How to Fix iPhone Messages Keep Indexing and Attachments not Showing up

How to Fix the Indexing Issues in iPhone Messages

Updating software is necessary for the long life of a device, and however, sometimes these updates can cause changes in our devices that one might not like or changes something that one is very used to. The recent iOS update has seen a similar problem.

After the update, users have reported that old text messages on their iPhones can no longer be accessed and do not show up on a search.

In this day and age, most conversations occur through text, which might cause a lot of stress and worry among users. Fortunately, these messages are not erased from your device and can still be accessed.

What happens is that when an update occurs, only recent conversations are added to the search index for both spotlight searches as well as searches in the application.

This is why older messages are not visible. To solve this problem, all we need to do is rebuild the search index and include previous messages as well.

We have answered all these questions in this guide on how to fix iPhone message indexing errors.

How to Fix the Messages are Indexing on iPhone Error?

If you want to look up older messages and cannot find them or see the message saying, “Messages will be shown once Messages finishes indexing,” then do not worry.

In this article, we will discuss ten different troubleshooting methods you can try at home that will help resolve this issue.

1. Using a Data Recovery Software

Using data recovery software is the simplest and most efficient way to look for old text messages. The data recovery software we suggest is the FoneGeek iPhone Data Recovery software. Through this software, you will be able to search both previous text messages as well as messages that have already been deleted.

Moreover, this software is compatible with both Mac and Windows operating systems, does not come with any added cost, and is free to use. Additionally, you can even lookup other media files such as photos and videos and even call logs and contacts.

To use the FoneGeek iPhone Data Recovery software, follow the steps below.

1. On your computer, download the Data Recovery software. Once the software is downloaded, install it and launch it.

2. Once the device is launched, you will see multiple recovery options available. Choose the one titled ‘Recover Data from iOS Devices.’

3. The next thing you need to do is connect your iOS device to the computer. A dialogue will appear on your phone screen asking you whether you trust the computer. Click on Trust.

4. Once the phone is successfully connected to your laptop, all the data stored on your phone will be presented on your laptop screen.

5. Choose the Messages option.

6. Then click on the option titled Scan. In doing so, the software will start scanning through all the messages on your mobile phone.

7. The scanning process may take a while. Once it is complete, All the text messages from iMessages will be displayed on the screen. All the messages will be displayed under the section named ‘Messages and Attachments.’

8. There will be a checkbox present on top of all the messages and attachments. Select the ones you are looking for. Then click the button present on the bottom end of the screen titled ‘Recover to PC.’

2. Change The Settings Of Your Search Index

The reason why old messages do not show up when you search for them in iMessage is because of the Messages indexing problem that occurs when the update takes place.

Therefore if you change the settings of your messages index and reconfigure it, you will be able to search and lookup old text messages again.

To rebuild the search index of your Messages, follow the steps below.

1. Go to the Settings application on your phone.

2. Scroll down the list of options displayed and click on ‘Siri & Search.’

3. Then click on the option titled ‘Messages.’

4. In the new window that opens, you will see a list of various functions displayed. There are two that you need to focus on.

Show Siri Suggestions in App

Show in Search

5. There will be a toggle present next to both these functions. Click on them to turn them off.

6. Once both of them are turned off, restart your device.

7. Once your device is switched on, follow steps 1 to 4 again. Now turn the toggle buttons on.

After turning both of them on, the device will begin rebuilding your search index. Wait for a couple of minutes. Then go back to the Messages application and see if you can now search for previous text messages.

3. Make Changes To The Language Settings

Sometimes the error in the iMessage application can be due to the language settings on your phone. If your language settings are not proper, you might not be able to find text messages when you search for them. To resolve this, all you need to do is ensure that your language settings are proper.

1. To do so, go to the Settings application on your iPhone.

2. Among the various options present on the Settings page, go to the one that is labeled ‘General.’

3. In the General window, you will see an option titled ‘Language & Region.’ Click on it.

4. In doing so, you will see a list of all the languages available for your device. Choose one according to your preference.

5. Once that is done, go back to the main Settings window and click on the option titled ‘Siri & Search.

6. Within this window, you will see an option that reads ‘Language.’ Select that option.

When that option is selected, you will see a list of all the available languages. Choose the same language you had chosen in Step 4.

Once you change the language, wait for a few minutes and then go to the message application and search for your old messages. Your problem should be resolved by now.

4. Reactivate Imessages By Switching It On And Off

Sometimes, there can be glitches in the software that can cause errors such as the one you are facing, making it impossible for you to view older text messages. A simple way to resolve this glitch is by switching the iMessage on and off. To do this, you need to follow the steps given below.

1. Switch on the iPhone and go to the Settings application.

2. In the list of applications displayed, you to the one titled ‘Messages.

3. In the Messages window, you will see an option titled iMessages with a toggle switch present beside it.

4. Turn the Toggle off and wait for a couple of minutes. Then turn it back on again.

Turning the iMessage on and off should cause the application to re-index, and you might be able to view your old text messages now.

5. Disable And Re-enable Spotlight

Spotlight is a feature available on your iPhone, by which you can search for information faster both on your device, the internet, and even the App Store. However, this quick search feature may sometimes get in the way of the proper search functioning of the Messages app.

This could be why you see the error message that says that you can search for older text messages on your iPhone. All you need to do is turn off the Spotlight feature and then turn it back on to resolve this problem.

To do that, follow the steps given below.

1. Turn on your phone and navigate to the Settings app.

2. In the list of options displayed, click on the option titled ‘General.’

3. Under ‘General,’ you will see an option labeled ‘Spotlight Search.’

4. Under the Spotlight search, you will find two suggestions for Spotlight. These are Suggestions in Search and Suggestions in Look Up.

5. There will be a toggle button present next to both these options. Switch them off and then switch them on again.

In doing so, your problem might be fixed, and you will not see the error message anymore. Go to Messages and check if you can search for old text messages. If this does not solve the issue, try the other methods given below.

6. Disable Messages In iCloud

Switching off Messages in iCloud is another troubleshooting method you can try if you face the messages indexing problem and cannot look up older text messages. In turning off messages on iCloud, you can download all your previous messages to your device.

Once the messages are downloaded, your Messages app will have to re-index, which will make older text messages accessible.

To switch off this Toggle on iCloud, simply do the following steps

1. Turn on your device, and go to the Settings application.

2. Then go to the option that has your name on it.

3. In the next window that options, click on the one labeled ‘iCloud.’

4. In the iCloud section, you will see a list of various applications that use iCloud. Scroll down until you see ‘Messages.’

5. Turn the toggle present next to Messages off. This will then prompt a dialogue box. Click on ‘Disable and Download Messages.’

6. Once you do that, your device will start downloading all your messages and then index all of them. Wait for this process to get over.

7. Once this is done, you should be able to access older text messages now. Go to the Messages application to see if the problem has been solved.

If you can view your previous messages, that means the messages indexing problems have been fixed, so repeat the instructions written above and switch the toggle present next to Messages back on.

7. Go Back To Default Settings On iPhone.

Another way in which you can access previous text messages on your iPhone is to reset the phone to default settings. However, please ensure that all your data from your phone is backed up if you are using this method.

This is because when the phone is reset to its default settings, all data present on the phone, including data saved on respective applications, will be deleted.

To reset the iPhone to default settings, follow the command given below.

1. Switch on your iPhone, and find the Settings app. Click on it to open.

2. Within the various options available, click on the one title ‘General”.

3. Under General, you will see different setting changes available. Scroll down till you find the option of Reset and then click on that.

4. Under the Reset section, you will see the different types of Reset that you can perform on your device. Choose the one that reads ‘Erase All Content and Settings.

5. This will erase all the data you have stored on your device and revert it to its default settings. You might be asked to enter in your iCloud credentials for the phone to reset. Enter it if required.

Once the phone resets, it will go back to its original form. You can now access previous messages on your iPhone.

8. Look For Text Messages Through Siri

If you cannot read or look up old messages using the search function in messages, an alternative way that is already built into your phone that you could try is Siri. To look for text messages, all you need to do is ask for them.

However, there is a particular drawback to this method. Through Siri, only the most recent chats can be viewed.

To use Siri to look for text messages, you need to follow the following steps.

  1. Press and hold either the home button or the side button for a couple of seconds. This will launch Siri.
  1. Once Siri responds, ask the phrase, “Can I check my text messages.” In doing so, Siri will go through all your texts present on the message application and show them to you.

9. Use Mac To View Old Text Messages

This method is possible if you have previously synced your iPhone to your Mac device and have enabled iMessage. Since your phone is synced to the Mac, you can read previously existing and even deleted texts through Mac.

To find old messages on your Mac, by the date of the message sent, you simply need to follow the steps written below.

1. Open your Mac and launch Finder.

2. To go to the folder that has the text messages, type in /Users/your username/Library/Messages/Archive/.

3. All your text messages will now be visible. They will be stored in different folders based on their time of creation. Hence you can find any text message you want based on its creation time.

4. All you need to do is scroll to the respective folder and open it to open a chat.

5. Next, double-click the .ichat file.

The file will then open, and you can read all the messages you want.

10. Use A iOS Repair Tool.

This is the method with the highest recovery rate. Through using a dependable iOS repair tool, you can avoid any problems you have with iOS. Moreover, it keeps your data secure throughout the repair process, so you do not have to worry about the safety of your information.

One such iOS tool is the FoneGeek iOS System Recovery tool, loved by users and reviewers alike; you will find this recommended on multiple media platforms.

To read your previous messages using the iOS repair tool, follow the steps written below.

1. To begin, you need to download the iOS repair tool on the computer and install it. Once the installation process is completed, open the tool.

2. When it opens, you will see two options present on the screen, an Advanced Mode and a Standard Mode. Select the ‘Standard Mode.’

3. You will now need to link your iPhone to the computer through the cable. Once that is done, wait for the computer to detect the connection. Once it is recognized, you will see a ‘Next’ button on the window. Click on it to go to the firmware window.

4. In the firmware window, the tool will automatically find a compatible firmware package. Click on the ‘Download option available.

Once the download is complete, the repair will start.


Not being able to look up old text messages in the Messages application is a problem that many users are facing after the iOS Update. Though this can be stressful, this article walks you through different methods you can do to solve this issue. Apart from iMessage, you can look for old texts through both Siri and a Mac.

To view these messages on your device itself, you can try a couple of troubleshooting methods, such as changing the Language and Search Index settings and reactivating iMessage and Spotlight search. Additionally, you can use data recovery software as well as an iOS Repair Tool.

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