How to Get Rid of Sent Text Messages on the iPhone

Text conversations display only the last 50 messages until you load more.
... Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Text messages you send or receive on the iPhone remain in the Messages application until you delete them. When you’re ready to purge them, you have options – either erase text messages individually or remove the conversations that contain them. It doesn’t matter whether you’re deleting SMS text messages or MMS messages with audio, photo or video attachments; the steps you take are the same.

1 Delete Individual Messages

2 Touch the Messages app on your home screen

Touch the “Messages” app on your home screen. The screen displays a list of all your text message conversations with individuals and groups.

3 Tap open a conversation

Tap open a conversation from which you’d like to erase a specific text message. Your outgoing text messages appear within blue or green bubbles aligned to the right of the screen, while recipients' incoming text messages appear in gray bubbles aligned to the left.

4 Then choose More

Press and hold -- or double-tap -- an unwanted text message and then choose “More” from the pop-up options. A check mark appears beside the message to confirm your selection. To remove other superfluous text messages from the conversation, tap their selection circles to mark them with checks also.

5 Touch the trash can icon

Touch the trash can icon, followed by “Delete Message” to delete the unwanted text message or messages. Tap “Cancel” instead if you change your mind.

6 Delete Conversations

7 Tap the Messages app

Tap the “Messages” app to view a list of your text conversations and find the one you want to remove. Conversations marked with a blue circle indicate that they haven’t been read entirely, so you may want to avoid deleting those just yet.

8 Swipe left over the unwanted conversation

Swipe left over the unwanted conversation. Alternatively, tap “Edit” above the messages list, followed by the red Minus icon that appears next to the unwanted conversation. A red Delete button displays beside the message.

9 Delete to

Tap “Delete” to erase the entire conversation. All its outgoing and incoming text messages disappear.

  • Information in this article applies to iPhones running iOS 7. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.
  • To avoid deleting an iPhone conversation too hastily, mark any text message within it with a check mark and then tap “Delete All” at the top of the screen. You then get a chance to confirm or cancel the action.
  • You may be able to retrieve accidentally deleted text messages or conversations from recent iPhone backups. For that reason, it’s a good idea to back up your device on iCloud or iTunes just before you embark on a massive cleanup of the Messages app.

Since 1988, Diana Faustmann has been writing on technology, business and culture. Her articles have appeared in various print publications, corporate websites and authoritative online sites. Faustmann holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of the Philippines.