Third-party apps can help you download text messages from an iPhone to your computer.

When you back up your iPhone to your computer using iTunes, it creates a single database file containing all of your iPhone's data. However, these backup files can only be reloaded to an iPhone for viewing -- you cannot open and read them on a computer. Third-party apps, such as PhoneView, DiskAid and iExplorer can download text message logs from your iPhone, so that you can store and read them on your computer.

PhoneView

Visit the Ecamm developer webpage

Visit the Ecamm developer webpage and download the desktop Phoneview software, priced at $30 as of October 2013 (link in Resources). Run the installation package.

Launch PhoneView

Launch PhoneView and connect your iPhone to your computer with the USB cable.

Select Messages

Select "Messages" and your iPhone text message conversations will appear.

Highlight the messages

Highlight the messages you wish to copy and click "Copy from iPhone." You will be prompted to choose a hard drive location for the message logs. Click "Save."

DiskAid

Visit the DigiDNA developer website

Visit the DigiDNA developer website and purchase the DiskAid software, which was listed for $30 as of October 2013 (link in Resources). Download and run the PC installation package.

Connect your iPhone

Connect your iPhone to your computer with the USB cable.

Launch DiskAid

Launch DiskAid and select "Messages" from the sidebar, under the "Data" category.

Highlight the conversations

Highlight the conversations you want to save and select "Copy to computer."

IExplorer

Costs 35 as of October 2013

Purchase iExplorer from the Macroplant developer website link in Resources); the program costs $35 as of October 2013. Download and install the software.

Plug your iPhone into the computer with your USB cable.

Launch iExplorer and click on the "Data" tab.

Select "Messages" and highlight the conversations you wish to save.

Select a message log format by clicking "Export to PDF," "Export All Images" or "Export to TXT."

Tips

  • You can highlight conversation batches by clicking on the first item in a list, holding the "Shift" key and selecting the last item in a list. To highlight non-consecutive conversations, hold down the "Command" key as you click on conversations.