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Saving Text Messages to Computer - Tutorial for Mac and Windows

Jay W.

Categories: iphone | View Comments

Step by step guide to save text messages to your Windows or Mac Computer


Tutorial Goal

The goal of this tutorial is to give you a quick step-by-step guide on how to save and export your text messages and attachments (photos/videos) from your iPhone to your computer. After following these steps, you will have hopefully saved your text messages and have peace of mind that a secondary copy of your SMS conversations are backed up safe and sound on your home or work computer!

Tutorial Overview

Whether you send and receive iPhone text messages for personal or business reasons, there usually comes a day in most iPhone user’s lives when all of a sudden you need to quickly save your text messages to your PC or Mac. We receive emails weekly from people all over the world who need to save their messages. Some want to export text messages from family members or a loved one. Others might need to document business SMS messages for a company meeting or even for trial or legal proceedings. Whatever the reason, today's tutorial will help guide you through the easy process of transferring your text messages to computer. This tutorial works with iOS4 / iOS5 iOS6 / iOS7 / iOS8 / iOS9 / iOS10. It is also supported for OS X Leopard, Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite, El Capitan, and macOS Sierra.

Tutorial Steps: Quick Overview - Saving text messages to your computer

  1. Backup your iPhone via iTunes.
  2. Download Decipher TextMessage on your Mac or Windows computer.
  3. Select your iPhone or iPad and a specific contact and then choose “export.”
  4. Open the saved text messages on your computer to print, pdf, or email.

Items needed to save text messages to your computer.

Necessary items to successfully complete the tutorial:

  1. iPhone or iPad
  2. Decipher TextMessage
  3. Mac or Windows Computer
  4. iPhone cable
tutorial on how to export iPhone text messages

Tutorial Step-by-Step Details

Below are the specific steps that outline the process of saving your iPhone text messages to your desktop or laptop computer. If you get stuck at any point during the process, don't panic! We're always happy to help and you can email us via our Decipher Tools Support Page for assistance! Let's get started and dive right in!

Step 1 - Back up your iPhone via iTunes

In order to save your text messages, you’ll first need to open iTunes on your computer and make a backup of your iPhone or iPad. If you don’t have iTunes on your computer you can download it here. If you already have iTunes, simply plug your iPhone into your computer with your Apple cable and then launch iTunes.

iTunes 12

If you are running iTunes 12, when your iOS device is plugged into your computer, you should see a device icon in the upper-left section of the iTunes window. Clicking on that device icon will bring you to the summary page for that iOS device (iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch) or bring up a menu of multiple devices for you to select from.

how to backup my phone via iTunes

Older iTunes Versions

If you are running an older version of iTunes, navigate to the upper-right corner of the iTunes window and you should see a button for one or more iOS devices. Press that button to bring up the summary page for your iPhone/iPad. If you do not see the button for your phone in the upper-right corner of iTunes, check to see if you have a list on the left-hand side of your iTunes window. If so, your phone should appear under "Devices" in that list. Click on the device name in order to bring up the information window for your iPhone/iPad.

tips on how to backup your iPhone via iTunes

On the Summary page in iTunes you should then see the “Back Up Now" option. By clicking on "Back Up Now," this will ensure you phone backs up and doesn’t only sync. There is actually a difference! You can monitor the progress of your backup in the top part of the iTunes window. If you still have troubles backing up your iPhone, our FAQ article on how to back up your iOS device might be helpful!


Step 2 - Install Decipher TextMessage on your Mac or Windows Computer.

decipher text messages saves text messages to your computer

In order to export your messages you’ll need to first download Decipher TextMessage on your computer. We recommend downloading the program directly from our website that is secure and verified by Symantec. After installing Decipher TextMessage, the first time you launch the software you’ll immediately see your iPhone listed in the left-hand column of the program window. If you don't, please double-check that you've backed up your phone.

Step 3 - Choosing specific text messages to export or save.

Using Decipher TextMessage to save your text messages to computer.

After opening Decipher TextMessage and selecting a device in the left-hand column of the program, you'll then notice a list of all your iPhone contacts listed in the middle column of the software. Scroll up and down to locate the contact whose text messages or iMessages you want to save.

After choosing a contact, select the “Export” option from the menu and save the messages from that contact to any location on your computer. We recommend saving the messages to your desktop for easy access.

Use Decipher TextMessage to export iPhone text messages

Step 4 - How to open and view your saved text messages on your computer.

Navigate to the exported folder on your computer containing the text messages that you just saved. Double click on the saved html and it will open in your local web browser. We recommend Google Chrome, Safari, or Firefox. Once you open the exported file, you’ll immediately see all your saved messages with that specific contact in chat bubble format! Also included as part of your text message history will be any photo or video attachments contained in the SMS conversation. Below is a screenshot example for reference of how your iPhone text messages will look after exporting them to your Windows or Mac computer with Decipher TextMessage!

How to view exported iPhone text messages

Tutorial Tip: How to add new text messages to your previously saved text message history in Decipher TextMessage

  • Anytime you receive new text messages or iMessages that you want to also quickly save, all you have to do is make a new backup of your iOS device via iTunes and then the next time you open Decipher TextMessage the software will read-in the most recent messages and append them to your existing history within the program!

Tutorial Conclusion:

Hopefully you’ve now successfully backed up and saved your text messages! We recommend putting a reminder on your calendar once a month to repeat the process to ensure that all your most recent text / SMS messages and iMessages are exported and you have a safety copy backed up. If you have any questions about the tutorial, just drop us a line via our Decipher Tools Support Page and we’ll get back to you. Our offices are in the USA (San Francisco and Phoenix) and respond to everyone!

saving text messages testimonial Decipher TextMessage

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