How to download text messages from iPhone

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A lot of important conversations happen over SMS and iMessage these days. No wonder that we often look for ways to download text messages from iPhone for our records.

Unfortunately, iOS doesn’t offer any built-in features that would allow for easy export of iPhone messages. In this article, we will share the best tips on how to save text messages, transfer text messages from iPhone to computer, and create backups of your data. We will also discuss methods that best answer the “How do I copy an entire text conversation on iPhone?” question because saving lengthy text exchanges can be tricky.

The easiest way to transfer text messages from iPhone to computer

If you aren’t keen on complicated workarounds and are looking for the most straightforward way to export text messages from iPhone to Mac, consider AnyTrans.

AnyTrans is a pro iOS data manager designed to make moving content between your iPhone and other Apple devices easy. You can transfer your data by categories (such as Photos, Books, Apps, or, in our case, Messages) or choose only one or two files within a category and have them moved to your Mac in a few clicks.

To transfer text messages from iPhone to computer using AnyTrans: 

  1. Download and launch AnyTrans on your Mac.
  2. Connect your iPhone to Mac with a USB cable.
  3. Choose Messages from the categories listed on the right.
  4. Click on Back Up Now when prompted (Apple won't allow accessing your messages directly for privacy reasons).
  5. Select the messages you’d like to transfer to your Mac ➙ To Mac.

That’s it! This is how to save text messages from your iPhone for your records.

transfer messages from iphone

Transfer, back up, and restore your social messages

AnyTrans will also be of great help if you’re wondering how to download text messages from iPhone’s social media. For instance, you’ve bought a new iPhone and want to transfer your WhatsApp or Viber conversations to it — AnyTrans will help you create a backup of your data, transfer messages to your new phone, or restore from an existing backup on Google Drive or on your Mac.

To download text messages from iPhone’s social media with AnyTrans:

  1. Connect your iPhone to Mac with a USB cable.
  2. Launch AnyTrans on Mac.
  3. Open Social Messages Manager from the sidebar menu.
  4. Choose the app you’d like to transfer messages from and click on its tab.
  5. Do one of the following:
    • Save a copy of your conversations as a backup ➙ Back Up Now.
    • Transfer everything as is to your new iPhone ➙ Transfer Now (both devices must be plugged into your Mac).
    • Restore messages from a backup you’ve created earlier ➙ From Local Backup.
  6. Click Next and complete the process.

transfer social media messages

How to download text messages from iPhone to Mac manually

Another way to download iPhone text messages to your Mac is to transfer them manually with AirDrop. Note that you’ll have to send one message at a time, but if you only need to save a few conversations, AirDrop is a great tool for the job.

To transfer text messages from iPhone to computer with AirDrop:

  1. Sign in to your Apple ID on both of your devices.
  2. Turn on Bluetooth on your iPhone and Mac, and make sure they are close to each other and are connected to the same WiFi network.
  3. Turn on AirDrop on your iPhone: swipe down from the top-right corner of your screen to open Control Center, tap and hold the wireless controls box for a few seconds, then tap on the AirDrop icon to activate the feature.
  4. Go to Finder to turn on AirDrop on your Mac: Finder ➙ Go ➙ AirDrop.
  5. Open the message you'd like to transfer, tap on the text, and choose Share with AirDrop.
  6. Choose your Mac from the list of devices ready to receive your AirDrop.

How to screenshot your texts

When deciding how to save text messages on iPhone, taking a screenshot of your conversation is probably the first idea that comes to mind. It’s fast, easy, and involves no additional apps. All you need to do is simultaneously press the volume up and the side button on your iPhone and quickly release them.

This method works great with short exchanges that can fit on your screen, but taking multiple screenshots to record the whole conversation feels a bit messy. If that’s your case, try to download iPhone text messages using email instead.

How to export iMessage from iPhone using email 

Did you know that you can simply send your texts to yourself as emails as a way to export text messages from iPhone? In fact, this method is probably the easiest answer to the “How do I copy an entire text conversation on iPhone?” question.

Here’s how to save text messages on iPhone:

  1. Go to Messages on your iPhone and open the conversation you’d like to save.
  2. Press and hold any text bubble in the thread, then choose “More…” from the pop-up.
  3. Select all the replies you’d like to save.
  4. Tap on the arrow in the lower right to forward your text selection as a new message.
  5. Enter your email in the address box at the top of the screen and send your message.

Now you have your entire conversation saved as an attachment in your mail.

Another way to email messages is to copy and paste them somewhere else first: 

  1. Go to Messages on your iPhone and open the conversation you’d like to save.
  2. Press and hold any text bubble in the thread, then choose “More…” from the pop-up.
  3. Select all the replies you’d like to save.
  4. Tap on the forwarding arrow in the lower right to show your whole conversation as a single text ➙ Copy.


From here figuring out how to save text messages using email is easy:

  • Copy your text to Notes and email it to yourself.
  • Open Mail, paste the text selection into a new message, and send.

This way you’ll have your entire conversation saved as an email in one of your mailboxes.

If keeping track of important emails on multiple accounts is overwhelming at times, you’ll be happy to know there’s a way to manage emails from all of your accounts (including Gmail, AOL, iCloud, IMAP, Hotmail, Yahoo, and GMX) — from a single inbox. 

Spark Mail can bring all of your mail into one inbox and help you keep it organized by separating priority senders and real people from the rest of the mail that pours into your accounts daily.

To help you stay focused, Spark Mail makes it easy to:

  • Mark emails as done and snooze them
  • Block unwanted senders
  • Group messages by sender and generate secure links to individual emails or discussion threads
  • Pin important messages to the top or set something aside to process later
  • Collaborate on composing emails with others
  • Use AI assistant to proofread, rephrase, expand, or shorten your text

spark mail inbox

Bonus tip: clear your iPhone storage with ease

If the reason you’re looking to export text messages from iPhone is the lack of free space, consider combing through your camera roll. Photos tend to take up lots of space, and we often keep numerous versions of the same picture for years. An intelligent duplicate finder, like Gemini, could work wonders in this situation.

Gemini can scan your iPhone photos for identical and similar images, pre-select them for your approval, and then help you clear gigabytes of junk from your camera roll with a single tap. Without you having to ever sort through hundreds of images yourself.

gemini camera roll scan iphone


You can also get a macOS version of Gemini that’s even more powerful. It looks for duplicate and similar files not only in Photos, but also in iTunes, and all other folders and libraries on your Mac, effortlessly saving you space on your hard drive.

Download text messages from iPhone to back them up

Despite the fact that there’s no special iOS feature designed to help you download text messages from iPhone, there are several methods you can use to complete the task. The most obvious thing to do, of course, is to take a screenshot of your message — if it fits on the screen and you don’t mind saving your text as image, you’re all set.

Otherwise, your best bet is AnyTrans which lets you back up or transfer your messages to Mac in a few easy clicks, no matter how many of them you wish to copy. Additionally, AnyTrans can help you with deciding how to backup text messages on iPhone’s social media (you’ll be able to copy or transfer any and all of your WhatsApp, LINE, or Viber conversations).

You can also export text messages from iPhone manually using AirDrop, Notes, and emails. But whatever method you go for, be sure to try AnyTrans, Gemini, and Spark Mail for free with the seven-day trial of Setapp, a platform of best-in-class iOS and macOS productivity apps. Learn how to download text messages from iPhone and check out more than 240 other options to boost your performance.

FAQ

Can you download text messages from an iPhone to a computer?

Yes, you can download iPhone text messages to your Mac — transferring as many as you want with AnyTrans or hand-picking individual texts to AirDrop or send as an email. 

Can I export a text conversation from my iPhone?

To export text messages from iPhone, copy all the messages in your conversation to Notes, then email yourself the text. Or use AnyTrans to transfer your conversation to Mac or other Apple devices in a few clicks. 

How do I back up my iPhone text messages to my computer?

You can always back up your iPhone text messages as part of your routine full phone backup, which we wholeheartedly recommend you do on a regular basis. However, if you’re thinking about how to backup text messages on iPhone without backing up everything else, your best choice is AnyTrans iOS data manager. The app lets you single out content you want to back up and offers a safe and fast way to move your data between devices.

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