It’s the rare text message (aka SMS) that we want to save for more than a few hours or a day or two. Most text messages are quick, disposable, and ready for deletion not long after they’ve been read and replied to.
When it comes to deleting texts from your iPhone, you’ve got a couple of options. But when you delete them, make sure you mean it – there’s no getting texts back after you delete them.
The iPhone treats text messages as conversations, showing the messages you send and receive in word balloons. You can delete an entire conversation or just individual entries within a conversation.
Delete an Entire Conversation
- To delete an entire iPhone SMS conversation, tap the Messages app (it’s on your home screen, unless you re-arranged your icons).
- If you were in a conversation when you last used the app, you’ll see it. Tap the arrow at top left (or the Messages menu, depending on your version of the iOS) to go to list of conversations. If you weren’t already in a conversation, you’ll see the list of all conversations.
- Find the conversation you want to delete. In iOS 6 or earlier, swipe left to right. In iOS 7 or later, swipe right to left. (You can also tap the Edit button at top of the screen and then tap the red circle at the left.)
- A Delete button appears. Tap it to delete that entire conversation.
Delete Individual Text Messages
If you want to leave your conversation intact, but simply delete a few messages from within it, you can also do that.
- To delete individual messages from within a conversation, enter the conversation that has the messages you want to delete.
- Within the conversation, you do different things depending on your version of the iOS. In iOS 6 and lower, tap the Edit button at top right. In iOS 7 and higher, tap and hold on a message until the menu pops up. Then tap More.
- Next to each message, a small circle will appear.
- To mark a message for deletion, tap the circle next to it. It will fill with a checkbox, indicating that it will be deleted.
- Check all the messages you want to delete.
- When you’re ready, tap the Delete (or Delete All, depending on your version of the iOS) button.
If you tapped Edit or More by mistake and don’t want to delete any texts, don’t tap any of the circles - just tap Done or Cancel (depending on your version of the iOS) to exit.
Want tips like this delivered to your inbox every week? Subscribe to the free weekly iPhone/iPod email newsletter.