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When setting up a new iOS device or installing the Messages Beta on OS X, you can log in with your iMessage account to start receiving & sending messages with iMessage.

One advantage of iMessage is that these messages are received on all your devices — meaning that as long as you have iMessage configured on a device, you can see the history of a conversation.

But as far as I can tell, you can only see messages which have been delivered after you set up your iMessage account on a device. Is there a way to load old messages which were sent/received before setting up iMessage? (I'd like to load both old messages within a current conversation/thread, and old conversations which have not recently received messages.)

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Would you be open to a recommendation to use something like PhoneView to preserve the messages and search them? The preferences are very nice for message history exporting. cl.ly/Gyek –  bmike May 29 '12 at 17:00

1 Answer 1

Messages app on iDevices and Macs store messages in local storage. To be brief, there is no option to see old messages that sent/received before iMessage setup, because they're not stored somewhere else like iCloud etc.

You could see sent/received conversations after setting Messages app up, under ~/Documents/iChats folder (default) in your Mac and change this via Messages app > Preferences > Messages.

But, there is an exception here is if you back-up files that are storing your conversations and load them back, you could see older messages.

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