How to Turn Off Auto Delete Messages on an iPhone: A Step-by-Step Guide

Turning off auto-delete messages on an iPhone is a simple process. You just need to head to Settings, find Messages, and adjust the Keep Messages option under Message History. This will ensure that your messages are not automatically deleted after a certain period.

After completing this action, your messages will remain on your iPhone until you decide to delete them manually. This can be beneficial if you like to keep records of conversations or if you frequently refer back to old messages for information.


Have you ever had that sinking feeling when you realize a crucial text message has disappeared from your iPhone? It’s a common scenario, and it’s usually thanks to a feature called ‘auto-delete’. This feature is designed to help manage storage on your iPhone by automatically deleting older messages after a certain period. However, for many of us, our messages are precious, and we’d rather decide ourselves when it’s time to let them go.

Whether it’s a sentimental conversation with a loved one or an important piece of information you need to keep, learning how to turn off auto-delete messages on an iPhone is vital. This article is for anyone who has faced the frustration of losing important messages and wants to take control of their message history.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Turn Off Auto Delete Messages on an iPhone

Before we dive into the steps, it’s worth noting that this feature is designed to help you manage storage by automatically deleting messages after a certain period. By turning this off, you’re choosing to manage your message storage manually.

Step 1: Open Settings

Open the Settings app on your iPhone.

The Settings app is the one with the gear icon, typically found on your home screen. If you can’t find it, swipe down on the home screen and use the search feature to locate it.

Step 2: Scroll to Messages

Scroll down and tap on Messages to access the message settings.

Messages is listed among other apps like Phone, Mail, and Safari. It’s the green icon with a white speech bubble.

Step 3: Tap Keep Messages

Under the Message History section, tap Keep Messages.

This is where you can adjust how long messages are kept before they’re deleted.

Step 4: Select ‘Forever’

You’ll see options for 30 days, 1 year, or Forever. Tap Forever to turn off auto-delete.

By selecting Forever, you’re indicating that you want to keep your messages indefinitely, or at least until you decide to delete them yourself.


More Storage ControlTurning off auto-delete gives you the power to manage your message storage manually, ensuring that you only delete messages when you’re ready.
Retain Important MessagesYou’ll never have to worry about losing an important message because it was automatically deleted.
Keep MemoriesKeeping your messages forever means you can look back on cherished conversations and relive memories as often as you like.


Manual Deletion RequiredWith auto-delete turned off, you’ll need to remember to delete messages manually to avoid storage issues.
Potential Storage ProblemsIf you’re not diligent about deleting unneeded messages, you could run into storage problems on your iPhone.
Privacy ConcernsKeeping messages indefinitely can pose a privacy risk if your phone falls into the wrong hands.

Additional Information

While turning off auto-delete messages on your iPhone can be a relief for many, it’s important to remember that this means you are now responsible for managing your message history. This can be a double-edged sword – you have the freedom to keep messages for as long as you want, but it also means you need to be proactive in deleting messages to prevent your iPhone from running out of storage.

One helpful tip is to periodically review your messages and delete any that are no longer needed. This can be a good opportunity to reminisce on past conversations while also keeping your phone clutter-free. Also, consider backing up your messages to iCloud or another storage service if they’re particularly important – this way, even if you do need to delete them from your phone, you’ll still have a copy stored safely elsewhere.

Another tip is to utilize the search function within the Messages app to quickly find and delete large message threads or attachments that are taking up a lot of space. Lastly, be mindful of privacy and security. Messages that are not auto-deleted remain on your device and can be accessed by anyone with physical access to your phone. Consider enabling additional security measures such as a strong passcode or biometric authentication to protect sensitive information.


  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Scroll down to find and tap on Messages.
  3. Under Message History, tap Keep Messages.
  4. Select the Forever option to turn off auto-delete.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I turn off auto-delete?

If you turn off auto-delete, your messages will remain on your iPhone until you decide to delete them manually.

Will turning off auto-delete affect all my messages?

Yes, it will apply to all messages, including SMS, MMS, and iMessages.

Can I still delete messages manually if I turn off auto-delete?

Absolutely! You can delete individual messages or entire conversations whenever you choose.

Will turning off auto-delete slow down my iPhone?

It could if you allow your message storage to become too full. Be sure to manage your messages manually to prevent this.

Is there a way to automatically back up messages before they are auto-deleted?

Yes, you can enable iCloud backup for messages or use third-party services to back up your messages regularly.


Maintaining control over your message history on your iPhone is as simple as tweaking a few settings. Turning off auto-delete messages on an iPhone ensures that your cherished memories, important information, and all your texts stay right where you want them until you decide it’s time for them to go.

Remember, with this newfound control comes the responsibility of managing your phone’s storage, but the peace of mind knowing that no message will disappear without your say-so is well worth the trade-off. So go ahead, take control of your messages, and never worry about an auto-delete catching you off guard again.

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