7

Is there some means of saving your Messages history on OS X and copying it to a new system without doing a full restore from a Time Machine back up?

Doing some searching, I found the below and tried this approach in a virtual machine copy of Mavericks without much luck.

https://discussions.apple.com/thread/5948332

Despite copying the files to their respective locations on the fresh install and adjusting permissions, the new installation version of Messages never seems to import/recognize the history from my current system.

To ensure my permissions were okay, I also found

Mavericks Mail will not save preferences

which was linked to by

Fixing broken Messages on OS X Mavericks

but this also did not result in Messages importing/using the copied history. Both instances of Mavericks are using Messages 8.0

  • It is high time that Apple fixes that product and provides us with a means to undo a conversation removal. – akim Jul 10 '17 at 7:14
9

Yes, it is possible to import message history from a Time Machine backup onto a new machine without a full restore from a Time Machine backup. This was tested on 10.10 but should work for at least 10.9 as well.

  1. Take a full Time Machine backup of the new system.
  2. Quit Messages.app.
  3. Remove all of the following files and directories on the new system:
    • ~/Library/Caches/com.apple.iChat/
    • ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.iChat/
    • ~/Library/Messages/
    • ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.imessage.bag.plist ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.imservice.FaceTime.plist ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.imservice.iMessage.plist ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.imservice.ids.FaceTime.plist ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.imservice.ids.iMessage.plist ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.iChat.AIM.plist ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.iChat.Jabber.plist ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.iChat.LSSharedFileList.plist ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.iChat.StatusMessages.plist ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.iChat.Yahoo.plist ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.iChat.plist
  4. Copy the following files and directories from your Time Machine backup to their respective locations on your new system:
    • ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.iChat/
    • ~/Library/Messages/
    • ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.imessage.bag.plist ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.imservice.FaceTime.plist ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.imservice.iMessage.plist ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.imservice.ids.FaceTime.plist ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.imservice.ids.iMessage.plist ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.iChat.AIM.plist ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.iChat.Jabber.plist ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.iChat.LSSharedFileList.plist ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.iChat.StatusMessages.plist ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.iChat.Yahoo.plist ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.iChat.plist
  5. Restart your system
  • Seems reasonable enough and the process makes sense. I'll give this a go in a virtual instance and go from there. Looks very promising. Thanks! – apiri Feb 23 '15 at 18:16
  • No luck using this method in macOS 10.12. – Michael Ahlers Sep 21 '16 at 12:04
  • Correction: had success on Sierra after a second attempt. – Michael Ahlers Sep 21 '16 at 15:19
  • @MichaelAhlers If things are different on Sierra, can you add a new answer describing the necessary steps? – nohillside Oct 2 '16 at 14:26
  • awesome, worked a treat on 10.12.4 – ptim Apr 10 '17 at 7:21
0

To make it work on High Sierra prior to 10.13.5:

  1. Download this file

  2. Open terminal and run chmod +x restore-messages.bash

  3. Restart your machine

  4. Open terminal and run ./restore-messages.bash "the path to your backup user directory"

  5. Restart your machine

  6. Open messages

Based on the macup command from my dotfiles


To make it work on High Sierra 10.13.5 and later, the process has become automatic and builtin thanks to iCloud Messages.

Open the Messages App ➡️ Preferences ➡️ Accounts tab ➡️ check Enable Messages in iCloud

Screenshot of how to open Messages Preferences

Screenshot of how to enable Messages in iCloud

You must log in to answer this question.

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