Do you want to save an iPhone text message? Maybe you want to document and preserve a message sent to your iPhone for some purpose? Whatever the reason, you can save iPhone messages, text messages / SMS, iMessages, media messages including pictures and videos, or anything else sent through the Messages app on the iPhone.
This article will show you several methods of saving iPhone messages and text messages, one approach will cover saving messages directly on the iPhone itself, and another method will use a computer and third party software to read and save iPhone messages to export them as PDF, TXT, or a spreadsheet file.
First, understand that there is no official method of exporting or saving an iPhone text message, an iPhone message conversation, or anything of that sort. There is not currently a method on the iPhone to simply print out all iPhone messages received from a person or within a Messages app conversation. It’s possible down the road that will exist, but currently iOS does not offer a “Save Messages” or “Export Messages” or “Print Messages” type of feature. Thus, we will use the options detailed below to save iPhone messages.
How to Save iPhone Messages Directly in iOS
This particular method of saving iPhone Messages is achievable entirely on the iPhone itself. It is a bit tedious, but it is also perhaps the most official method of saving and capturing iPhone messages in a format that can be easily saved and shared. Essentially you will be browsing through the messages you want to save, and then relying on screenshots to preserve and document those messages exactly as they appear on screen. Here are the steps necessary for this iOS message saving process:
- Open the “Messages” app on the iPhone
- Open the Message conversation or the text message that you wish to save so that it is active on screen, briefly pull down if you want to reveal a full screen of messages and hide the keyboard
- Screen shot the iPhone message screen by doing the following :
- Screenshot on iPhone X and models without Home button: Press Power/Lock button and Volume Up button concurrently to take a screenshot
- Screenshot on iPhone models with Home button: Press Power/Lock button and Home button concurrently to take a screenshot
- Repeat with additional messages to save, or continue scrolling to continue documenting and saving messages from the same message thread on the iPhone
- When finished snapping captures of the messages, return to the Home Screen of the iPhone and then open the “Photos” app and go to “Camera Roll” (or Screenshots album)
- Find the saved messages screenshots at the bottom of the recent Camera Roll picture, select them and then tap on the Sharing button (it looks like a box with an arrow flying out of the top) to share the messages, save the images to iCloud, email, send it elsewhere as a message, etc
If you’re saving a lot of messages this way it will take a while, so have some patience and get in a good routine of pressing those screen shot buttons to snap and save each screenful of messages on the iPhone.
This approach may be tedious, as we already mentioned, but it’s also likely to be the only method of saving iPhone messages that is considered reliable or official in any capacity, perhaps enough to use in an official basis as documentation or evidence or something of that nature, at least that doesn’t involve subpoenaing the original message data from a cellular phone company or Apple directly (which is certainly possible too if something was serious enough to warrant that approach).
How to Save iPhone Text Messages on Mac or Windows with iExplorer
This next approach allows you to easily read, save, access, and export all iPhone messages either from an iPhone itself, or from an iPhone backup, and it works the same on both a Mac or Windows PC. This will use a third party tool called iExplorer, here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Download the iExplorer app from here (you can download the free download demo version to try it out)
- Launch iExplorer on the computer then choose “Continue with Demo” *
- Next, either connect the iPhone to the computer with USB, or if you’re going to read messages from an iPhone backup on the computer choose “Browse iTunes Backups”
- Choose “Messages” from the onscreen menu for the iPhone / backup
- Optionally, if the iPhone backup is encrypted (and it’s a good idea to always enable iTunes backup encryption) then click on “Decrypt Backup” and enter the iTunes backup password to decrypt the backup and access the messages
- Browse through the iPhone messages shown on screen, you’ll have access to all iPhone text messages, iMessages, picture messages, video messages, and other media shared through the Messages app on iOS
- To save a particular message thread, select it and then choose “Export Conversation” and then choose the output file type to save the iPhone message thread as PDF, TXT, or CVS file
* The demo version will work on both Mac and Windows PC to test and confirm that you are able to access and read the iPhone text messages and other message data with the iExplorer app. Optionally, you can pay to have the full version of iExplorer to gain full access to all features and iPhone message saving and export capabilities, including the ability to easily save all iMessages and save all iPhone message media like pictures and videos. For our purposes here we will simply use the free demo version, which lets you read the iPhone messages on a computer either by connecting the iPhone to the computer through USB or by reading the iPhone backup file on the computer.
Other methods of saving iPhone messages and iPhone text messages
There are certainly other approaches to save iPhone messages, and other apps that allow you to read and save iPhone messages on a computer or elsewhere.
For example, other options that are possible to save and export iPhone Messages include:
- Copy and paste messages into a new Notes file to save iPhone messages into the Notes app
- Copy and pasting iPhone messages to save into a Pages or Numbers document on the iPhone
- Forward the iPhone message and text messages to another iPhone (or another cell phone in general), though this won’t include the original senders contact info and it makes it appear as if the forwarder sent the forwarded message instead
- Using a Mac or PC to read the iPhone SMS backup SQL file directly on a computer (note the backup must be unencrypted
- Using other paid third party apps to read, save, and export the iPhone text messages like DecipherTools
- Use a Mac with iMessage configured using the same Apple ID as the iPhone to access and save iPhone messages from a computer