How To Search Through Text Messages on the iPhone

Many of us get so many different text messages over a few weeks or months that it can almost be impossible to find a particular part of a conversation. We could spend hours scrolling and scrolling through messages trying to find it, and never even get close. But what if we told you there was a better way?

How To Search Through Text Messages on the iPhone

Gone are the days of having to manually search through your text and iMessages. Now, there are a number of different ways to automatically search through your messages and only spend seconds doing something that would’ve taken you hours in the past.

In total, there are a couple of different ways to search through your messages on the iPhone. The first way is to directly go into the messages app and search for them. If you have accidentally deleted the message or messages that you wanted to search for, there is even a way to do that (but it will involve the use of a third-party piece of computer software). Without any further ado, let’s take a closer look at these three methods.

Searching Messages Directly in the Messages App

This is the easiest way to sift through your texts. The search option is native to the messaging app so you won’t need any third-party services and it will search your entire history. All you need to perform the following steps is your phone and a keyword.

To search for specific texts, do this:

  1. Tap the Messages app on your home screen.
  2. Once you are in the main messages app (not in a conversation), simply swiping your finger down will expose a search box at the top of the screen.
  3. Enter the keyword(s) that you are looking for in the box and then messages that contain that word or phrase will be shown.
  4. Once you click on the conversation that features the message, it will take you directly to that message and highlight it.

Keep in mind, you can search by the users’ contact name or any keyword. For example, if you’re searching for an address but have no idea of any of the keywords try searching for ‘Street,’ ‘Avenue,’ or even the name of the city. Scroll through the list that appears and tap on the option that closely matches the one you’re looking for.

Searching For Deleted Messages

If the conversations containing the messages you want to look for have been deleted, things get a little bit more difficult. But, you aren’t completely out of luck. In this section we’ll walk you through the steps to search for deleted messages.

The first place you’ll want to look is your other Apple devices. Whether it’s an iPad, an old iPhone, a Mac device, or even an Apple Watch, that’s where we’ll start. A lot of times when you delete a message on your iPhone it is still on another device. Simply open the texting application on any of these devices for your missing texts.

Next, we can check if your messages are backed up to the iCloud (unfortunately, you can’t see the actual texts without doing an iCloud restoral). Open your iPhone and tap on ‘Settings.’ Then, tap on your name at the top, and finally, tap on iCloud. Scroll down and look for the ‘Messages’ option. If your Messages are turned on, it may be worth performing a factory reset and restoring your last iCloud backup. But, this is still a little risky because you may lose some other important piece of information.

Lastly, you can look into third-party software that helps users retrieve deleted messages. This will require you to download and use a computer program. There are many different ones available such as FoneDog and Dr. Fone. Download the program and follow the prompts to eventually find your old messages. See, when we delete messages off of our phone, they actually stay on the phone for a while longer in the background, until space is needed.

Just be wary of which software you choose to use. Many websites promise to deliver results and most charge a fee for the service. You’ll also need to grant the software access to all of your information. Before you try one, be sure to read the reviews and check for a money-back guarantee.

Frequently Asked Questions

Apple is known for its simple and user-friendly interface. But, there’s always something new to learn. If you still have questions, keep reading.

How do I search for texts on a Mac?

The instructions for your iOS and macOS devices are pretty much the same as those we’ve listed above. If you have a Mac and you want to search for messages simply open the text app on your computer and use the search bar to type in keywords.

Unfortunately, unlike mobile devices, macOS doesn’t give us a preview of the message so you’ll have to click on each contact until you find the right one. Unless, of course, you know which contact sent you the message you’re looking for.

How do I copy messages on an iPhone?

Once you’ve found the message you’re looking for you may want to save it to your Notes or send it to a friend. Fortunately, this is simple. From your iPhone, long-press the text and tap ‘Copy.’ Then, head to a new text, your Notes, or wherever you’d like to store the message and long-press anywhere in a blank space to select ‘Paste.’

There are a few things you can do other than copying and pasting the text too. For example, if you want to forward the message to another user simple long-press it then tap ‘More.’ A small arrow icon will appear in the lower right-hand corner. Tap it and select the email or contact for where you’d like to send it.

Can I save a text message on my iPhone?

Unfortunately, there is no way to save a message directly. Having an option to favorite or star a text would be great, we just haven’t come that far in 2021. But, you can forward the message, you can copy, paste, and save the message in your notes, or take a screenshot and save it in your Photos app.

You can save messages in your iCloud by toggling the switch under ‘iCloud’ in Settings (as shown above).

So there you have it, by using one of these three methods, you should have no problem whatsoever trying to find old messages and conversations with ease. It is also a good idea to do your best to not delete messages, as the process to discover and search through deleted messages takes quite a bit longer, as you can see. Saving screenshots of important information and messages is also another way to help you avoid the entire text message search process altogether.

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