For some time now, due to work commitments, you have been able to read messages received on your smartphone only rarely and often in a hurry. This led to an event a little while ago: you unintentionally deleted an entire conversation that you wanted to keep.
Although you immediately realized the mistake, you don’t know how to remedy it and, before making things even worse, you decided to look on the Net for a suitable solution. Well, if this is the case, you are in the right place, at the right time! In the course of this guide, in fact, I will explain to you how to recover a deleted chat in no time on all major messaging platforms.
In most cases, in fact, unintentional gestures lead only to the archiving of messages and not to their actual deletion: I will explain how to access the area dedicated to archived chats and, where possible, how to “bring back” permanently deleted messages. Good reading and good luck with everything!
How to recover a deleted chat on WhatsApp
If you need a hand to recover a deleted chat on WhatsApp without a backup, I think it is necessary to be clear from the start and tell you that, to successfully complete this task, it is essential to have made a prior backup of the conversations, otherwise the success rates are almost zero.
First of all, however, I suggest you take a look at the message archive, i.e. the conversations that are still present in the messaging app but not visible on the main chat screen. As mentioned before, you may have simply archived a conversation by mistake, without actually deleting it from your device.
To check if a conversation is present in the WhatsApp archive, open the application and proceed as indicated below, depending on the device you use.
- Android: Tap on the Chat item at the top, scroll down the screen containing the list of active chats and tap on the Archived item at the bottom. Then locate the conversation to be recovered (if any), make a long tap on its title, and tap the Extract button, depicting a box with an upward arrow, to return the chat to the list of active ones.
- iPhone: Tap on the Chat button at the bottom of the screen, swipe down from the top and select the Archived Chats heading, which appears immediately after. Now, locate the conversation you are interested in, swipe from right to left on its title, and tap the Extract button.
- Computer: on WhatsApp for Computer and WhatsApp Web, you can access archived chats by clicking on the […] button located at the top of the list of active conversations and then on the Archived item, residing in the menu that appears. Then, locate the chat you are interested in, click on the down arrow at its location and choose the option Extract chat from the archive from the menu that appears.
If the chat you are interested in is not present among the archived ones, you will have to proceed with the recovery through a backup made before the deletion of the messages, uninstalling, and reinstalling the app. Here is how to do it.
First, check the availability of a useful backup, which I remind you must have been made before deleting the chat. To make sure, open the messaging app, tap the (⋮) button located in the top right corner and tap the Settings item in the menu that appears.
Now, reach for the Chats > Chat Backup items and take a look at the date of the last Google Drive backup present. If the backup is not useful for your purpose (i.e. if it was made after you deleted the chat), check for any local backup made earlier.
To do this, open the file manager installed on your phone (e.g. Google Files), go to the folder Internal Storage > WhatsApp > Databases (or Internal Storage > Android > Media > com.whatsapp > WhatsApp > Databases) and check the dates of the files named msgstore-[creation_date].1.dbcrypt12: if one of the backups was created before you deleted the chat, you can use it to “bring it back to life”.
Attention, however: after this procedure and regardless of the type of backup used, all conversations made after the date of creation of the backup will be permanently deleted and will be inaccessible. Take this into account before doing anything!
That said, let’s get down to business. As a first step, uninstall the WhatsApp app following the Android procedure (long tap on the app’s icon, drag it to the Uninstall item or the trash can icon that appears on the screen and press the Uninstall button) and then “prepare” your device to restore the old backup.
If you have a copy of your conversations stored on Google Drive, you do not need to do anything at this point; otherwise, if you need to use a local backup, use your file manager to go to the folder Internal Storage > WhatsApp > Databases (or Internal Storage > Android > Media > com.whatsapp > WhatsApp > Databases), locate the file msgstore-[data].1.db.crypt12 (where [date] is the day the backup was created) and rename it to msgstore.db.crypt12
Now, go to the page for applications that have access to your Google account, locate the WhatsApp entry, and remove it from the authorized ones (to force WhatsApp to search for backups on your device and not in the cloud).
At this point, all you have to do is install the app again, downloading it from the Play Store or from the official website (as an APK package), launch it and run the initial setup again: accept the terms of service, proceed with the verification of the phone number and wait for the screen about restoring the previous backup to appear.
Finally, check that the date of the backup complies with the date to which you want to “return”, tap on the Restore button and wait for the recovery of conversations to be completed; tap on the Finish button, configure again the name and profile photo (if necessary) and reach the Chat section, to access again the previously deleted conversations. For more information on
In the case of the iPhone, things are slightly different: since the messaging app does not store local accounts, you need to make sure that the last WhatsApp backup on iCloud was made before you deleted the chat.
To verify this, open WhatsApp on the “apple”, tap on the Settings item located in the lower right corner, tap on the Chat and Chat Backup items, and verify that the date of the most recent backup is useful for you.
I think it is necessary to underline, also this time, that restoring a given backup permanently deletes the conversations made after its creation. Take this into account!
In any case, to restore a deleted chat from a backup, all you need to do is uninstall WhatsApp following the iOS procedure (long tap on the app icon and tap on Delete App and Delete), reinstall it, and follow the initial setup procedure: check your phone number and, when an iCloud backup is detected, tap on Restore Chat History and wait for the restore to complete.
How to recover a deleted chat on Instagram
Have you deleted a chat on Instagram Direct and now you don’t know how to recover it? In this case, I must first point out the limitations of this procedure.
Direct, in fact, is not a real chat application, but a dedicated section of Instagram that resides directly on the server: in other words, this means that the messages are not downloaded to the memory of the device in use but remain available only on the Net and that, once deleted from the server, they cannot be recovered via local copy, sorry (in this regard, beware of data recovery programs that promise to do this: they are, at best, unserious software that does not keep its promises; at worst, real scams weaving to steal victims’ data).
If, however, you want to recover the downloaded multimedia items from Direct chats (by tapping on the respective thumbnail and touching the Save item in the menu that appears), you should know that they are still available in the device’s memory, even after the chat has been deleted.
Generally, you can access these items simply by opening the Instagram folder located in the photo gallery of your device, which you can access, respectively, through one of the many dedicated applications for Android (e.g. Google Photos), or through the Photos app for iOS and iPadOS. More info here.
How to recover a deleted chat on Telegram
If you have accidentally archived a chat on Telegram (just swipe from right to left on the conversation title), deleting it from those visible in the main area dedicated to messages, know that you can make it visible again in a couple of taps.
Telegram, in fact, has a section dedicated to archived messages, a bit hidden but not difficult to reach: if you use Telegram for smartphones and tablets, all you have to do is access the Chat section of the app and swipe down from the top of the screen.
If everything went well, you should see the area dedicated to archived chats: so tap on its title, locate the conversation you want to recover, swipe left on its preview and tap the Extract button (if necessary), to make it visible again.
On Telegram for computers, on the other hand, the area dedicated to archived chats is available at the top of the conversation list: click on Archived Messages, locate the chat you’re interested in, right-click on its preview, and select Extract from the context menu.
You haven’t archived the chat but deleted it directly? Don’t despair: the Telegram apps for Android and iOS/iPadOS allow you to recover a deleted chat on Telegram within 5 seconds of its deletion.
In practice, right after deleting the chat, a 5-second message should appear at the bottom of the screen: to recover the deleted chat on the fly, tap the Undo item located on the message in question.
If unfortunately, more than five seconds have passed and the message is no longer visible, there’s not much else you can do, except ask the person you’re talking to to “turn over” the messages again or take a screenshot of the conversation you’re interested in, sorry.
How to recover a deleted chat on Messenger
As things stand now, the same argument we’ve already seen for Instagram applies to Messenger: since it’s a completely cloud-based messaging app, permanently deleted conversations can’t be easily recovered, as they’re not downloaded locally in the app, let alone in the browser.
If, on the other hand, you want to retrieve deleted messages from the “main” chat list using the Archive function, know that this is a very simple operation to complete: after opening the Messenger app for Android, iOS and iPadOS, tap on your personal image located in the upper left corner and select Archived Chats from the menu that appears. To restore a conversation, make a long tap on it and choose Undo archiving from the menu that appears.
In the web version of Messenger and in the Messenger app for Windows 10, you can access the list of archived chats by clicking on the button […] located next to your personal image (top left)