A greater part of our day-to-day communication takes place over messages these days. I suppose nothing is surprising about it. Written medium has always been a prevalent mode of communication; it’s just evolved with time.

Some of these messages have sentimental value while others contain important information. So, it’s not the least bit surprising that we might want to save some of these chats. But when you’re communicating via iMessage, saving these chats becomes a tad difficult.

There is no direct option to export an entire iMessage conversation or even larger portions of it for saving elsewhere. If you’re changing your phone and want to take these chats with you, the iCloud backup will be your savior given you’re transferring to an iPhone itself. But if you’re shifting to an Android device or your purpose for wanting to export a conversation is something else entirely, you will have to resort to workarounds. And mind you, these are not very ideal workarounds. But they never are, are they?

Rest assured, you will still have access to your messages. And in the end, is that not the only thing that matters? So, let’s get to it.

Screenshot your Chats

Though it might feel very anti-climactic to see screenshotting your chats as a possible solution, it’s one of the easiest methods. Of course, it won’t be very realistic for very long chats. But let’s be honest, you probably don’t want to save an entire chat, just the important bits.

There are upsides to using this method. First, taking a screenshot is easy. Second, it also preserves the authenticity of the entire chat. With the message bubbles intact, you don’t have to guess which messages belong to whom when revisiting it down the line.

On your iPhone, press the side button (lock/ wake up button) and the volume button simultaneously until the screenshot appears in a thumbnail in the lower-left corner of the screen. And that’s it. The screenshot would be automatically saved to your gallery. If you want, you can tap the thumbnail before it disappears to make any edits. But if you do that, you’ll have to manually save it to the gallery. After making any edits, tap ‘Done’ in the upper-left corner.

Then, select ‘Save to Photos’ to save the screenshot. You can also save them to files instead of photos from here.

You can keep the screenshots in Photos, transfer them to your computer, mail them to yourself, or store them in cloud storage.

Forward your Messages

If you don’t want to clutter your phone with screenshots, forwarding your messages as text messages or through email might be the better approach. And depending on how much you really want to export a chat and the time you’re willing to put in, you can save as much of the chat as you want. It also allows you to leave out the messages you don’t want to export. But, beware. All the messages will be bundled together when using this method. There will be no name or timestamp with any of the messages.

Open the conversation from the Messages app. Then, tap and hold any message you want to include in the export. Few options would appear. Tap on ‘More’.

The message you were holding will be selected. Tap the other messages you want to include to select them. If there are a lot of messages, it will take some time to select them; there is no shortcut for making it quick. Then, tap the ‘Forward’ option in the lower-right corner of the screen.

The messages will load in the compose box of a new message. There are several things you can do from here. You can either forward those messages to yourself in iMessage itself. But if your purpose is to create backup copies you can take elsewhere, this won’t be the ideal choice then.

Tap the message one and then tap ‘Select All’ from the options that appear.

Then, select ‘Copy’ from the options that further appear.

You can also use the Copy gesture – place three fingers on the screen and pinch them inward – to copy the text.

Then, you can paste it in a mail, note, or anywhere else.

Save as a PDF

You can also save it to Pages and export the file as a PDF. Open a document in Pages and paste the messages. Then, tap the three-dot menu in the upper-right corner.

Select ‘Export’ from the options.

Then, select ‘PDF’ from the export options.

When using iMessage, it gets extremely difficult to export your messages. But if you’ve got an iron-clad will, there’s always a way to get it done.