I am getting a new iPhone come next month. I want to save all of my nostalgic conversations for the future. Is there a way to transfer an entire chat log to the computer in plain text? Or will I have to painstakingly take screenshot after screenshot as I scroll up in the text history?

  • So it sounds like you really don't care about having them on your new phone? And, instead of restoring a backup, you would rather have them (in a more permanent location) on your computer for TM backup (perhaps), and easy accessibility? Commented Apr 7, 2013 at 1:42
  • There is an excellent perl script example on how to extract photos from messages on this answer. apple.stackexchange.com/questions/191869
    – bmike
    Commented Jun 19, 2015 at 13:42
  • The link for the so-called duplicate question is WRONG. SMS is not iMessage. iMessage is Apple's proprietary messaging system, SMS is the generic texting that exists across many platforms.
    – mwengler
    Commented Dec 17, 2017 at 18:11

3 Answers 3


Your iMessages are already on your Mac, assuming you've got an iCloud account.

Go to ~/Library/Messages/Archive.

  • 2
    ~/Library/Messages/Archive doesn't exist for me…
    – grg
    Commented Sep 29, 2013 at 17:30
  • 1
    @grgarside Library is a hidden folder... well there are two.. there is Mac HD --> library (or whatever computer you have) and then there is the hidden one (you have to un-hide folders) and it's Mac HD --> users --> your name --> library ... they are in that one. Commented Sep 29, 2013 at 23:44
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    @AlbertRenshaw Yeah, I can get my Library folder (and even the Messages folder), just not Archive
    – grg
    Commented Sep 30, 2013 at 18:02
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    I found them in an SQLite database in ~/Library/Messages/chat.db. Though unless you have familiarity with databases, this might not be useful to you.
    – Ryan
    Commented May 12, 2014 at 1:32
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    I found the 'Archive' folder on my macOS 10.12.6 machine at ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.iChat/Data/Library/Messages. Commented Dec 8, 2017 at 23:42

Recently I've been trying to find a way to save my iMessages history from my iPhone 5s to computer. I'm aware that Apple saves text messages and iMessages in it's iPhone backup, but unfortunately I am not much familiar with SQLite databases.

Finally the app/program mentioned here helped me transfer all my iMessages and texts to my computer: http://www.easyphonerecovery.com/how-to-backup-save-iphone-text-messages-to-pc-or-mac.html

This software can transfer iMessages to a computer as a Text and HTML file with all the useful meta information, including date, time, and who said what. In trial mode it lets you transfer 20 messages from each contact. You need to pay if you want to export a really large number of text messages/imessages.


Your iMessages are available on every Device (Mac, iPhone, iPod, iPad) that is connected to your account. You will be able to access the history if you connect the new device to the same account because they are in the "Cloud".

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    That's not actually true. The syncing between iDevices of iMessages is famously poor, so many (most) times you will get incomplete conversations.
    – Andres
    Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 10:07

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