I have an old MacBook pro. Like really old. It's running Sierra 10.12.6

Please understand I don't know anything about this, so if you explain how to use SQLite or terminal or anything more complex than the "go to folder" feature in finder, explain it like I'm an idiot.

I've mainly used the MacBook for work related stuff. My iphone is synced to it so all my iMessages were on there. I would like to recover some old iMessages that were deleted.

I deleted some iMessages several years ago (like mid or late 2020). They are also gone from my iphone. I have actually replaced my iphone since then, and the messages don't appear on either my old or new phone. I must have deleted them from those devices as well or it wasn't properly synced. Point is, the messages are not on the iphone.

How would I go about recovering messages using either SQLite, terminal, etc, or whatever tools I may need?

I already tried using finder, then going to the library and opening the chat.db folder under messages. I found you can open it using text editor but it's illegible nonsense. I then tried following these instructions with no success, I even downloaded SQLite tools:

Download Entire iMessage History with One Person as Plain Text

Some of the messages can be found using spotlight search, but it's still missing several months worth.

None of these messages were backed up on icloud.

Can someone please help me? Again, explain this like I'm an idiot. I've never really used the terminal or SQLite until recently


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