If you use Apple’s iMessage service on your Mac, then you may be interested in this article. Wondering where are iMessages stored on your Mac? Don’t worry, this post will help you find the backup of all your messages that were sent and received via iMessage. By default, Apple stores all your messages locally unless you choose not to.
You may want to know where iMessages are stored on your Mac if you were trying to find a deleted conversation. There are other reasons why you may want to find out your iMessage chats. Either way, here is how you can find out where iMessages are stored. It’s an easy process, so let’s get right into it.
Check if your Mac stores iMessages
Before you go hunting for that lost conversation, it would be nice to know if your Mac is actually storing all your iMessages and for how long. If you have disabled this feature, then all your iMessages will be lost. Therefore, it is best to check this before getting started. To check if your Mac stores your iMessages, do the following:
1. Launch the Messages app on your Mac.
2. Now click on Messages on the top menu bar.
3. Select Preferences.
4. In General, check whether the box saying ‘Save History when conversations are closed’ is ticked. If it isn’t, then go ahead and tick this box.
5. Now that you’ve checked this option, look at how long your Mac will store your Messages history. The drop down box will be at the top.
6. You can choose between 30 days, One Year and Forever. If you don’t ever want to lose any of your messages, then select the Forever option.
Now you know that your Mac will save all your iMessages every time you exit the Messages app. If you select 30 days or One Year, then after that time has passed, your Mac will delete all the messages. All the attachments including photos, videos, etc, will be wiped from your Mac. If you don’t select the ‘Save History when conversations are closed’ box, then every time you close a conversation on iMessage, the contents would be deleted.
iMessage in iCloud
If you’ve enabled Messages in iCloud, your Mac will still store messages locally, as long as you have ticked the ‘Save history when conversations are closed’ box. If you haven’t done that, then your Mac will store messages on iCloud. So make sure that it is synced. To check if you have enabled Messages in iCloud, follow the steps below;
1. Open Messages app.
2. Click on Messages in the top menu bar and select Preferences.
3. Now click on the iMessage tab.
4. You should now find the option to Enable Messages in iCloud.
Find iMessages stored on your Mac
Now, let’s find out where are iMessages stored on your Mac. As mentioned in the beginning, the process is quite simple and won’t take a lot of time. Finding your stored messages is easy and all you have to do is follow the steps below;
1. Launch Finder from the dock.
2. Click on the Go option in the top menu bar while holding the Option key on your Mac.
3. You should now see the Hidden folders. Select the Library folder.
4. Scroll down to the Messages folder.
5. Inside the Messages folder, you will see the Archive and Attachments folder and a file called chat.db.
6. This chat.db file is where all your iMessages will be stored if you’ve opted to save history.
7. If you cannot see this folder over here, then you can head over to the Containers folder.
8. You should now see files with your contacts names on it. These are the saved conversations from the Messages app.
The Archive folder will save all the older messages as well. You will find all the images, videos, etc in the Attachments folder inside Library > Messages. If you want to view the chat.db file, then you can use an external program such as TextEdit. That’s about it. You have now successfully found where are iMessages stored on your Mac computer. If you want to move the messages from an old Mac to a new device, then you will need to move all the contents of the Messages folder to the new Mac.
A lot of users like to have access to all their older messages and thus would prefer moving the messages if they purchase a new Mac. Here’s how you can transfer iMessages stored on your current Mac to a new one.
1. If both your Macs support Messages in iCloud, then you can easily transfer the messages.
2. iCloud will sync all the messages and it will appear on your new Mac automatically.
The second method is to copy all the contents of the Messages folder on your old Mac and then transfer it to the Messages folder on your new Mac. Follow the steps described earlier in this article to locate the Messages folder. Copy the contents to a thumb drive or USB memory stick or an external hard drive. Paste the contents of the folder to your new Mac in the exact same folder. After you’ve done copying the contents, restart your Mac and you should see all the older iMessages conversations in the Messages app. We hope this helped you understand where are iMessages stored on your Mac.