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The 3 Best Ways to Backup Text Messages on iPhone

How to Back up your iPhone Text Messages

Last Updated :  |  Author: Dev Team

How to backup text messages on iPhone

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 absolutely 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 back up your iPhone messages!

Quick Jump to...

  1. Save your iPhone Messages your way using TouchCopy
  2. Backup iPhone Messages using iCloud
  3. Backup your iPhone messages via iTunes / Finder
  4. 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 want to back up 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 back up your SMS, MMS, iMessage and WhatsApp conversations.
  • TouchCopy gives you the choice to back up all your iPhone messages, or only the conversation that you select. You can even narrow down which messages you want to back up by setting a date-range.
    Check out the guide for more information on selecting messages in TouchCopy.

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)!

Let's see how to back up iPhone text messages to PC/Mac...

  1. Download and install TouchCopy on your computer.
  2. Launch TouchCopy and connect your iPhone using your USB cable. Connect iPhone with TouchCopy
  3. Click the 'Messages' tab and locate the conversation you wish to back up (you can select multiple contacts by holding ctrl(PC) or cmd(Mac)).
  4. Click the contact's name to view that conversation. How to back up text messages on iPhone
  5. Choose a backup format to save the conversation as:
    • HTML: Clicking "Copy Messages" (or "Save as HTML" on Macs) 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 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.
  6. Choose where to save the conversation to and click "OK" (or "Continue" on Macs)!
Download iconDownload TouchCopy for PC Download iconDownload TouchCopy for 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 back up messages using TouchCopy, check out our video below!:

For more information about searching, copying and printing messages, check out TouchCopy's user guide >

Back up 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 back up 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:

  1. Launch Settings on your iPhone
  2. Tap your username.
  3. Tap iCloud.
  4. Toggle Messages to ON (green switch) to begin syncing your messages with iCloud. How to sync iPhone messages with iCloud

Backing up iPhone messages in an iCloud backup:

  1. Make sure that your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi and is plugged into a power source.
  2. Launch Settings on your iPhone.
  3. Tap iCloud (or your username, then iCloud).
  4. Tap "Backup" or "iCloud Backup" from the list.
  5. Toggle iCloud backup ON or tap "Back Up Now" if iCloud Backup was already enabled. Enable iCloud backups on iPhone

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 back up 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 (including messages) and store the backup file locally on your computer. This is the method for you if you don't have enough iCloud storage available, and if you don't mind not being able to access your backup files (I want full access to my iPhone backups).

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:

  1. Launch iTunes on your Mac or PC (or launch Finder if you are using macOS Catalina and higher).
  2. Connect your iPhone to your computer using your USB cable.
  3. Select your device and view the Summary tab.
  4. Ensure that "This Computer" / "This Mac" is checked (and check "Encrypt Local Backup" if you want to back up Activity and Health data).
  5. Click "Back Up Now" and keep your iPhone connected while the backup is in progress. Backup iPhone messages with iTunes
  6. 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 back up your iPhone messages.

Let's compare the 3 methods by breaking down the features that they offer...

Features TouchCopy iCloud iTunes
Backup Type Selective Locked Locked
Access to backed up messages on computer
Backup & Restore
iPhone Connection
Wi-Fi / USB cable Wi-Fi or USB Wi-Fi USB
Backup Storage Location
Local Computer
Message types backed up
Message Export Formats
Plain Text
Physical backups
Print Messages

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!

Publisher: Wide Angle Software

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