AAPL Stock: Copying iPhone Messages to the Computer

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Q. I have a long series of text messages on my iPhone between my son and me. Is there a way to copy these from my phone to my computer and save the files in a Microsoft Word document?

A. Extracting a text conversation from your iPhone and saving it as a word-processing document is certainly possible, and there are a few ways to go about it. Many methods involve backing up the iPhone’s contents to the Mac with Apple’s free iTunes software, so if you have not already done so (or have not recently backed up your phone), consider this the first step and you get the bonus of having a fresh backup file as well.

If you do not care for a lot of technical fiddling, get one of the several programs designed to copy files from an iPhone to a computer with a few clicks. For example, the $40 iExplorer program, for the Windows and Mac operating systems, can grab a specific text conversation from the iTunes backup file and save it in a more common format like a plain-text file (which can be opened and saved in Microsoft Word), a comma-separated values file or as a PDF file. Photos and other attachments can also be retrieved. Similar apps include the $40 iMazing program for Windows and Mac, $20 CopyTrans Contacts for Windows and the $30 PhoneView for the Mac.

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Programs like iExplorer can copy an iPhone’s messages, voice mail and other files to a computer. Credit The New York Times

More labor-intensive approaches to extracting the messages from the phone can be found around the web if you are up for an adventure. However, a relatively inexpensive program that can also harvest music files, videos, voice mail and other content from your phone can be very useful.

If you use the Messages app on a Mac with the same account you use on your iPhone and can see the conversation you want to keep in the desktop Messages app, you can also select, copy and paste the text from there into a Word document. (Photos will probably need to be downloaded separately, and some emoji characters may not translate properly when pasted into a document.)

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