I managed to import all the photos off an old iPhone 3G I recently rediscovered while going through my junk drawer. I used Image Capture, but now I’d like to get all the texts.

I'd like to use only the terminal, ie. no downloads of third-party software, and I'd like to NOT use iTunes or iCloud. My Mac is running Sierra. Would like to get the notes off too if possible. Is this doable?

  • Notes and Messages are encrypted to that device. Only 3rd party would be able to attempt to recover some of that data. That unfortunately is a very heavy case you present. Nov 1, 2017 at 0:06

1 Answer 1


For anyone not bound by the strict “no third party” requirement - go get a copy of Phone View.

It does everything asked for and you can use it on all devices for one license. The free trial let’s you install and be sure it will work before paying for the software.

If I discover a way to get started or accomplish this using only Apple terminal and free Mac App Store apps, I’ll edit that in here as well. I would start with Apple Configurator and the command line tools it installs since that can read log files and get past the “trust” steps that iTunes and iCloud typically perform when getting data from iOS to macOS.

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