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How to Prepare and Send your iPhone Text Messages to your Lawyer

Kelly Wilkerson

Categories: iphone | View Comments

Organized text message history for court exported and printed using Decipher Text Message.

If you're working remotely with your attorney, you may need to independently save your iPhone text messages and iMessages and send them electronically to your lawyer. Here is our step-by-step guide for preparing and sending your text message transcripts with the needed meta-data/information to your lawyer. We'll start with a brief overview of all of the steps, and then dig into each one with more detail.

How to Send your iPhone text messages to your Attorney:

  1. Plug your iPhone or iPad in to your computer, open iTunes, and make a backup of your device.
  2. Open Decipher Text Message, and select your iPhone.
  3. Select the contact or multiple contacts you for which need to send text messages to your attorney.
  4. Press Export > Export Current Conversation > Text, Photos, and Attachments.
  5. Zip/Compress the resulting folder of your iPhone texts and photos/videos.
  6. Send the zip file to your attorney.

Make a backup of your iPhone in iTunes

The most reliable way to get Messages app data out of your iPhone is through the built-in iOS backup via iTunes.

  • Open your iTunes app on your Mac or Windows computer.

  • At the top of the screen (Mac) or the top of the iTunes window (Windows), select the File menu > Devices > Back Up.

Make a backup of your iPhone in iTunes.

  • You'll see the progress of the backup at the top center of your iTunes window. Wait for the backup to complete and this progress to disappear before moving on!

Make a backup of your iPhone in iTunes.

(Click here for even more in-depth instructions about how to make a backup in iTunes.)


Run Decipher TextMessage

Download and install Decipher TextMessage and run the program. Whether you're using the free trial, or have already purchased a license code, Decipher TextMessage will automatically look for your iPhone backups, read in the Messages app data from the backups, and organize the messages by device.

If you usually have backup encryption turned on for your iPhone backups made in iTunes, Decipher TextMessage will prompt you for your backup password. If you're being asked for a backup password, but you don't remember what yours is, we have some tips to help you remember!


Select the Important Conversation(s) in Decipher TextMessage

Select your iPhone in Decipher TextMessage, and then select the contact for which you need to send text messages to your lawyer.

Make a backup of your iPhone in iTunes.


(Optional) How to Merge Multiple Conversations
If you're like me, sometimes you accidentally iMessage people using their email address instead of their phone number. Or your contact may have a separate work phone. You may need to merge together multiple "contacts" into one cohesive conversation. You can select multiple contacts by holding down the Command key (Mac) or the Ctrl key (Windows) while selecting the contacts. Decipher TextMessage will merge the multiple messages into a cohesive conversation using the date and times of the messages.

Make a backup of your iPhone in iTunes.


Export Your Text Messages

Export iPhone text messages to a document to send to your lawyer.

  • With your needed text messages visible in the right side of the screen, press the Export button.

  • Select Export Current Conversation > Text, Photos, and Attachments.

  • You'll be asked where you want to save the folder containing the text transcript and the folder of image, video, and other attachments. I like to pick somewhere easy for me to access, like the Downloads folder or my Desktop.

  • Decipher TextMessage will export the iPhone-formatted text message transcript, along with the needed attachments.

  • After the export completes, Decipher TextMessage will reveal/select the exported folder in Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac).

  • Right-click on the exported folder, and select Send To > Compressed (zipped) folder (Windows) or Compress name of folder (Mac).

  • After the compression completes, you'll have a zip file selected now that you need to send to your attorney!

Pro-Tip: If you only need text messages from a certain range of dates, select Export Current Conversation > Text, Photos, and Attachments (Date Range). You'll be prompted to select the (inclusive) date range you want to export messages for. This can be handy if you have a very long text message thread with the recipient, but only need messages spanning a shorter range of time.


Send Your Exported iPhone Text Messages to Your Attorney

Due to all of the image and video attachments in your exported messages, the resulting zip file is probably too large to send via email. (Most email providers have a size limit around 5-10 MB, which is about three to five iPhone 6s Plus image attachments.) So, you'll need another way to securely send your large file to your attorney.

Here are some suggestions: Please note that we are not your legal counsel, and if you have privacy concerns, you should discuss the method of transport with your attorney:

  1. Upload your zip file to a box.com account and then share the file with your attorney via email. We recommend sharing the file via email rather than generating a public link.

  2. Upload your zip file to Dropbox, and share the file with your attorney. If you don't have a Dropbox account, use this referral link to get an extra 500MB of space when you set up your account.
    We recommend sharing the file with your attorney by using Dropbox's share feature, rather than generating a public link to your file to email. If the privacy of your exported messages is of no concern, then a public URL sent via email is acceptable.

  3. Upload the file to Google Drive and then share the Google Drive link via Gmail. Again, if the privacy of your messages conversation is important, you should consider sharing the permissions to the file only to the email recipients.

  4. Ask your attorney if they have a file inbox for large files.