Save Photos and Videos From iPhone Text Messages

Do your friends send you a lot of photos and videos as attachments to text messages? If so, these photos and videos could be consuming a fair amount of space on your iPhone or iPad. I recommend that you periodically review these images, save the ones that you want and then delete them. Here are instructions on how to save these images first to your devices’ Camera app and then to your Mac and finally delete them from your iPhone or iPad.

I believe that these instructions require iOS 8 or higher. To determine which version you have on your device tap on Settings, General, About. Read the number listed next to Version.

Before we dive into saving and deleting images, you might want to determine how much space is used by all text messages and their attachments.

  • Tap on Settings
  • Tap on General
  • Tap on Usage (it’s labelled Storage and iCloud Usage starting with iOS 9)
  • Tap on Manage Storage.
  • Wait for your device to calculate the storage space used by each app.

Your device will automatically put the apps that use the most storage space at the top of the list. If Messages is consuming hundreds of megabytes of storage space, or more, then it’s definitely time for you to do some housekeeping.

Save Photo and Video Attachments To Camera App

We’ll start by saving the photo and videos to your iOS device’s Camera app

  1. Tap on Messages
  2. Tap on one of your conversation–pick one that’ll have a bunch of images attached
  3. Tap on the person’s name or image in the top, center of the screen.
  4. Scroll down to the Photos section and tap See All
  5. Tap and hold on one of the displayed images that you want to save.
  6. In the list of options that appears, tap Save. This will save the image into your photo collection in your Photos app. Alternatively, if you want to save many photos then it could be faster to tap the Select button in the upper right corner. Then tap on each desired photo. You’ll notice that a small blue and white checkmark is automatically added to the image you tapped on. Lastly, click the Save button.
  7. Repeat steps 2-6 for other conversations that contain attachments you want to save.
Copy Saved Attachments To Your Mac.

These instructions are how to transfer images and videos from your iOS device to your Mac using Photos. Photos was introduced in April 2015 as part of OS X 10.10.3. If you’re using the iCloud Photo Library feature then you do not need to do the following since iCloud Photo Library will transfer the saved images and videos when your iPhone is on a wi-fi network. If you do not use iCloud Photo Library then do the following:

  1. Connect your iPhone to your Mac using its USB cable.
  2. Wake your Mac and click on the Photos on your Dock. If Photos isn’t on your Dock then navigate to your Applications folder and double-click its icon.
  3. After Photos opens tap on the Import button that is listed near the middle of the upper edge of Photos’ window. (If you have the Sidebar displayed, you’ll find the Import section listed on the left-hand side of Photos.)
  4. Click on the Import All New Photos button.
  5. Wait for this transfer to complete.
Delete Images and Videos From Your iPhone or iPad

Now that we’ve saved a copy of the desired images and videos on your Mac we can remove them from your iOS device.

  1. Tap on Messages
  2. Tap on one of your conversations that has a bunch of images or videos attached.
  3. Tap Details, which is listed in the upper right corner.
  4. Scroll down to the Attachments section.
  5. Tap and hold on any of the displayed images.
  6. In the list of options that appears, tap on More
  7. You’ll notice that a small blue and white checkmark is automatically added to the image you tapped on.
  8. Scroll through and select all  images and videos by tapping in the lower right corner to select other attachments.
  9. Tap on the trash can icon to delete all attachments.
  10. Repeat steps 2-9 for other conversations that contain attachments you want to delete.

This housekeeping can take a long time if you’ve never dealt with the image and video attachments that you’ve received. In the future, hopefully, you can develop a habit of doing this housekeeping when you have a few idle minutes. If you determined how much storage space Messages was using before you do the clean-up, please check it again to see how much storage space you’ve reclaimed.

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