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10 Ways to Fix Can't Search for Old Texts in Messages on iPhone

DoubtUser Concern

“Since updating to iOS 15 on my iPhone XR, I am unable to search my messages for previous content. Any letter or word entered turns up 0 search results. Anyone else have this problem and know a fix?”

Many iPhone users have complained that they can't search for old texts messages on iPhone after upgrading the device to most recent iOS 15.

For users who are accustomed to chat or communicate with others via text messages, they must have created a large amount of text messages on their device. It will turn into a problem when they cannot search for old text messages on iPhone. 

If you are having this problem, do not worry. We will offer you effective methods to fix the text message searching problem on iPhone in this post.

1. Best Way to Search Old Messages on iPhone

If you are looking for the most quick and convenient way to search text messages or iMessages on your iPhone, then FoneGeek iPhone Data Recovery software is here for you.

You can search and preview not only the old text messages but also the deleted messages as well with this software. And it is completely free to preview these files.

Other data types such as photos, videos, contact, call logs, WhatsApp messages, notes, voice memos, etc could also be searched and previewed.


Step 1. On your computer (Windows or Mac), download and install this iOS Data Recovery software, then launch it and choose "Recover Data from iOS Devices".

iphone recovery

Step 2. Connect your iPhone 12/11/XS/XR/XS Max or other models of iOS devices to computer. You will need to tap "Trust This Computer" on your device's scren.

trust this computer

Step 3. Once the device is connected, all the types of files will be listed on the screen. Select "Messages" and click on "Scan" to begin scanning the entrie text messages on your iPhone.

start scan iphone

Step 4. When the searching process is done, you will be able to view all the text messages and iMessages under the category of "Messages and Attachments". Tick the messages you want to and click "Recover to PC".

preview photos ios

2. Rebuild Search Index

You can try to rebuilt your search index to reclaim old texts in Messages. Here's how to do it:

  1. Go to Settings > Siri & Search > Message and toggle off "Show Siri Suggestions in App" and "Show in Search".

  2. Restart your iPhone and go back to Settings > Siri & Search > Message to toggle on "Show Siri Suggestions in App" and "Show in Search" again.

  3. Wait for a few minutes, the device will rebuild your search index. Then go to the Message app and check if you can search for old messages.

siri and search settings for message app

3. Change Language Settings

It happens a lot that you can't search for texts messages on iPhone after iOS 14 update due to imporper language settings. If it is exactly the reason, then change the language settings could be advisable.

  1. Open the Settings app and choose the General option.

  2. Tap on "Language & Region" and select a different language that you want to change to.

  3. Then go to Settings > Siri & Search > Language and change to the same language.

  4. After changing the language for a few minutes, search the old text messages again.

change iphone language

If it doesn't work, then repeat the steps of this method or jump to the methods below.

4. Turn iMessage Off and On to Reactivate

If changing the language settings didn't work to solve the old message search issue, you can try to toggle iMessage off and on again to fix it. Here's what you need to do:

  1. Head to Settings > Messages > iMessage and turn it off.

  2. Wait for some time and turn iMessage back on.

turn off imessage

5. Turn Off and Turn On Spotlight Search

Spotlight can help you quickly search devices, Apple Store and internet on iPhone. It greatly shortens the searching process. But this searching feature can sometimes affect the text message searching and result in the issue of "can't search for text messages on iPhone". To bypass this issue, you can disable Spotlight and re-enable it.

  1. Go to Settings > General to turn on Spotlight Search.

  2. Here are 2 searching options: Suggestions in Look Up and Suggestions in Search. Toggle off the 2 options and toggle them on.

turn off and turn on iphone spotlight

6. Turn Off Messages in iCloud

Another step you can try to solve the issue of "can't search for old text messages on iPhone" is turning off Messages in iCloud. By doing that, you can download all messages to your iPhone and force the Message app to re-index. Follow the steps below to trun off Messages in iCloud:

  1. Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud, scroll down to find Messages.

  2. Turn Messages off and choose "Disable and Download Messages" when prompted.

  3. Wait for your iPhone to complete the download and begin indexing. Once it is done, go to the Messages app and try to search for old messages.

messages in icloud

If the message searching issue has been resolved, you can turn Messages in iCloud back on.

7. Reset iPhone to Default Settings

Resetting iPhone to default settings will allow you to search old text messages on iPhone. But this method is only recommended when your iPhone is backed up before, as all the data include the device data and app date will be erased.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.

  2. Go to General and tap on the option of "Reset".

  3. Tap on "Erase All Content and Settings" and enter your iCloud information if prompted.

erase all content and settings

The reset process will get started after the iCloud password in confirmed.

8. Using Siri to Search Recent Text Messages

You can try to think differently if you still can't search for old texts in messages after iPhone update. An inbuilt feature could do that: Siri. It is very easy to ask Siri to search for old texts in messages. However, it has very obvious shortcomings that you can only access the most recent text messages via Siri.

  1. Activate Siri by pressing the Home or Side button for 2 seconds.

  2. Ask Siri the question of "Can I check my text messages". Then Siri will search through the latest texts in message app and show them to you.

use siri to search iphone messages

9. Access Old Texts in Messages on Mac

If you have enabled iMessage and sync your iPhone with Mac, you will have access to the deleted and existing text messages on your Mac. Here's how to find old text message by date using a Mac:

  1. On your Mac, open Finder and go to Folder, senter the path of /Users/ your username/Library/Messages/Archive/.

  2. You will view many text message folders saved there. Locate one folder you want based on the creating time.

  3. Open the folder and double-click the .ichat file to open it.

mac messages folder

10. Using iOS Repair Tool (Highest Recovery Rate)

The last but best method we recommend is using a reliable iOS repair tool. You can use FoneGeek iOS System Recovery if you still cannot access old texts in Messages. Any iOS issues could be bypassed with this tool and it will keep your data safe after the repair process. This program is highly recommended by CNET, Software.Informer, Filehorse, GetDroidTips, Lera Blog and many other media sites.


Now you can take a look at the steps below:

Step 1. Download and install the iOS repair tool on your computer. Launch it and choose "Standard Mode" on the first Window.

choose repair mode

Step 2. Connect your iPhone to the computer and wait for the program to detect it. After that, download the firmware and start to repair.

connect ios device

download firmware


When you are stuck in the trouble of can't search for old texts in Messages after iPhone update to iOS 15, the regular and common methods we mentioned above are worthy to try. You can also leave a comment if you are also having any other issues that are hard to deal with.

Edwin J. Parke
Sunday on Aug 04, 2019, 22:05:06 GMT / Post By Edwin J. Parke to iOS 15

As a professional writer who is interested in technology, Edwin J. Parke has helped thousands of users by offering various tips to solve their problems.

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