year license, $79.95 lifetime for the data recovery tools, or $159.94 for the entire iOS suite for Mac, lifetime license. Learn more: drfone.wondershare.com