3 Best Ways to Backup Your iPhone Messages

How to Backup iPhone Text Messages, iMessages, LINE and WhatsApp Chats

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How to backup text messages on iPhone

Text messaging is a vital communication tool, often holding important business information, cherished memories, and stunning images. In the event of an iPhone mishap, losing these messages can be devastating.

This article guides you on how to backup your iPhone text messages, iMessages and WhatsApp conversations, ensuring that your important conversations remain accessible, regardless of any unforeseen events.

Tip: What type of backup do you need?

This article covers 2 types of backups. Make sure you know the difference!

  • Selective Backup: choose what you want to save from your iPhone to your computer, and have complete access to your backup.

    Your messages are saved on your computer, so you can easily access, share, or print them without needing to restore your entire iPhone backup.

    TouchCopy performs this type of backup.

  • Locked Backup: a backup of a large group of files which are stored in a locked file. This backup can be used to restore your data on a device.

    iTunes and iCloud perform this kind of backup.

Method 1: Selectively Backup iPhone Messages Using TouchCopy

If you want full access to your saved messages, you'll need to use a trusted third-party app like TouchCopy. This is the perfect way to save text messages on iPhone without iCloud or iTunes.

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:

How to save text messages on iPhone to PC/Mac

  1. Download and install TouchCopy on your computer.
  2. Launch TouchCopy and connect your iPhone using your USB cable. Connecting an iPhone with TouchCopy
  3. Click 'Messages' to view all the messages stored on the connected device.
  4. Select the conversations you want to backup (you can select multiple conversations by holding ctrl(PC) or cmd(Mac)). You can scroll down or search through the conversations in TouchCopy to find the text message, WhatsApp, LINE or iMessage conversation that you need. Backing up text messages on iPhone with TouchCopy
  5. Choose a backup format to save the conversation as:
    • HTML: Clicking "Save as HTML" will save your messages as HTML. You can choose to save all your attached media (images, videos, audio, etc.) as part of the HTML, or in a separate folder linked to the HTML file. 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.
  6. Choose where to save the conversation and click "OK" (or "Continue" on a Mac).
Download iconDownload TouchCopy for PC Download iconDownload TouchCopy for Mac

What is backed-up?

TouchCopy will display and save your messages in a format similar to the one you are used to on your iPhone, with different coloured text bubbles for messages from each participant.

This includes all message data like the 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.

Watch our video to learn how to backup messages with TouchCopy

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 media from iPhone to computer (Contacts, Music, Photos, Call Logs and more).

Method 2: 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. To backup iPhone messages to iCloud, you'll first need to enable Messages syncing.

How to sync iPhone messages with iCloud:

  1. Launch Settings on your iPhone.

  2. Tap your username, then tap "iCloud".

    iCloud settings on iPhone
  3. Turn on iCloud Messages:

    • Tap "Messages in iCloud" and then turn on "Use on this iPhone".
    • On older iPhones, simply tap "Messages" to turn on iCloud Messages.
    Syncing iPhone messages with iCloud

Your iPhone will begin syncing your messages with iCloud.

To sync conversations from other apps with iCloud, scroll down to the relevant app items (e.g. WhatsApp) and tap to toggle them ON.

With Messages syncing enabled, you can now access your messages on any device which is logged into your AppleID. Also, any time you make a backup to iCloud, your messages will be saved as part of that backup.

How to backup iPhone Messages to iCloud

Now that you've chosen which messaging apps you want to be included in your iCloud backup, you can go ahead and initiate a backup.

Before you begin, make sure that your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi and is plugged into a power source.

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone.

  2. Tap [your name] > iCloud > iCloud Backup.

    iCloud Backup options in iPhone Settings
  3. Turn on "Back Up This iPhone" and tap "Back Up Now" to manually start backing up your iPhone to iCloud.

    Backing up messages from iPhone to iCloud

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.

Method 3: Backup your iPhone messages via iTunes / Finder

Using this method, you'll be able to perform a full backup of your iPhone and store it locally on your computer. Note that this 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, 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.

How to backup iPhone messages with iTunes

  1. Launch iTunes on your PC or Mac.
  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" is checked (and check "Encrypt Local Backup" if you want to back up Passwords, Health and Homekit data).
  5. Click "Back up Now" and keep your iPhone connected while the backup is in progress. Backup iPhone messages with iTunes

When the backup is complete, you'll see a notification saying that the last backup of your iPhone was today.

How to backup iPhone messages with Finder

  1. Launch Finder on your Mac.
  2. Connect your iPhone to your computer using your USB cable.
  3. Select your device and view the General tab.
  4. Ensure that "Back up all the data on your iPhone to this Mac" is checked (and check "Encrypt local backup" if you want to backup passwords and sensitive personal data).
  5. Click "Back up Now" and keep your iPhone connected while the backup is in progress. Backup iPhone messages with Finder

Takeaways

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...

Features TouchCopy iCloud iTunes/Finder
Backup Type Selective Locked Locked
Access to backed up messages on computer
Backup & Restore
iPhone Connection
Wi-Fi / USB cable USB Wi-Fi USB
Backup Storage Location
Local Computer
Cloud
Message types backed up
SMS
MMS
iMessage
WhatsApp
LINE
Message Export Formats
HTML
PDF
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 or Finder 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!

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