How to save Messages to PDF on macOS

Chat conversations happen mostly on our phones with the exceptions of iMessages which sync to a Mac. They do still, for the most part, happen on an iPhone but since they’re syncing to a Mac, you can view them there and export them as PDF files.

Saving a message, regardless of which app was used to send/receive it, is simple since you can take a screenshot of it. Screenshots can later be stitched together if you need a conversation in one place (for legal reasons) but stitching so many images together is tedious.

Save Messages to PDF on macOS

To save a series of messages that you have synced to the Messages app on macOS, follow these steps. 

  1. Open Messages on macOS.
  2. Double-click the message thread that you want to export a conversation from.
  3. Scroll up so that the message history loads. Load as much of the conversation as you want to export.
  4. On the menu bar, go to File>Print.

  1. In the window that opens, select the number of pages from the total that you want to export. Use the page range to limit the messages that are exported to the PDF.
  2. Open the PDF dropdown at the bottom.
  3. Select Save as PDF.

  1. Select where the PDF file should save, and click Save.
  2. You can password protect the file by clicking on Security Options before clicking Save.
  3. Open the PDF file and the conversation will be there, complete with images.

About exporting messages

When you use Messages to export a message, the conversation is what is saved. Timestamps for when a message was sent or received are not added to the PDF.

Date breaks remain part of the PDF files so you will be able to tell what day and date a series of messages were sent/received over.

Images may be split over two pages so this is a very poor and unreliable way to save photos.

For photos that need to be downloaded in the Messages app, you will need to download them before you export messages or the PDF file will have a placeholder in place of the image.

If you’ve disabled Message history or limited it to a certain time frame, you will only be able to export the messages that are still in your message history.

The PDF file can be edited in a PDF later.

The PDF file may or may not be accepted as evidence in a court of law. Consult a legal expert and to be safe, keep the message on your device for as long as you can to preserve it as proof.

If you’ve taken screenshots, you can use Preview to add them all to a single PDF.

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