macOS: Saving Out Messages Conversations

In a previous tip, I mentioned PhoneView, an excellent third-party utility for pulling texts off your iPhone or iPad. If you’d rather, though, there is a way to export a conversation out of Messages on the Mac, so if you’ve gotta save just one string of texts, it’s pretty darned simple (and free!).

If you need to do this, then, open Messages and click on the conversation in the sidebar that you’d like to save.

macOS Messages Sidebar

Then here’s the only weird part: You’ll need to make sure that the part of the conversation you need has been loaded in the program. So scroll up within the conversation itself to keep stepping further back in time until you find everything you want to keep.

macOS Messages Scroll Area

See? Scroll up there. By the way, that [redacted] has been [redacted] because of [redacted].

When you’re satisfied that you’ve got the incriminating statements you want—because that’s why you’re doing this, right? Blackmail?—you’re gonna use the Mac’s built-in PDF-saving functionality. Start by going to File > Print from the menus at the top.

macOS Message Print option in the menu bar

Then within that resulting print dialog box, look for the “PDF” drop-down in the lower-left.

Printing Messages conversations using the PDF Button in the Print dialog

Clicking on that will reveal a bunch of options, and the one we want is “Save as PDF.”

Save PDF option in the macOS Print dialog

Afterward, you can choose where to save your stuff, and then you’ve got the history of that conversation stored! As far back as you scrolled, at least. But if you’re having trouble getting Messages to work on your Mac at all, be sure to go and look through Apple’s support article on it.

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