Print/Save iPhone messages

A friend of mine would like to print or save a conversation from Messages on an iPhone. The configuration is iPhone SE 2:nd generation with iOS 16.5 and a MacBook Pro (middle 2012) with Mojave 10.14.6. Is there a way to transfer messages from the iPhone to the Mac? And is there a way to print/save a message conversation from the Mac. Or are there other ways to accomplish this?

I know it is easy get a pdf-printout of a message conversation in Ventura, just select it, chose Print and select PDF. The result is a PDF-file formatted as the conversation.

iMazing can do this. (I’ve never done so, but have seen plenty of people reporting success.)

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Do the messages not show up on the Mac in the Messages app?
If not, have you signed in?

High Sierra already has a Print command (which stays gray until you sign in).
Big Sur has it as well.

Or have I completely misunderstood your case?

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No, the messages do not show up on the Mac. Have I missunderstood you, sign up where? The message app on the Mac has not been used since 2014.

I will definitely check out iMazing!

Do you have an AppleID? If yes, use the credentials to log-in in the Messages App under Preferences/Accounts. If not, get one, it’s free.

I have over the years met many people who are not aware that the messages app on the Mac is really useful. They associate text messages firmly, but exclusively with an iPhone, but that hasn’t been true anymore for many years.

I don’t know iMazing, but would rather think you don’t really need it.

To get all of the messages over, you would also need to turn on Messages in iCloud for both the iPhone and the Mac. Signing in to iMessage now will only bring in future iMessage messages, plus you’d also need to turn on SMS forwarding to the Mac in order to get those messages over.

I am 99% sure that Messages in iCloud works with High Sierra.

Still, iMazing is designed to do this. Also, in Message on Ventura just now, I did File | Print for the message thread with my wife, and it said it would print on 10 pages. I thought it has to be more than that. I had to start scrolling up in the messages thread for it to recognize more. Each time I scrolled up a while and did File | Print, it recognized more pages each time (25 pages, then 37, then 53.) It took me a while to get to the top of the thread - every time I dragged the scroll bar to the top, more messages would appear - and then when I tried to Print, the app crashed, and when re-opened I was back to 10 pages again.

So I’m not sure File | Print does a full historical printout of a message thread without manually scrolling to the first message in the thread.

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Thank you, ddmiller and mHm, for your tips. I will see my friend tomorrow evening and we will try them out.

How to use iMazing to export messages to a PDF file or other formats. Once you have them exported, you can print as you wish.

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And in case you want an alternative to iMazing (for whatever reason), I have successfully used Decipher TextMessage for the same purpose.

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Messages on the Mac is a must have in my view, even if just for the automatic insertion of two-factor codes that are sent to your iPhone via SMS.


TidBITS helped me in a similar situation. As I recall, the solution was to turn on Enable Messages in iCloud. (In Big Sur, that’s at Messages > Preferences > iMessage > Enable Messages in iCloud. If it’s not there in Mojave, see if it’s somewhere nearby.) I don’t recall if it was necessary to find a similar switch on the iPhone; if this doesn’t work, look for something on the iPhone. Good luck. (There is a Sync Now button on the Enable Messages in iCloud line on my Mac. That might load old messages.)

I agree – if you work on a Mac, there are few reasons to use Messages on a phone. A few years ago a colleague texted me and after a bunch of messages asked me, “How can you type so fast on a phone ?” – My answer: “I DON’T type on a phone, I type on a [Mac] keyboard” :)

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