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In a conversation window with one of my friends on iMessage, all of the previous conversation in our thread is not available.

Does this mean the other person deleted their thread and it's no longer available on my iPhone?

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No. The thread should still be visible on your side. It's entirely possible that you've started a new thread, owing to various factors like you having several devices attached to the iMessage account, and different contact details for the other person. – user479 Jan 26 '12 at 8:07

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