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I was chatting with someone via Messages.app on my iPhone, and they sent me a message saying "call me in 20 minutes". I was away from my phone when they sent it, so I didn't know when they sent the message, and therefore didn't know when to call.

I know that Messages.app displays a start time for new conversations, but I just want to get the time of a specific message.

Tap-and-hold and double-tap on the message just give a "Copy" context item.

How can I see the time of an incoming message?

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it cannot be done unless you jail break (hack) your iphone. –  user52792 Jul 7 '13 at 3:30
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In iOS 7, which is still in developer preview and subject to change, Apple Insider is reporting that Messages will be able to do this: appleinsider.com/articles/13/06/27/… –  alexwlchan Jul 7 '13 at 7:42
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iOS 7, which is now in the wild, can indeed show timestamps for every message. Just slide your finger right to left in a conversation. (I literally yelled "finally!" while sitting at my desk when I read about this.) –  duozmo Sep 24 '13 at 1:46
    
@Aphex5 - awesome! I just tried it, and it worked beautifully. If you post this as an answer, I'll accept it. –  mskfisher Sep 24 '13 at 2:03

7 Answers 7

up vote 2 down vote accepted

iOS 7, which is now in the wild, can indeed show timestamps for every message. Just slide your finger right to left in a conversation.

Texts showing timestamps

Image: The Verge

(I literally yelled "finally!" while sitting at my desk when I read about this.)

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In iOS 5 (and in iOS 6, I suspect), if you are willing to delete some messages, you can find the timestamp of ANY message if you delete the ones which precede it in the conversation "snippet", which i describe in somewhat more detail on http://kenamored.blogspot.com/2014/04/how-to-reveal-ios-5-imessages-timestamps.html

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Nice workaround. –  mskfisher Apr 14 at 2:39

You can jailbreak your phone, then install SMS Timestamp. This will let you see timestamps for every message.

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We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

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Could you add some details about SMS Timestamp (where do get from, screenshots) to improve the answer? –  patrix Apr 25 '13 at 6:47

In the messages index view where it shows all messages to from everyone use the search feature at top and search for text specific to the message you need to know the time of and it will show time next to it when found , only hour and minutes though

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This did not work for me. For older messages, it only tells me the date, and when I tap the result, it takes me to the message in the original timeline and doesn't give me any additional information. –  mskfisher Mar 1 '13 at 14:00

Use the "Compact view". You'll see the time stamp of the message on the right hand side. View > Messages > Show as Compact

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He's talking about the iPhone app, not on OS X. –  Loïc Wolff Sep 25 '12 at 20:44

The primary answer to this question is no:

On the iOS device itself, from within Messages.app, no matter if the messages are standard SMS, or iMessage; only the occasional timestamps, and the latest message time on the overview list, show times. There is no other mechanism for displaying message times.

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There may be a way to get at this information via third party apps like PhoneView or iExplorer, and looking at the SQLite messages database. But doing that is not user-friendly at all. –  Jason Salaz Jan 27 '12 at 20:59

I managed to view the timestamp of the most recent message by going back to the main Messages menu.
That displayed the most recent activity timestamp next to each conversation, and since I hadn't sent a response, the most recent message was the "call in 20 minutes" message.

I still can't find a way to get at the timestamp of an arbitrary incoming message, but this addressed my immediate problem.

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