Have you never cleaned out your texts and iMessages because they contain precious memories and pictures that friends and family sent over the years? If so, you are not alone, in fact, you are in the majority! One of the most frequent questions we get from our readers is how to save all images from text messages, iMessage, or SMS conversation thread.
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Why saving pictures from messages matters
Quite a lot of us save and store our texts for years because they contain important memories from our friends and family, including photos, videos, and other attachments. Unbelievably, some of us have never cleared our Message history for all SMS/iMessage/Messages!
However, this method of storage is not very efficient, AND it’s not very safe! Why? Because it relies on you regularly backing up your iPhone’s (or other iDevice’s) via iCloud or iTunes. And of course, all those texts and messages take up a considerable amount of space on your iPhone or iDevice, often leading to the dreaded “Storage Almost Full” pop-up.
So if you are asking what’s the best way to archive all those photo attachments from all those years of text messages, read on!
iCloud Does Not Support Your Message App–Yet!
This may come as a surprise to some, but Apple does not currently support syncing the Message App with iCloud. That means that your messages are only stored locally on your device(s) and NOT in the cloud. Apple is currently at work creating Messages in the Cloud feature for an upcoming iOS release that, when released, will back up and store nearly all of your messages except for your most recent ones in the cloud instead of your device.
But for now, since iCloud does not currently support the Message app, all those photos, videos, and other Message App attachments are not included in your iCloud Photo Library. By keeping all those images etc. in your Message App, you are placing them at a large risk should your iDevice ever fail, encounter a problem, or need set-up as new. That’s why we always recommend saving any important text message photos, videos, and other attachments to your Photos App. And best of all, it’s easy!
5 Steps to Save All Images from Text Messages
- Open a message thread and tap the blue “i”
- Scroll down to see all the images, video, and attachments in that thread
- Deep press on one of the images to open a pop-up menu and select More
- Select all the images you want to save using the selection button next to each image
- Tap Save Images (or Attachments) in the bottom left corner
- Open your Photos App to confirm you saved your pictures
- Repeat for each message thread
Can You Save Your Message App Images in Bulk?
The short answer is no. iOS doesn’t currently allow you to save images from multiple conversations in one step. So the bad news here is that you need to follow that 5 step process for each message thread. For folks with a lot of stored texts and images, this can be quite a tedious task!
Use a Third-Party…Cautiously
If that seems like too much, there are some third-party apps for your iDevice or your Mac that can help you to save photos and other attachments you received via text messages or iMessages. Some of these require a Mac often using Terminal to save iMessage photos to Mac. These tools usually use your iCloud or iTunes backup(s) to extract the information. We don’t recommend any particular app, but rather encourage you to look at both the iDevice and Mac App Stores, search for apps that extract iMessage photos, and be sure to read all the user reviews first!