I have been having some issues with Messages in the Cloud on my Macs — both show less texts and iMessages than my iPhone and iPad. I guess I could go through Apple Support but their software solutions usually are to log out and log back in to iCloud or to start fresh (seriously). Instead, I spent a few hours pruning old conversations, which I didn’t need anymore. This still didn’t solve the issue of the multi-year threads that I have with my wife — I have three of those on my iOS devices and only one on my Macs. Since Messages only loads a page or two of messages at a time and requires the user to constantly scroll up to load older messages, its close to impossible to get to the beginning of the thread anyway (I don’t have the patience to scroll-wait-scroll for hours). This led me to the decision to just export our message history as a
While there are many utilities that export Messages from iPhones, iPads, and iTunes backups, I only found one for macOS. Fortunately, it seems to work perfectly1. It goes through the Messages database stored on Macs and extracts the necessary contents. The app is open source and I haven’t found any privacy concerns with it. It took just a few seconds to run on my MacBook Pro and provided me with a folder of subfolders, each titled with a contact’s phone number. Every subfolder contains the message history in a plain text file (including timestamps) while another subfolder contains all multimedia — images, video, etc. — from that thread.
I haven’t yet deleted the relevant threads from Messages yet but I think I’ll pull the trigger, after I make sure everything’s there.
- Mojave users will need to add the program to the System Preferences → Security & Privacy → Privacy → Full Disk Access pane. ↩