Is there a one (or a simple) step process to either email myself, or cut/copy, an entire (like year long) iMessage conversation without having to buy an app/software or to go through and keep marking post groupings through "more" so I can send to my email?

I read about finding a hidden library folder in the question pertaining to the bulk download of pictures in iMessage. This did not really help.

Also, when I log into iMessage from my Macbook, my iPhone messages that predated the purchase do not show up. Even assuming it did, however, I still want to move the conversation out of iMessage so I can paste it into a word doc for posterity.


4 Answers 4


Here is the method I have used to extract my iMessage history (using a MacBook).

  1. Find your chat history database chat.db. It is located at ~Library/Messages which is accessible from Finder.

  2. Use a Database Management System to extract the info you need. If you use macOS, sqlite3 is preinstalled in your system.

Open the database using sqlite3 ~/Library/Messages/chat.db.

See all your messages with:

    datetime (message.date / 1000000000 + strftime ("%s", "2001-01-01"), 
    "unixepoch", "localtime") AS message_date,
    JOIN chat_message_join ON chat.ROWID = chat_message_join.chat_id
    JOIN message ON chat_message_join.message_id = message.ROWID
    message_date ASC;

You can save it as a CSV or Text file with this:

.mode csv
.out filename.csv 


.out filename.txt
your code

All credits to Using SQL to Look Through All of Your iMessage Text Messages


This is an old question but people in the future may find my answer helpful

There is a software that has the ability to do this: Imazing

Here is a guide: https://imazing.com/guides/how-to-save-iphone-text-messages-sms-and-imessages-to-your-computer


I'm only aware of how to do this natively on macOS

  1. Sign in to Messages on OS X
  2. Select the conversation you want to save
  3. File -> Print -> Save
  4. (optional) Use whatever pdf editing software you choose to extract, copy, transform the PDF version of the conversation

There are third party solutions like PhoneView by ecamm to do this as well, but I don't know of an archive method on iOS. I'm a very happy customer of PhoneView - I sent them my money and have been satisfied by their continued updates of the product and the value.

  • 1
    Its on my iPhone not my Macbook. Although it is an iMessage it is not showing up on the OS X, I think (?) because I bought the Macbook after the last text was sent/rec'd.
    – gracey209
    Aug 15, 2015 at 1:03
  • @gracey209 I've had a newly wiped or set up mac download lots of past iMessage history. Hopefully this works for you if you set up a new user account.
    – bmike
    Aug 15, 2015 at 2:58
  • 1
    But the iMessage conversation is on my phone and all that shows on iMessage on my Macbook are messages sent/rec'd after I set this machine up. I have no access to my phone's old messages. I am going to connect my phone again to my Macbook and try to capture it a different way. I'm clueless I think!
    – gracey209
    Aug 15, 2015 at 18:59
  • Furthermore, what if you don't have access to a mac where you can configure your iMessage account? Nov 13, 2019 at 20:50

I don’t know if it’s still available or compatible but in the past I used a program called Touch Copy purchased directly from the developer website- Wide Angle Software I think it was

  • I downloaded the free trial of this program, but it is not detecting my iPhone 11 Pro Max. Is it compatible with the latest iPhones?
    – Charles S
    Feb 29, 2020 at 14:52
  • Update: Finally, I downloaded another program (iphone-to-pc.com/how-transfer-messages-iphone-pc.html) to transfer text messages and iMessages from iPhone to my computer as PDF file. Then I forwarded the PDF to my gmail. Needed these messages for some legal matter. Just like TouchCopy it is also not free, but it did work for me.
    – Charles S
    Mar 1, 2020 at 10:04

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