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How to Find Old Messages on iPhone (Without Scrolling)

find old messages on iPhone

Finding old messages on iPhone can be a time-consuming and tedious process, especially for long conversation threads.

Fortunately there are some handy tips that can help you speed up the task and help to view old messages on an iPhone.

We’re going to walk you through the steps of how to find old messages on your iPhone without scrolling.

Find Old Messages using the Search Option

find old messages on iPhone
Tap on the Search Bar to start a search in Messages. Screenshot: Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

If you look at the top of the screen with all your conversation threads, you will see a search bar.

Tap on it, and start typing a particular word or phrase. The conversations that contain this search term, or part of it, will begin filtering out conversations that do not contain these terms.

When you finish typing your search query, the conversations that contain those terms should be the only ones that remain on the list.

It’s possible, depending on how common your search is, you might still have a few options to sort through. But this method will cut down your search significantly.

Find Old Messages by Getting to The Top of The Conversation

Searching for old messages on iPhone
Tap anywhere in the marked area to quickly scroll to the top of the conversation. Screenshot: Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

If you think the message you’re searching for is closer to the beginning of the conversation than to the end, there is a little hack that you can perform to get yourself right to the top of the conversation.

This means you won’t have to scroll up for lengthy periods of time, but can rather scroll down to get to the information you are looking for more quickly.

This is especially helpful if you’re dealing with a lengthy conversation. Getting to the top of the conversation puts you closer to the message you want to find. Here’s how to get to the beginning of a text conversation on your iPhone:

  • Go to the conversation whose old messages you want to read.
  • Tap on the bar at the top of your screen display that contains the battery level, Bluetooth status, and your carrier name.
  • For iPhone X or above, the ones with a the cutout at the top (notch), you can tap at the notch, or either side of the notch.

After you tap at the top, the conversation will be quickly scrolled up to the beginning. Depending on how long the conversation thread is, you may notice a progress indicator.

Wait until it goes away and tap at the top again to scroll up even further. Repeat this process until you find the old message(s) you were looking for.

Find Old Messages With The Hidden Scroll Feature

Let’s say you have a chat conversation that spans 5 years and you’re looking for some messages from sometime in the last year and a half.

Scrolling can become tiresome after a few vertical swipes. Going to the top of the conversation and scrolling down is an even far worse option. 

In this case, the solution is to scroll upwards, but in a much quicker manner. You’ll be jumping over larger swaths of messages in a single scroll. A helpful feature, not very publicized, yet effective, is the hidden scroll feature. To use it follow the steps below.

  • Open the conversation you wish to search.
  • Tap quickly near the top of the screen, particularly on either side of the camera ribbon (either over the signal bars, or the clock in the upper corner.
  • Note that a progress indicator displays and the app scrolls up multiple sets of messages at once.
  • Tap the spot over and over again as the display quickly ascends past portions of the conversation, getting you closer to the portion you need.

This option is more effective than scrolling all the way up to the top of the message you’re looking for is nowhere near there.

However, it’s not quite as effective as having the search filter bring the messages you need to you, rather than you having to look for them.

Wrapping Up

These methods make it simple and easy to find a message in a lengthy chat conversation.

The method you use largely depends on where you think the interesting message resides in the conversation relative to where the current time is. The search option is arguably the quickest, and most efficient, however.

If there are other helpful tips for how to quickly reach a portion of the conversation you’re looking for in a lengthy chat, please comment below and let us know.