How to Delete Messages on iPhone 14/13/12 (iOS 16)

This guide will tell you how to delete messages on iPhone, including the methods to delete messages on iPhone from both sides.

Lena by Lena Updated July 5, 2023
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Are you overwhelmed by the abundance of text messages on your iPhone? If so, it might be a good idea to declutter by removing conversations that have come to an end.

Delete messages on iPhone

Fortunately, deleting messages on your iPhone is a simple process. Here in this guide, I’ll show you how to delete messages on iPhone. Whether you want to delete specific texts, entire conversations or all messages, you will find a way to do it here.

Part 1. How to delete messages on iPhone

Let’s start to see how to delete text messages on iPhone. Within the Messages app on your iPhone, you have the ability to delete both individual messages and entire conversations. Moreover, if you have enabled Messages in iCloud, deleting content from your iPhone will also result in its removal from your other Apple devices with Messages in iCloud activated.

💡 It is important to note that when you delete messages, it only affects your personal conversations and does not impact the messages stored on your recipients' devices.

How to delete individual messages on iPhone

  • Open the Messages app > Locate and tap on the specific conversation containing the messages you wish to delete.
  • Once the conversation is open, press and hold the message you want to remove until a menu appears and select "More" option.
  • Tap the circle next to each message you want to delete. As you select a message, a checkbox will appear, indicating that it will be deleted > Mark the circles next to all the messages you wish to remove.
  • Locate and tap the trash can icon, typically found at the bottom left or right corner of the screen.
  • A pop-up menu will appear, tap  "Delete X Messages" option to confirm the deletion.

Delete slected messages

How to delete an entire conversation

  • Open the Messages app > Locate the specific conversation you wish to delete.
💡 If you were previously in a conversation, tap the back arrow (or the Messages button, depending on iOS version) located in the top left corner to navigate to the list of conversations.
  • Swipe from right to left across the conversation.
  • A "Trash" option will appear on the right side of the conversation. Tap on it.
  • A confirmation prompt will appear, asking you to confirm the deletion. Tap "Delete" to proceed or "Cancel" if you change your mind.

Delete conversations

Part 2. How to delete all messages on iPhone

To delete all messages on your iPhone, follow these steps:

  • Open the Messages app on your iPhone.
  • Tap the three-dots icon > choose Select Messages. This will enable the selection mode, and you'll see checkboxes appear next to each message.
  • Select the messages you want to remove by tapping on the checkboxes next to them. After selecting the desired messages, tap "Delete" at the lower right corner of the screen.
  • Confirm the deletion by tapping on "Delete" in the pop-up menu.

Quickly delete all messages on iPhone

If you don't want your text messages to be recovered by any tool, then you can use FoneTool to help you delete them completely. FoneTool is one easy-to-use iOS data management tool for Windows users. Its Privacy Erasure feature allows you to deeply erase the messages to ensure they are not recovered.

Let’s see how to delete all messages on iPhone via FoneTool.

  • Download, install and launch FoneTool > Plug in your iPhone.
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  • Choose Toolbox > Choose Data Eraser.
  • Go to Erase private data and click Get Started.

Erase private data

  • Select Messages > Enable Deep Erase Technology if deeded > Click Start Erase.

Erase messages

In case you may need the messages in the future, you can go to Phone Backup to backup your messages before deleting them.

Backup messages with FoneTool

Part 3. How to delete messages on iPhone automatically

To automatically delete old messages on your iPhone, you can utilize a feature that allows you to set a specific timeframe for message retention. Here's how you can do it:

  • Open the Settings app on your iPhone Scroll down and tap on "Messages".
  • In the "MESSAGE HISTORY" section, you'll find an option called "Keep Messages" Tap on it.
  • You will be presented with three choices: "30 Days", "1 Year" and "Forever"
💡 Choosing "30 Days" will automatically delete messages that are older than one month. Opting for "1 Year" will delete messages that are older than one year.
  • Select the desired option based on your preference.

Keep Messages settings

It's important to note that when messages are deleted after the specified timeframe, any attachments within those messages will also be deleted.

Part 4. How to delete messages on iPhone from both sides

If you happen to realize an error in a message you've sent, then you may want to know how to delete messages on iPhone from both sides. Fortunately, iOS 16 now allows you to edit or delete messages that have already been sent. This feature proves particularly useful for rectifying any accidental messages sent to the wrong recipient.

Initially, the time window for deleting such messages matched the 15-minute limit for editing. However, Apple made a subsequent adjustment to reduce the limit to just 2 minutes. This change was implemented to prevent potential misuse or abuse of the feature.

By long-pressing the message, a menu will appear, offering various options. Look for the "Undo Send" option within the menu and tap on it.

Undo Send

As you select this option, you'll observe a brief animation indicating the message's disappearance. Additionally, a line of text will appear in the thread, notifying all participants that a message has been removed. This convenient feature allows you to promptly address any messaging mistakes and maintain clear and accurate communication with others.

Part 5. How to delete messages on iPhone permanently

When you delete messages on your iPhone, they are not immediately permanently removed. Instead, they are transferred to the "Recently Deleted" folder where they are retained for a period of up to 30 days. During this time, you have the option to recover deleted messages if needed. If you wish to permanently remove a message, follow these steps:

  • In the Messages app, tap on "Edit" (or "Filters") located in the top-left corner of the screen.
  • Look for and tap on "Show Recently Deleted" (or "Recently Deleted").
  • This will display the messages and conversations that are currently in the "Recently Deleted" folder.
  • Select the messages or conversations you want to permanently remove by tapping on them.
  • Once you've made your selections, tap on "Delete" > Conform on the pop-up window.

Recently deleted messages

🔸 In addition, you can use FoneTool mentioned in Part 2 to help you permanently delete messages on iPhone.

Final words

That’s all about how to delete messages on iPhone. Usually, you can go to Messages app to delete individual messages or conversations. If needed, you can go to the Recently Deleted folder to delete messages on iPhone permanently. If you want to quickly and safely delete all messages on iPhone, then FoneTool is the way to go.

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