How to...

Transfer iPhone messages (SMS), MMS, and iMessages to your computer

Transfer iPhone messages (SMS), MMS, and iMessages to your computer

You've got lots of text messages - iMessages, SMSs, and MMSs - on your iPhone, and you may want to make copies of them. Apple doesn't offer any way to do this, but iMazing can export all of your messages in a number of formats: PDF, which retains Messages' display, with bubbles and graphics; raw text, if all you want is the words; or CSV, so you can import them into Excel, Numbers, or Google Sheets. iMazing can also export just the attachments to your messages, so you can save all the great photos your friends have sent you, and even print your messages.

Here's how to transfer your iPhone messages to your computer:

  1. Launch iMazing and connect your device to your Mac or PC.
  2. Select your device in the iMazing's sidebar, then select Messages.
  3. Select a conversation(s) or message(s) your wish to export.
  4. Click "Export" buttons.
  5. Select a location on your computer.

💡 Tip: To download text messages from your iPhone, iMazing needs to make a full backup of your device. This may take a while, so please be patient.

Before you begin

Download and install iMazing on your Mac or PC computer

In-Depth Tutorial

1. Launch iMazing on your computer and connect your device.

Download and install iMazing. Launch the app, and connect your device to your Mac or PC.

2. Select your device in the iMazing's sidebar, then select "Messages".

Select your device in the sidebar, then select Messages. iMazing loads your device's latest backup. If you have some messages that are more recent, click the Refresh button in the toolbar to tell iMazing to make a newer backup.

iMazing's Messages View

3. Select a conversation(s) or message(s) your wish to export.

You'll see a list of conversations in the second column. Select the ones you want to export. If you only want to save certain messages, select them in the Message pane at the right. To select multiple sequential items, click one, scroll, then press the Shift key and click another. To select non-contiguous items, click one, then click the CTRL key (Windows) or the Command key (Mac), and then click another. You can select as many messages as you want in this way.

4. Click "Export" buttons.

Click one of the four Export buttons in the toolbar at the bottom of the iMazing window. iMazing asks you whether you want to export just the selected messages, or all items.

iMazing's Messages View

5. Select a location on your computer.

iMazing then displays a dialog asking you where you want to save the exported messages. Select a location, then click Choose. (If you've selected to export your messages in PDF format, you'll first see a dialog offering some display options.) iMazing saves the file, and you can then read these messages in the format you've chosen or import them into other apps.

Going further

Export Attachments only

If you want to save attachments, such as photos your friends have sent you, select one or more messages as above, then click Export Attachments. iMazing asks where you want to save them. It's a good idea to create a new folder somewhere if there are a lot of attachments. After you've done this, or selected an existing folder, click Choose, and iMazing saves copies of the attachments to the selected messages.

Export Messages from an existing Backup

iMazing can also export messages from existing backups you've made with iTunes or with iMazing. You may need to do this if you've lost your iPhone, or if you accidentally delete some of your messages and want to recover them.

To do this, scroll to the bottom of the sidebar, under the Backups header, and select a device. Click Messages, then follow the same procedure as described above to save messages in one of the available formats, or to save their attachments.

iCloud Messages

One of the biggest and most exciting new features in iOS 11.4 is the ability to sync all of your text messages and attachments via iCloud. If you'd like to use this feature, all you have to do is enable iCloud Messages. You will be able to view and export the messages you wish in the same way as before. The only difference will be that older attachments may be removed by iOS from your device and stored in the cloud. However, text content is not affected.

A Few Comments...

If you're exporting messages or other content in CSV format, check iMazing's preferences; you can choose whether you want to use a comma, Tab, or semicolon to separate items in CSV files. Access this from iMazing's preferences: on Mac, choose iMazing > Preferences > Other Data; on Windows, choose Edit > Preferences > Other Data.

If you want to transfer your messages - and other data - to a new iPhone, create a new backup of your existing iPhone, then restore that backup to the new iPhone. While you can do this with iTunes, iMazing offers much more flexibility, and lets you store unlimited backups, if you want.

iMazing can also print your messages, if you want to have a hard copy of them.