How To Save a Text Conversation on iPhone or Mac

Save messages from your iPhone or Mac Messages app, or export using a third-party software to save with timestamps.

If you simply want to save text messages for sentimental purposes, you can easily save them directly from your iPhone or Mac Messages app. To save them for legal purposes, you may need to show the date and time messages were sent, which requires third-party software. In this article, we'll walk through the pros and cons of each method, and cover how to save messages directly from your iPhone and Mac Messages app and using third-party software.

Related: How to Retrieve Deleted Text Messages on iPhone

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Can You Save Text Messages on iPhone?

Yes, but saving text messages directly from your iPhone Messages app has some limitations. When you save text conversations from your iPhone Messages app, the text content of the messages will be saved, but not the date and time the messages were sent. Also, you will need to manually select each text message you want to save, which is not great if you want to export many texts over a long period of time. With the Messages app on your Mac, you can save an entire text conversation as a PDF (without selecting each message), but it will still not have the date and time messages were sent. This is great if you're saving messages for sentimental purposes, but if you need to save texts for legal documentation with timestamps, you will need to use a third-party software, such as iMazing. If you want to learn how to save pictures from the Messages app, read through our article, including how to save photos from the mail app and multiple photos at once.

How to Save Text Messages on iPhone

This simple method is great for saving needed information, such as dates of important events or a kind message from a friend. However, it is important to note that this option saves only the text content of a message, meaning that it will lose its formatting and the message timestamp. Also, it requires that you manually select each text to save. So if you're looking to save a lot of messages at once or are saving texts for legal documentation where the timestamp is needed, I recommend skipping to the section below. Here's how to save text messages: 

  1. Open the Messages app.

  2. Tap to open the text conversation with the messages you want to save. 

  3. Press and hold one of the text messages you want to save. 

  4. Tap More

  5. Tap each text message you want to save. (The blue bubble next to a message indicates that it is selected.)

  6. Tap the Forward icon

  7. Enter at least one recipient name, phone number, or email address. 

  8. Tap the Send icon

The text content of the selected messages will then be sent to the designated phone number or email address. If you'd like a paper copy of your text conversations, I also recommend checking out how to print text messages.

How to Save Text Messages to PDF on Mac

When you save text messages as a PDF from your Mac Messages app, the text format and content will be preserved, showing the text bubble for each text in the conversation. However, it will not show the date the texts were sent. Here's how to save text messages to a PDF from your Mac: 

  1. Open the Messages app on your Mac. 
  2. Click the text conversation you want to save. 

  3. Click File

  4. Select Print

  5. Click the dropdown menu next to file type. 

  6. Select Save to PDF

  7. Select the folder you'd like to save the PDF to.

  8. Click Save

Now you'll have a saved PDF with your conversation texts and images. For more tips on your iPhone or Apple device features, consider signing up for our free Tip of the Day. Otherwise, continue reading to learn how to export texts with timestamps. 

Save Text Messages with Timestamps (for Legal Purposes)

If you need to save a few messages with timestamps, your best (and easiest) option is to simply take a screenshot, which can then be forwarded via email or printed. But if you have a lot of text messages over an extended time period to save, taking screenshots and pasting each image into a document is incredibly inconvenient. For this, I recommend the iMazing software. If you have more than 25 messages to export, you will need to purchase the software license, which is $34.99. I chose this software for several reasons: it is well-reviewed online and has a strong website with tutorials if you have questions unique to your situation. It is also incredibly simple to use and took me less than five minutes to install the software and export the needed text messages. 

Important Note: While there is free software available online that claims to do the same thing, be extremely cautious about installing any of these options. Because you are giving this software access to your iPhone backups and data, you will want to research carefully to make sure you are not downloading malware. 

If you don't have a recent backup of your iPhone text messages, go ahead and back up your iPhone to your computer. Then, follow the steps below to install the software and export your conversations: 

  1. Go to iMazing.com.
  2. Select Free Download to download the software. 

  3. Double-click the .dmg file in your Downloads folder to install the application. 

  4. Click the iMazing icon and drag it to your Applications folder to begin the installation. 

  5. Click Continue Trial if you have less than 25 messages to transfer. Otherwise, you will want to go ahead and purchase a license for one device. 

  6. A list of your backups will appear. Select the backup containing the messages you want to save or print. 

  7. Click the Messages icon (or other messaging app). 

  8. To print a text message conversation, select Print

  9. To save a text message conversation as a PDF, select Export to PDF

  10. Select whether you would like to Export all messages in chat or Export only selected messages

  11. Click Next

  12. Click Choose to confirm and save your PDF file. 

That's all there is to it! If you saved a PDF of your conversation, you can email or print it as needed. 

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Author Details

Ashleigh Page's picture

Author Details

Ashleigh Page

Ashleigh Page is an Associate Editor for iPhone Life. With a background in computer science and creative writing, she loves blending aspects of the technical and creative. An avid technology enthusiast, she adores Apple products and keeping up with the latest innovations. When she’s not working, Ashleigh is often found crafting whimsical (and sometimes nonsensical) short stories, hiking, and playing sand volleyball.