Text Messaging for many of us has become an indispensable form of communication. Whether your messages contain precious memories, important business information, or beautiful images, keeping them safe is essential.
If your iPhone gets lost, broken or stolen and your information is not backed-up - your messages will be lost forever.
This article will help you eliminate this risk. Backing up your iPhone will ensure that you always have your important information on hand. Even if something should happen to the phone itself.
Let's have a look at the best 3 ways to backup your iPhone text messages, as well as iMessages, WhatsApp and your LINE conversations.
Quick Jump to...
- Save your iPhone Messages your way using TouchCopy
- Backup iPhone Messages using iCloud
- Backup your iPhone messages via iTunes / Finder
- Comparison Table and Summary
Extra: What type of backup do you need?
There are 2 types of backups covered in this article. Make sure you know the difference!
Selective Backup: a backup of files which you control. Choose what you wish to backup from iPhone to computer and have complete access to it once it is saved.
Your exported conversations are available locally on your computer, so you can access, share and print them without having to restore a backup to your iPhone.
TouchCopy performs this type of backup.
Locked Backup: a backup of a large group of files which are stored in a locked file. This type of backup can be used to restore its information to a device.
iTunes and iCloud perform this kind of backup.
Save your iPhone Messages your way using TouchCopy
If you want full access to your saved messages, you'll need to use a trusted third-party app like TouchCopy.
Unlike iTunes/iCloud locked backups, TouchCopy allows you to select exactly what you want to backup, and ensures that you can access and view them on your computer once they are saved!
Selecting messages in TouchCopy:
- You can backup your SMS, MMS, iMessage, LINE and WhatsApp conversations.
- TouchCopy gives you the choice to backup all your iPhone messages, or only the conversation that you select. You can even narrow down which messages you want to backup by setting a date-range as detailed in the TouchCopy user guide.
Let's see how to backup iPhone text messages to PC/Mac...
- Download and install TouchCopy on your computer.
- Launch TouchCopy and connect your iPhone using your USB cable.
- Click the 'Messages' tab and locate the conversation you wish to backup (you can select multiple contacts by holding ctrl(PC) or cmd(Mac)).
- Select the conversation with a contact that you wish to backup. You may need to scroll down or search through the conversations in TouchCopy to find the text message, WhatsApp, LINE or an iMessage conversation that you wish to view and save.
- Choose a backup format to save the conversation as:
- HTML: Clicking "Save as HTML" will save your conversation as HTML. Saving in this format will also produce a folder containing any media in the conversation (images, videos, audio, etc.). HTML files can be viewed in your internet browser (e.g. Google Chrome, Safari...).
- PDF: Using "Save as PDF" will export your conversation in Portable Document Format (PDF). These files are easy for sharing and include any attached images. Video is not supported in this format.
- Text: Saving as Plain Text will save your conversation as a .txt file. This format does not include any visual formatting, or media like images and videos.
- Choose where to save the conversation to and click "OK" (or "Continue" on a Mac).
What is backed-up?
TouchCopy will display and save your messages in a familiar way as shown on your iPhone.
This includes all message data like contact's name/number, dates/times messages were sent/received, and any emojis, videos or images in the message. As such, all information needed will be saved with your messages.
For a visual guide on how to backup messages using TouchCopy, check out our video below!:
For more information about searching, copying and printing messages, check out TouchCopy's user guide >
As well as being able to export your text messages in different formats, you can also transfer other data types from iPhone to computer (Contacts, Music, Photos, Call Logs and more).
Backup iPhone Messages using iCloud
iCloud is a great solution if you want to keep your information backed-up on the go. As it uses Wi-Fi to backup data, it's a convenient way to backup.
Note that you can't access messages backed-up to iCloud - this form of backup comes into use if you need to restore messages to a device. If you need full access to your messages, try Method 1: TouchCopy.
Now, the process of backing up your messages to iCloud will vary, depending on the version of iOS that your iPhone is using. You can sync messages with iCloud without performing a full backup on iOS 11.4 and later. Or you can perform a full iCloud backup on any iPhone with iCloud enabled.
Syncing iPhone messages on iOS 11.4 and later:
- Launch Settings on your iPhone
- Tap your username.
- Tap iCloud.
- Toggle Messages to ON (green switch) to begin syncing your text messages and iMessages with iCloud.
- To sync your WhatsApp and LINE conversations with iCloud, toggle the green switch next to WhatsApp and LINE to ON.
Backing up iPhone messages in an iCloud backup:
- Make sure that your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi and is plugged into a power source.
- Launch Settings on your iPhone.
- Tap iCloud (or your username, then iCloud).
- Tap "Backup" or "iCloud Backup" from the list.
- Toggle iCloud backup ON or tap "Backup Now" if iCloud Backup was already enabled.
Extra: iCloud Storage Limitations
You get an allowance of 5GB of iCloud storage when you sign up. When you backup or transfer files to iCloud, this allowance will be used.
Check out Apple's plans if you should need more iCloud storage.
If you don't want to be constrained by this limitation, the other methods in this guide use your local computer storage instead.
Backup your iPhone messages via iTunes / Finder
Our final method will cover how to backup your iPhone messages in a local backup to your computer.
Using this method, you'll be able to perform a full backup of your iPhone and store the backup file locally on your computer. Note that the iTunes backup includes your text messages, iMessages and WhatsApp messages, however LINE messages are not included. We recommend this method if you're switching to a new phone, so a full iPhone backup is required, or you don't have enough iCloud storage available. If you wish to selectively backup your iPhone files on your computer, check out the TouchCopy method.
You can use this type of backup to restore an iPhone.
For this method, you'll need to use iTunes on Windows PCs and Macs running 10.14 and lower; or Finder on Macs running macOS Catalina (10.15) and higher.
Backing up iPhone messages in an iTunes / Finder backup:
- Launch iTunes on your Mac or PC (or launch Finder if you are using macOS Catalina and higher).
- Connect your iPhone to your computer using your USB cable.
- Select your device and view the Summary tab.
- Ensure that "This Computer" / "This Mac" is checked (and check "Encrypt Local Backup" if you want to backup Activity and Health data).
- Click "Back up Now" and keep your iPhone connected while the backup is in progress.
- When the backup is complete, you'll see a note in iTunes saying that the last backup of your iPhone was today.
There you have it! Now you know the best ways to backup your iPhone messages.
Let's compare the 3 methods by breaking down the features that they offer...
|Access to backed up messages on computer||✔||✘||✘|
|Backup & Restore||✘||✔||✔|
|Wi-Fi / USB cable||Wi-Fi or USB||Wi-Fi||USB|
|Backup Storage Location|
|Message types backed up|
|Message Export Formats|
We hope you now have all the knowledge you need to make an informed decision about which method is best for you.
If you are still unsure, here's a little summary:
- Use TouchCopy if you want to be in control of what you backup. You can access your exported conversations locally on your computer, share them and even print them out.
- Use iCloud if you want to make regular backups over Wi-Fi. You can't access your backed-up messages, but you can restore them to an iPhone if something should go wrong.
- Use iTunes if you want to make local backups of your iPhone (rather than using iCloud storage space). As with iCloud, you can't access your backed-up messages, but you can restore them to an iPhone if something should go wrong.
Thanks for reading!
Wide Angle Software