I'm getting ready to wipe and sell my old 4th-generation iPod touch, and I'd like to get a human-readable copy of all of my iMessages before I do so.

So far, I've found two solutions, but unfortunately they both cost money:

  • imessage-backup.com - basically you upload a certain file from the backup and it does some processing on the backend to make it human-readable. $7.99 per backup file.
  • iExplorer can also grab iMessages. You can see them within the app, but it forces you to register ($34.99) to export them.

Obviously there is some way to extract the data. I opened up the backup file in a text editor, and I could see messages, but it wasn't really "human-readable." I tried opening the backup file in SQLite Database Browser (the format in which the iMessages are supposedly backed up in), but it came up blank.

Is there a free way (preferably on Windows or Linux) to export iMessages?

  • 1
    There's a SQLite database at /private/var/mobile/Library/SMS/sms.db that stores all of your messages (SMS and iMessage). – Andrew Larsson Dec 6 '13 at 17:56

Have you tried extracting them from your back up file? See this link.


It looks as if the open source IM client Adium can automate the process, if you've got access to a Mac that you can link (temporarily at least) to your iMessage account (you don't actually need to get the data off the iPod - Apple have done that implicitly).

With that in mind I'd take a look at this similar question: Export iMessages in human readable form for archival [my answer begins "Archiving" but there are several useful alternatives there].

I don't know of a straightforward solution that doesn't require the Mac -- I presume Adium's import process takes advantage of native access to various Apple libraries -- but if you're inclined the Adium source and developers might also offer some clues to a cross-platform solution.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .