How to Print Text Messages Off of Your iPhone

by Jeff Grundy Google

    Most text messages you receive on your iPhone are not so important that you'll want to keep them forever. Nevertheless, there are times when you receive important messages containing communications you want to keep safe or refer to later. While the iPhone saves your text messages, accidental deletion is possible. If you have important SMS messages you want to keep, printing them is a simple permanent solution.

    Save a Screenshot

    Unlike some native iPhone apps, Messages -- the SMS app -- does not support direct AIrPrint printing. The Photos app does support AirPrint printing, and creating a screenshot of a text message and then opening it as an image is simple. Open the text message on the iPhone and then press and release the "Home" button and the "Sleep/Wake" button simultaneously. You'll hear a clicking sound indicating the phone saved the screenshot.

    AirPrint the Screenshot

    After saving the screenshot on your iPhone, you can print it to a nearby AirPrint-capable printer. If you haven't already done so, connect to the same wireless router that the AirPrint uses by first tapping "Settings" and then "Wi-Fi." Slide the "Wi-Fi" switch to the "On" position. Tap the appropriate network and enter the key or password if necessary. Press "Home" to return to the main menu and then tap "Photos." Tap the screenshot image of the text message and then tap the "Share" icon. Select the "Print" button. Choose the AirPrint-capable printer and tap "Print." After a few seconds, the screenshot image prints on the printer.

    Email Yourself

    An uncomplicated way to print the contents of a text message is to email it to yourself. Open the SMS message that you want to print; tap and hold the message for a couple of seconds. Tap the "Copy" button to copy the message text to the clipboard. Open the "Mail" app on your iPhone, enter your email address in the "To" field and then tap inside the message body text box and tap the "Paste" button when it appears to paste the contents of the text message. Tap "Send," open the email on your desktop computer and print it out on your local printer. You should note, though, that the time and date information does not transfer when you copy and paste the SMS message in an email.

    Export Messages

    If you want to not only print some of your text messages but also to save texts to your computer, there are many Windows and Mac applications you can use to accomplish this. Programs such as DiskAid, SMS Export and Tansee iPhone Transfer SMS all come in Mac and Windows versions that are relatively simple to install and use. To use these applications, you must have iTunes installed on the computer. After you download one of the SMS applications, open iTunes and connect your iPhone. Launch the SMS application on your computer and then select the "Backup," "Sync" or "Copy" button. Wait a few minutes for the application to import the SMS messages from the iPhone. Select the message you want to print and then select the "Print" or other similar option on the toolbar or menu bar.

    Extract From iTunes Backup

    If you don’t want to purchase an app or application to view and print your messages on a computer, there is a way to access the messages directly from an iTunes backup of your iPhone on a PC. The method used to view and print a message from an iPhone backup is not particularly straightforward and requires a little more work than other methods, but it is practical if you don’t have access to an AirPrint printer or want to avoid paying for a commercial application. To access the text messages you want to print, perform a backup of your iPhone in iTunes on your PC as you normally would. After completing the backup, open File Explore by pressing "Windows-E" and then navigate to the "C:\Users\yourusername\AppData\Roaming\Apple Computer\MobileSync\Backup\" folder. Locate the file in the folder with the ".mdbackup" or ".mddata" file extension, right-click it and click "Open with Notepad." Scroll down to the messages you want to print, highlight the message text and then print it out from Notepad.

    About the Author

    Jeff Grundy has been writing computer-related articles and tutorials since 1995. Since that time, Grundy has written many guides to using various applications that are published on numerous how-to and tutorial sites. Born and raised in South Georgia, Grundy holds a Master of Science degree in mathematics from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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