How to Recover Deleted Messages on Facebook Messenger

There's a chance you can still retrieve these messages

What to Know

  • Download your Facebook data. A copy may still be there.
  • Check if you archived it instead of deleting it. Tap your profile and select Archived Chats.
  • When you delete a message in Facebook Messenger, it's permanently deleted.

This article explains some workarounds for retrieving a deleted Facebook Messenger message. These include checking to see if you archived it, downloading your Facebook data in the hopes that your message is still on the server, and asking your contact for a copy of the conversation.

Check to See if the Message Is Archived

An archived message in Messenger is hidden from your inbox but isn't permanently deleted. It's possible that when you deleted the message, you selected Archive instead of Delete. When you slide your finger on a chat, the options are Archive and More (which contains Delete), so it's an easy mistake to make.

Check Archived Messages in the iOS Messenger App

To check to see if you archived your message instead of deleting it in the iOS Messenger app:

  1. Open the Messenger app on your iPhone or iPad.

  2. Tap your profile picture.

  3. Tap Archived Chats.

  4. If the chat were archived, you would see it here. Swipe across it with your finger from right to left and select Unarchive to return it to your active Messenger chats.

    Path to unarchive chats in iOS Messages app

Check Archived Messages in Facebook in a Browser

If you access Facebook.com in your favorite computer browser, here's how you check (and maybe retrieve) an archived message.

  1. Open Facebook in a web browser.

  2. Select the Messenger icon at the top of the page.

    Messenger icon selected on Facebook.com web page
  3. Choose See all in Messenger at the bottom of the Messenger list.

    Messenger list at Facebook.com showing See All in Messenger selection
  4. Click the three-dot menu icon next to Chats and select Archived Chats in the menu.

    Chat drop-down menu showing Archived Chats
  5. If you see the message you are looking for, respond to the chat to move it back to the Messenger active chat list.

    Responding to an archived chat on Facebook

Download Your Facebook Data

Facebook keeps messages you delete for an unspecified period before they remove them from its servers, so you may be able to find deleted messages by downloading your Facebook data.

Download Facebook Data in the iOS Messenger App

You can request that Facebook send you a copy of your data on its website or only of the messages. There is a chance that some of your deleted messages might be included. Here's how to request your data using the iOS Messenger app.

  1. Launch the Messenger app and tap your image at the top of the screen.

  2. Scroll down and select Account Settings.

  3. Scroll to the Your Facebook Information section and tap Download Profile Information.

    Messenger app in iOS showing Download information location
  4. In the screen that opens, place a checkmark next to Messages. You may want to uncheck the other categories. The report will contain your data for the ones you check.

  5. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and tap Create File. Facebook prepares the report and contacts you when it is ready. While you wait, your request appears as "Pending." If you only request your Messenger data, the wait is brief.

    Facebook Messages App with Messages chosen for download
  6. Examine the report for the message you hope to retrieve.

Download Facebook Data on the Facebook Website

You can also request your Facebook data, including your Messages, from the Facebook website on a computer. Here's how:

  1. Open Facebook in a web browser.

  2. Select the down arrow on the upper-right corner of your Facebook page and select Settings & Privacy in the menu.

    Facebook website showing Settings & Privacy listing
  3. Choose Settings on the screen that opens.

    Settings chosen on the Facebook website
  4. Select Privacy in the Settings sidebar.

    Facebook website with Privacy selected in the Settings sidebar
  5. Select Your Facebook Information in the Privacy sidebar.

    Your Facebook Information option in the Privacy sidebar
  6. Go to the Download Profile Information section and select View.

    Download Profile Information option on Facebook
  7. Select Messages if it isn't already checked. Deselect any other category you don't want to download. Select Create File.

    Download Your Information screen in Facebook
  8. When the report is complete, Facebook notifies you that it is ready for download. Check it for the deleted messages you seek.

Ask Your Contact

Even if you are unsuccessful in retrieving the message, your contact may still have a copy of the chat. Ask that person to send the messages back to you or take a screenshot of the conversation thread and send you the image.

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