Have you never cleaned out your texts and iMessages because they contain precious memories and pictures that friends and family sent over the years? Wondering how to save all images from text messages?
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.
Follow these quick tips to save your message app photos & videos to the Photos app!
- For iOS 13.1+, open a message thread and tap on the sender(s)’ name, choose the “i” info button, scroll down to the Photos section and tap See All Photos. Then tap Select and choose the photos you wish to save. Once done, tap Save
- For folks using earlier versions of iOS 13 and iPadOS, update your iOS or iPadOS to the latest version to save multiple images. Or, if an update is not possible, save each image one-by-one
- For iOS 12 & below, open a message thread and tap on the sender(s)’ name, choose the “i” info button and long press on one photo to select the More button. Then select all the images you want to save and tap Save Images or Save Attachments in the bottom
- For Macs, tap a message thread’s Details button, select the photos you want to save, and right-click on those selected images choosing Add to Photos Library
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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!
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!
Using iPadOS or iOS 13?
We don’t know why, but Apple did not include the option to save multiple photos in the Message app in the first release of iOS 13 and iPadOS. But the good news is that Apple included this feature in later iOS 13 and iPadOS versions! So if you can, update your iOS or iPadOS.
If you cannot update your iOS/iPadOS version at this time, you must follow the steps to save each photo individually.
How to save multiple images in the Message app with iOS 13 and iPadOS
- Open Messages
- Open a conversation that has photos you wish to save
- Tap the name(s) at the top of the message and then tap on the “i” button
- Scroll down to the Photos section and tap See All Photos
- Tap Select
- Choose which photos you wish to save and once you select them all, tap Save
- You can also save each photo individually. When Seeing all your photos, do not choose Select and instead long-press on each photo and choose Save
How to save photos individually in the Message app with iPadOS and iOS 13
- Open the Messages app
- Choose and open a conversation that contains photos you want to save
- Long press on a photo you want to save to the Photos app
- Choose Save
- Repeat for each photo you want to save
6 steps to save all images from text messages for iPhone, iPad, and iPod (iOS 12 and lower)
- For iOS 12, open a conversation and tap a profile icon or picture at the top of the message thread–then tap the “i” button
- For iOS 11, 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
Want to save just a single or a few images from a text message?
Just follow the same steps!
- Open the text with the image(s)you want to save
- Locate the image(s) in the message conversation thread
- Tap and hold the image until the menu with Copy, Save, and More… appears
- Select Save
- Your image(s) save to your Photos App
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!
Can you automatically save pictures from iMessage and the iOS Message app?
A big change in iOS 12+ is that all photos you attach or take while IN the Messages app are now saved to your Photos app automatically.
So if you like to snap or attach pictures when using Messages and sending those to someone, that picture is now saved automatically into photos app. Those pictures even auto-save to the camera roll before you send the message.
When you tap the blue arrow to insert a photo into the message, iOS saves it.
However, any pictures sent to you are NOT automatically saved
So for now, there is no automatic way to save all the photos folks send you in texts to you. But images from you are indeed automatically saved–to the pleasure and displeasure of users.
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!
5 steps to save all images from text messages for Mac
- Open the Message app on your Mac and choose a conversation
- Tap the Details button
- Choose Photos from the tab
- Select all the photos you want to save by using the Shift or Command key or select all photos using Command+A
- Right-click and select Add to Photos Library
Drag and drop photos from your Mac’s Messages app
- In the Messages app, select the text thread that has the image(s) you want to save
- Press and hold on the image(s) and drag and drop the image to your desktop, a folder, or hard drive–anywhere you see a green plus sign next to the image is a place you can save it too!
Using iOS 11.4 and above? Try Messages in iCloud out!
Messages in iCloud update automatically, so iMessage always shows the same texts!
That means when you delete a message, photo, or conversation from one device, it’s removed from all devices (using iOS 11.4 and above or macOS Mojave) signed in with the same Apple ID.
To use Messages in iCloud, you need to turn on a few features first
- Sign in with the same Apple ID on all of your devices (including Macs using macOS Mojave)
- For Your Apple ID, turn on two-factor authentication
- Enable and set up an iCloud Keychain
Enable iCloud messages on your iPhone and iPad
- Go to Settings > Apple ID Profile > iCloud
- Turn on Messages
Messages in iCloud for your Mac
- Open Messages and go to Messages > Preferences
- Choose iMessage
- Tick the checkbox next to Enable Messages in iCloud
- Press Sync Now to force an immediate syncing
What about iOS below iOS 11.4? iCloud does not support your Message app
This may come as a surprise to some, but in earlier versions of iOS Apple does not 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 released Messages in the Cloud feature in iOS 11.4. When you turn this feature on, it automatically backs up and stores nearly all of your messages except for your most recent ones in the cloud instead of your device.
Since earlier versions of iOS, do not support the Message app in your iCloud account, 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!
For most of her professional life, Amanda Elizabeth (Liz for short) trained all sorts of folks on how to use media as a tool to tell their own unique stories. She knows a thing or two about teaching others and creating how-to guides!
Her clients include Edutopia, Scribe Video Center, Third Path Institute, Bracket, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Big Picture Alliance.
Elizabeth received her Master of Fine Arts degree in media making from Temple University, where she also taught undergrads as an adjunct faculty member in their department of Film and Media Arts.