Wondering how to save text messages on your iPhone? All those short missives you’ve written are mostly ephemeral, but some of them can be important, especially if you need them as proof in a dispute. Even if the only reason you want to save your messages is just to preserve your priceless nuggets of wit, you should be able to do so. Apple—frustratingly—offers no easy way to export your texts and Messages, and we’d argue the company should offer tools to do this. Still, there are workarounds and simple ways to save your Messages and texts. Here are the five best methods.
Find and Open the File Containing All Your Texts
Apple saves your text messages in its iPhone backups—whether they’re saved locally on your PC or they’re part of an iCloud backup—which you should have. That’s good! Unfortunately, the file containing your messages doesn’t appear separately within the backup. However, you can access them through the filesystem. If you back up locally on an Apple computer, you can find the file under Library > Application Support > MobileSync > Backup. You should find multiple folders in there, each with a different backup image of your phone. Each of the folders should have a file named:
Those are your texts, in SQLite database form. Note that the file could have the extension “mdbackup,” or no extension at all. Also note that Apple hides the Library folder from users, so if you can’t access it, go to the Finder