I always used to save my Chat logs because I use IM in the professional environment. Now I find that I can’t save chat logs anymore. That option is gone. Is there any workaround or hidden preference to enable saving chat logs again?

6 Answers 6


In Preferences, select Messages and check "Save history when conversations are closed." Now when you quit Messages, it will create a collection of chat transcripts. You can easily access these in your Library folder. From Finder, select Go>Go to Folder and type: ~/Library/Messages/Archive. If you are on Mavericks or Yosemite, the location is ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.iChat/Data/Library/Messages. This will take you directly to the appropriate folder.

  • Thank you so, so much. I had feared this awesome feature from iChat was gone forever. Aug 29, 2012 at 14:32
  • 1
    I did this, and it does work but only with text. Do you know if there's anyway to have Messages save any images/files sent over chat?
    – chandsie
    Oct 25, 2012 at 3:15
  • 3
    The images are stored in the "Attachments" folder, which is a sibling to "Archive".
    – jeffbyrnes
    Nov 5, 2012 at 15:12

Please note that the new location for logs in Mavericks is ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.iChat/Data/Library/Messages (yes, even though the app is called Messages, the container is called iChat).

This appears to be a way of replicating the way that apps like iMessages work on iOS -- Messages gets its own Library folder with its own dedicated hierarchy of files.

Update: At some point after 10.9 Mavericks and by the time of 10.15 Catalina, the real location for stored chat logs became ~/Library/Messages/Archive.


I don't know if you are still looking for an answer to this, but it looks like you can use Automator (in Applications) to copy all files to a certain folder when items are added to the Archive Folder us "Folder Action". I am trying it out now, but seems it should work.

  • Do come back and flesh this out with edits as you find it works or does not work. Welcome to the site!
    – bmike
    Feb 4, 2013 at 21:29

In addition to native Automator, if you're a Hazel or Alfred user they can give you other ways to do this on addition of a file to a folder.

  • Can you provide concrete examples or steps how to actually achieve this with the aforementioned applications?
    – Jawa
    Jun 25, 2013 at 8:17
  • In Hazel, you could create a folder rule for ~/Library/Messages/Attachments that would, for instance, catch new files added there and tag or move them according to the criteria of interest to you. Do you have a use case? If so, I may be able to help you craft a Hazel rule. Jul 8, 2013 at 7:17

I had the same problem.

On my machine I resolved the problem by removing the Archive link. Open Messages and send a message. Close Messages. This should now create the Archive folder. I copied my older chats to this new Archive folder, and everything worked for me.

cp -r /Users//Documents/iChats/ /Users//Library/Containers/com.apple.ichat/Data/Library/Messages/Archive


If you want the easiest, most foolproof way to do this with the most flexible format WITH images/videos/gifs/emoji/allthethings, follow along. This method contains absolutely zero automation, so even your hip grandma can follow along.

  1. Open the Messages app
  2. Open the conversation you want to copy and keep scrolling to the top to load more of the conversation until you've loaded all that you want.
  3. Select all (Cmd+A)
  4. Copy (Cmd+C)
  5. Open TextEdit and start a New Document
  6. Paste (Cmd+V)

As you can see, all of the text and media are there, and you can edit it like any word file. Want it as a PDF? Just Export to PDF, and it won't even break pages in the middle of images and stuff (as would printing to PDF from the Messages app). Make sure you save this file somewhere before proceeding to the extra step below: resizing photos.

If your transcript contains gargantuan 3648x2736 images like mine do, you're going to want to reduce their size to fit in the document. This is simple: the image data is saved as part of the document. So, just...

  1. Double-click the image you want to reduce to open it in Preview
  2. Once in Preview, select (from the menu bar) Tools > Adjust Size
  3. By default, the Width value is selected and the dimensions are constrained (meaning changing one will adjust the other to keep it in the current Height/Width ratio) as depicted by the little locked padlock icon nearby. Enter a more sane value; I like to go with 640x480 for my images. If you're savvy, move to step 4. If you have no idea what value to enter... First make sure the little padlock icon is 'locked'. If it isn't, click on it and it should become locked. Next, select the larger of the two values (double-clicking on it will fully select), delete the value, and then enter 640. Press ENTER or click the OK button at the bottom.
  4. Your image should now be reduced in size, and you can close the window (Cmd+W), quit (Cmd+Q), or whatever (Cmd+????????)
  5. You should be back in your text document and the image size will have updated. Note: The one anything thing here is that TextEdit likes to scroll you all the way to the top of the document. Them's the breaks.

There you have it. Chat transcript archived like a boss.

  • It allows to check back the messages with a Mac but not a proper manner to have the sync across other iDevices… Which is by the way a pain because it's one of the rare things that are not synced via the "iCloud Drive" nor visible via iCloud.com.
    – llange
    Jul 30, 2018 at 18:54
  • PS: High Sierra MacOS 10.13 has an option in iMessage account preferences to "Enable Message in Cloud"
    – llange
    Jul 30, 2018 at 19:35

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