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How to Bulk View and Save All of Your iPhone Messages App Photos and Videos

Kelly Wilkerson

Categories: data recovery | View Comments

We made our Decipher TextMessage tool to help people with their text history, like collecting archives and backups of their important conversations, or print messages for various needs. However, sometimes you may just be interested in all of your text message attachments (photos, videos, etc) as a whole group, rather than the actual text history.

We've been working on some various improvements to our tools to help support needs like this, so I want to outline a few common tasks that people ask us about involving text message photos/video attachments, and how I'd go about accomplishing them.

How to Bulk Save All Text Message Photo and Video Attachments

If you're not really concerned about the text message text, nor the contacts associated with the messages, and you really just want a quick way to bulk save all of your photos (and videos) from the Messages app, I would use Decipher Backup Browser's Text Message Attachments section to see all of the photos and videos stored in your Messages app.

Step 1: Download the Decipher Backup Browser free trial.

Step 2: Install and run Decipher Backup Browser. It will look for your iPhone/iPad backups made in iTunes and show them all to you in the left column.

Step 3: Select your iPhone backup, and then select "Text Message Attachments".

Step 4: In here, you can see preview thumbnails of all of your attachment photos and videos. You can use the Save button to export all of the photos from your backup anywhere you like on your computer.

You'll need to register Decipher Backup Browser to use the save button or view full size photos beyond the first few photos!

How to Look for Deleted Text Message Photos and Videos

Back in the days of iOS 7 and earlier, when you deleted a text message (or text message thread), the database trigger to delete the underlying files didn't work so well. A lot of us had disk-usage-creep due to deleted photos and videos creeping around without our knowledge. iOS 7 sounds like a long time ago, but if you typically set up your new iPhones by restoring a backup of your old iPhone with iCloud or in iTunes, you likely still have remnants of those old old deleted attachments sitting on your iPhone and sitting in your backup. If you want to take a look, you can again use Decipher Backup Browser (free version) to help you out:

Step 1: Download the Decipher Backup Browser free trial.

Step 2: Install and run Decipher Backup Browser. It will look for your iPhone/iPad backups made in iTunes and show them all to you in the left column.

Step 3: Select your iPhone backup, and then select "Text Message Attachments".

Step 4: Scroll down to the end of the thumbnails. Decipher Backup Browser sorts the attachments form newest to oldest. Look for photo attachments with the old pre-iOS 8 bubble thumbnails, and old photos that you had deleted.

Old deleted iPhone text message photos and iOS 8 thumbnails from the Messages app

Here's a screenshot of my Decipher Backup Browser looking at a backup from August 2016 shortly before the iOS 10 release. Despite having deleted all of my messages on my iPhone multiple times, I can see photos from December 2011 (of my son who was six months old at the time). You'll also notice a big handful of photos that look like text bubbles; these are thumbnails that the old iOS Messages app made before iOS 8. That's a telltale sign that these are old deleted text attachments that didn't get deleted properly.

Old iPhone iOS 8 messages app bubble photo preview

That might be the cutest waste of space on my iPhone ever.

How to Save All Text Message Photos From a Single Contact

If you really just want to save photos and videos sent to you from one person (or a handful of people), then I would use Decipher TextMessage for this, since it gets into the text message database to organize the messages data and files by contact.

Step 1: Download Decipher TextMessage from our website and install it.

Step 2: Run Decipher TextMessage, and it will look for your iPhone backups automatically, and import the text message data.

Step 3: Select your iPhone in the Decipher TextMessage main window, then select the contact from which you want to save photos texted to you.

Step 4: Press Export, and select where you want to save the conversation.

Step 5: Look on your computer at the place where you saved the conversation, and open the folder named "Attachments" inside. You'll see all of your photo and video files sent and received with this person!

We're always looking for ways to better support the tasks our customers want to do with their iPhone data. If you have other tasks you want to do with your iPhone Messages attachments, leave us a comment below or send us an email about what you're hoping to do and we'll see if we can help you do it!