Text Messages Are Disappearing? Fix

It seems that some users are experiencing this problem. The problem is that the Messages app stops working properly for some users after updating their iPhone or iPad devices to the latest iOS software version or after restarting their devices. More specifically, here are the some symptoms that users are having:

  1. The Messages app is only showing a blank, white screen, meaning all messages (text – SMS- and iMessages) seem to have disappeared and gone; however still red number badge indicates that there are some new messages.
  2. Unable to send and receive new messages
  3. The send (green or blue) arrow button is not working
  4. Text message notifications and previews on the lock screen seem to be working

messages app blank

See also: Cannot Send or Receve Messages on Your Mac?

Text messages disappeared from iPhone or iPad?

Use these steps if the Messages app stops responding, or you encounter a problem while trying to access your messages. After each step, please check to see if your is resolved.

  1. Restart your device. You may do so by going to Settings > General > Shut Down (iOS 11 or later)
  2. Force restart your device. Read this article to learn how you can do this.
  3. Turn on Airplay mode and wait a few seconds and turn it back off.
  4. Go to Settings > Messages > Keep Messages and select 30 days (note that this option will delete your old messages, you may skip this if you do not want to that) and tap Delete.delete older messages
  5. Go to Settings > Messages and turn off iMessage and then MMS Messaging and wait a few seconds and turn them back on.Messages app settings
  6. Update your device to the latest version of iOS. You can do that wirelessly by going to Settings  >  General > Software Update.
  7. The last option is that you do a Factory Reset on the iPhone and restore from a recent backup file, if you still have this problem. Here is how:
    1. Before you do anything, make sure that you have a backup file. You can check this by going to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud > Storage > Manage Storage > Back ups, where you can see all of your backups.
    2. If you want, especially if you do not have any back up, you can back up your device. Go to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud > iCloud Backup and then tap Back Up Now (note that you can turn on iCloud Backup to automatically back up your device).
    3. Now you have a backup file, simply go to Settings > General > Reset, then tap “Erase all content and settings.” Simply follow the instructions. Make sure that you select Restore from iCloud Backup.

See also: Messages not in the right order?

Dr. Serhat Kurt worked as a Senior Technology Director. He holds a doctoral degree (or doctorate) from the University of Illinois at Urbana / Champaign and a master’s degree from Purdue University. Here is his LinkedIn profile.

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45 thoughts on “Text Messages Are Disappearing? Fix”

  1. The same thing happened to me. Very important text messages and they seem to still be disappearing. I have iCloud storage but nothing I have done had helped. This all stared about 1 month ago. They are deleting the same people over and over. Help

    Reply
  2. I powered on my phone and went to my messages and blink; they were gone. I tried resetting my phone, and that didn’t work. I sent a message to one of my contacts and the message thread came back… Apple needs to fix this stat

    Reply
    • I am also experiencing the same problems!
      I’m 66 years old and I am trying to understand how Technology can help me but I’m just asking for a little help with my phone from you Guys.
      Thank you 🙏

      Reply
  3. I have an iphone 8 on iOS 13.3.1. Two days ago I lost all messages older than a day just on ONE contact. All the others I have checked have all their messages (I have keep forever selected). I’ve got gigs and gigs of free storage on my phone. Unfortunately, I was not backing up messages on iCloud (I am now). Anyone know what’s going on?

    Reply
    • Have you figure out what happened yet? The same thing just happened to me randomly and I’m not happy… it was the wrong person to get deleted.

      Reply
  4. I kept text messages back and forth from contractors showing what I paid them (cash) and had them text me back to verify it. Now only about 1/4 of my text messages are there. Only ones maybe a month old. What the hell happened?

    Reply
  5. I have IPhone 11…lost all text messages from my 3 most important contacts!!! Just disappeared and can’t be restored. I’m beyond upset!!!!!!

    Reply
  6. Wow, This is BAD. I had many texts saved for legal purposes…. all gone. I also lost photos I wanted. I have iPhone 11 Max Plus which was not inexpensive. Never had this problem with older versions. Really sucks. Class action suit possible here maybe.

    Reply
    • I agree. I had money sent in my text message for me to deposit to Applepay. Didnt get to do it, now I dont know where that money is.

      Reply
  7. Yup same has happened to me. I have tried everything. Years worth of texts family and business just magically disappeared and nothing I do can get them back. I even tried the back up function and completely started from scratch. Nothing. I hate apple

    Reply
    • I turned on i-message, restarted the phone and messages all came back.
      Kept my data/wifi connection on while doing so.

      good luck!

      Reply
  8. iPhone X , I have been putting things to remember in a text to myself and they have disappeared. How can I get them back? 9102009518

    Reply
  9. I have to restart my phone about once a week when this happens. All of a sudden, text screen goes blank. Once I restart they all come back. Why is this happening and how do we fix it???

    Reply
  10. Again, I am finding random messages – years worth gone.On September 15th I wrote about this and still complete silence from Apple. What the hell, I have done everything this site said to do to retrieve them and nothing.

    Thanks a lot Apple….

    Reply
    • I can get zero help from Apple. I have to restart several times a day. I got a new phone, set up as a new phone, and got a new SIM card. Still having this issue.

      Reply
  11. 2 of my text message threads suddenly disappeared yesterday. Nothing I did, just GONE!
    I reset my phone and used the icloud backup form the night before, however, those 2 text message threads DID NOT appear!!! I’m determined to get these text messages back. This is so frustrating. How can I get these texts back???

    Reply
    • Were you able to receive the message threads? I’m currently having an issue in which selective messages are not being downloaded to my iMac. It’s fine on both my iPhone and MacBook, but for some strange reason my iMac is giving me problems… and I just received it!

      Reply
    • Hi Susan, I too have had problems with lost/disappearing messages. I currently have four contacts that I have lost ALL MESSAGES-years worth of messages. This has to be a glitch with Apples last two updates. I have tried to get help but of course you have to pay for it and I truly don’t think they have a ‘fix’ for this issue.

      Reply
  12. just lost a lot of messages – went into settings and see it was set to delete after 30 days! except I didnt set it. I had set to keep forever – and my phone is kept locked so no one else changed this.

    Reply
  13. How’s this for poor tech. My text messages with my wife disappeared one year to the day after we met. All the pictures and flirting we did as a new couple is gone. Thanks for the memory erase Apple

    Reply
  14. my sms were supposed to stay “forever” but thanks to apple’s poor technology – they disappeared without any “wrong” doing from my side. Since, I have gone through countless articles as how to recover your lost sms messages. All these articles, I found them absolutely useless. They do not fix anything. At the end all of them will refer you to a third party who sells an app which they claim it fixes the issue. Shame on iphone and apple.

    Reply
  15. It Worked!
    Turning off iMessage and SMS messages from settings, waiting 15 seconds and then turning them back on…. restored all my text message history!
    Thank You 🙏

    Reply
  16. Suddenly lost a couple of years worth of important text messages — business stuff and the like, and the only ones that are showing are from last month. The phone was not set to delete the missing texts either.
    Tried a commercial app. (phonerescue) but they’re simply not showing up on that either and when I compare my iTunes backups there’s a five or six year gap (they’re there right up to 2015 and nothing between then and 2020).
    Very worrying! Have to sleep on it and then go mad!

    Reply
  17. 13 February at least 10 full treads of iMessage and SMS of couple of years is gone. Did everything above nothing happened. They are just lost! Been apple store for a Mac book pro issue they said they have to reinstall everything because there is a bug which erase randomly, and my computer is one of them. I said how is it possible that I have not received a message from apple for this very grave issue he could not know. Hard copy of everything is necessary

    Reply
  18. Coincidentally after reading the article about Apple getting fined for slowing phones to force people to buy new ones, my messages have left. Tried turning off both messaging choices, tried turning phone off & on – still gone. Last payment on phone was December….🤔🤔🤔😡

    Reply
  19. A number of my text messages ( whole threads) disappeared. Others are perfectly Ok. My phone is set to keep text messages forever.
    Please help. Many of the messages are important I need to get them back.

    Reply
  20. I lost all the text messages, GIFS and photos from a favorite contact. Spent months with a senior advisor from Apple Care trying to restore but to no avail. Gave up then it happened again; never found cause.I payed a monthly fee for iCloud storage to prevent this. It’s so upsetting. Ready to trash phone.

    Reply
    • Same thing has happened to me. Very upset with Apple. they are no longer the customer friendly, customer caring company they once were. There products and their customer service have greatly diminished in quality. I can see in icloud, that at least some of my text messages still exist, but have to buy another phone to use to try to get them. Just ridiculous! Completely unacceptable.

      Reply
  21. It worked!!!! I now have all my deleted messages back!!! I’m forever grateful!!! Than you !!
    🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼😅😅🙏🏼🙏🏼😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅😅 🙏🏼

    Reply
  22. Same issue. Did anyone find a fix? I didn’t have anything backed up so I am nervous about resetting. I’ve read their are third party restoring methods but that seems sketchy.

    Reply
  23. Laura- I have the same problem. All my old messages disappeared. But you can still find the text when you do a search, so they are in there. I have not found a solution.

    Reply
  24. All my messages suddenly disappeared for no reason. I tried this, tried hard resetting my phone, and restoring my setting and none of these options worked. The weird part is when I search in my texts it will find texts with certain words in them but I can’t click on them. help!

    Reply
  25. Thank you! I was in a texting conversation and suddenly the spinning wheel appeared on my phone and the screen went blank as though the battery was out of charge. I quickly plugged it in and still had 35% on the battery. When I tried to resume my texting, I noticed I was only able to view the messages I had sent in the last few minutes. All of my previous messages were missing. I followed your directions by turning off “imessage and MMS messaging” and then turning them back on. Everything was restored at that point.

    Thanks sooooooooo much! Now if I only understood what caused this to happen. So strange!

    Reply

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