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So I can close a conversation in Messages on my Mac and it handily disappears. I can't seem to figure out how to re-open that conversation manually (as opposed to getting a new message in that conversation, that is).

Closing means on the left panel of Messages. Hover over a person. An X appears in the middle of their "card" on the right. Click it. This closes the conversation and does not delete it.

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Does anyone know if reopening these conversations is possible?

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3 Answers 3

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This is all dependant on you having "Save history when conversations are closed" checked in Messages prefs - otherwise you can find the conversation, but not rejoin it to your main chat window.

The procedure is different if "Messages in Cloud" is enabled, which unchecks & disables the "Save History…" pref.
Both versions below [edited heavily over time].


I have retested this Jun 2022, with "Messages in Cloud" enabled…

  • Switch your phone off.

  • Log out of Messages on the Mac then quit the app

  • Navigate to ~/Library/Messages/

  • Enter Time Machine & navigate back in time until before your error.

  • Select the chat.db file & restore
    [alternatively grab this file from any other backup, Backblaze etc.]

  • Reboot, open Messages & check messages are restored.

  • Boot the phone

If you're lucky, you should be back to sanity.


Without "Messages in Cloud enabled…

You cannot directly re-open the last conversation you had from the app itself, if you already closed it by hitting the x.

You need to dig in history, it's located at ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.ichat/Data/Library/Messages

Conversations are stored by date. You only need to find any one instance of the conversation you are looking for.

Double-clicking that file will reopen it in a separate window in Messages.
Keep that window open, or the next step fails.

To persuade it to reattach to the main window…

Scroll down your conversations list - it will have reappeared in last place.

Select it, it will appear to be empty, but will fill as soon as you click it.

You can now close the extra window.

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  • This doesn't work for me. I don't have enough conversations open to get a scrollbar, and the closed conversation is not on the list of conversations. Aug 17, 2020 at 18:27
  • The scrollbar is only needed if you can't already see the bottom of your convo list, of course. Restoration is entirely dependent on your "Save history when conversations are closed" pref.
    – Tetsujin
    Aug 17, 2020 at 18:30
  • I've had that option checked all along. Maybe the scrollbar actually triggers a refresh. Aug 17, 2020 at 18:34
  • Odd. It now worked after a reboot. Aug 17, 2020 at 18:36
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Easier still: just compose a new message to the person with whom you deleted the conversation, and as you hit enter to auto-complete the name, "poof!", the whole conversation reappears. You don't need to send them any message.

This depends, of course, on having 'Messages in iCloud' enabled in your Messages preferences.

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  • That worked once for me... but then I couldn't get it to work again, even for the same person it originally worked for. Feb 25, 2015 at 1:07
  • This did not work for me, ever. =(
    – JVC
    Feb 6, 2020 at 18:01
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What worked for me..

  1. Compose a new message to the closed chat. Leave it open, don't Send.
  2. Using Finder Go to ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.ichat/Data/Library/Messages
  3. Find you latest closed chat. (as noted, chats are stored by date)
  4. Drag and drop your closed chat to the same person chat open in step 1.

In my case, the entire chat re-appeared. No new message was sent in the process. Everything work as if I hadn't closed the chat.

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  • This just attaches the file in the composition field of the new conversation. Aug 17, 2020 at 18:32

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