How to Recover Deleted Messages on Facebook Messenger

There's a chance you can still retrieve these messages

What to Know

  • When you delete a message in Facebook Messenger, it's permanently deleted.
  • You can recover a Messenger message if you archived it and didn't actually delete it.
  • You may also be able to recover a deleted Messenger message if you download your Facebook data, as a copy may still be there.

This article explains some workarounds if you're trying to retrieve a deleted Facebook Messenger message, such as checking to see if it was merely archived, 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 Merely Archived

An archived message in Messenger is hidden from your inbox but isn't permanently deleted. It's possible that when you tried to delete the message, you selected Hide Chat (iOS) or Archive (Android) instead of Delete Chat. The options both appear after you swipe left on a message, so it's an easy mistake.

If you archived a message with the Android Messenger app, you would have tapped the three horizontal lines and then Archive instead of Delete. With the iOS app (see below), you would have tapped the trash can icon and then selected Hide Chat instead of Delete Chat.

Hiding a chat in Messenger

To check to see if you archived your message instead of permanently deleting it:

  1. Tap Chats.

  2. Search the person's name in the search bar.

    Search Messenger field on Facebook desktop
  3. If the message was archived, the person's name would show up and you could tap it to open a new conversation.

    You can also unarchive the conversation and add it back to your inbox by sending the person a new message.

Download Your Facebook Data

Facebook seems to keep messages you delete for an unspecified period of time before they're completely removed from its servers, so you may be able to still find your deleted messages by downloading your Facebook data if Facebook hasn't completely removed them yet.

You could also ask your contact to download their messages and filter the file to include the missing messages and share the file with you.

  1. On the upper right side of your Facebook page, select the down arrow.

  2. Select Settings Your Facebook Information.

    Your Facebook Information pane
  3. Select Download Your Information, then select View.

  4. At the top of the page, there are options to choose how you would like your download to be formatted, such as HTML.

    Download information formatting options on Facebook
  5. Select Messages if it isn't already checked off. Deselect anything you don't want to download.

    Messages download checkbox on Facebook
  6. Select Create File to start the download. You may be asked for your password.

  7. Once the download is complete, it will be delivered to the email address associated with your account.

Ask Your Contact

Even if the message isn't in your archives, your contact likely still has a copy of the conversation. Ask your contact to forward the messages back to you. Or, ask your contact to take a screenshot of the conversation thread and send you the photo.