How to Save Photos, Video, and Audio from Messages

Send Your Precious Moments Somewhere They’ll Last Forever

Ever since Messages has had the ability to record and send audio snippets, my wife has been sending me recorded greetings from our kids. No matter how well my day is going, hearing our daughter (and now son) say “Hello, Daddeeeeeee!” makes it even better.

These messages—not to mention the snapshots from day-to-day life—are precious. Messages is a great way to communicate, but it’s terrible at archiving memories.

Fortunately, you can easily take any photo, video, audio message, or file that someone sends you, and save it someplace more permanent.

Photo courtesy of © Adobe Stock / WavebreakMediaMicro

On OS X, you can drag most attachments, including photos and videos, directly from the conversation. For some attachment types, like my kids’ audio greetings, you’ll need to go to the Details view.

If you click on “Details” at the top of the conversation, you can see every attachment that you have received or sent. From here, you can drag any attachment to the Desktop, or to Photos, Evernote, Day One, or any place else you can drag a file to.

On iOS, the easiest way to save attachments is to go to the conversation Details. To save your kids’ greeting from your iPhone:

  1. Tap “Details” at the top of the conversation.
  2. Scroll down to see attachments, like on OS X.
  3. Tap the audio file attachment to see it full-screen. From here, you can play it back to make sure you’ve got the right one, or swipe left and right to go to other attachments.
  4. Tap it again to show the share menu at the bottom of the screen. (Pro tip: the bulleted list icon on the bottom gives you a list view of all the attachments, so you can quickly jump around. This is especially handy if you’re looking for a file attachment, because you can see the attachment names.)
  5. Tap the sharing icon.
  6. Select Evernote.
  7. Give the note a title, and optionally change the notebook and add tags.
  8. Tap “Save”.

Your kids’ greeting is now safely tucked away in everyone’s favorite digital external brain.

From that sharing menu, you can send it to any app. Send a photo to Day One, save a file to Dropbox, print a PDF… anything.

I used to think that the messages I received were trapped. Yes, they were secure, but they were too secure—there was no way to get anything out of Messages and someplace more permanent, except for photos and videos.

Thankfully, that’s not the case. Not only does Messages give you end-to-end encryption, so your information travels securely across the Internet, but once it arrives, you can do anything with it you want. Messages has great support for integrating attachments with the rest of your trusted system.

Question: What do you do with the photos you send and receive with friends and family? Share your thoughts in the comments, or on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.

About

Colter writes software and blogs about personal growth and productivity. He lives in Silicon Valley (California) with his wife and children, recently took up golf, and watches mostly British TV shows.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. For more information, see my comments policy.

  • Margie Reed

    Thank you for this info! I have tapped Details any number of times, intentionally or inadvertently, and not seen the attachments because I didn’t scroll down. I didn’t know they were there! The time I have spent scrolling back through Messages looking for an attachment! This tip will definitely save me steps. I usually just save photos to iPhoto, but I think I’ll be using them more in DayOne now.