Use PhoneView to Copy iPhone Voicemail and Text Messages to Your Mac

Have you ever wanted to permanently save a voicemail message that you received on your iPhone? Or maybe a text message or iMessage? While all of these messages are backed up to your Mac when you sync your iPhone, Apple doesn’t provide an easy way to view or extract these messages. Instead, you’ll need to use a third-party application like PhoneView ($30).

Update June 2014: I recently learned about iExplorer. It appears to do everything that PhoneView does and more. For example, PhoneView doesn’t let you retrieve calendar data from an iPhone. I need to do this for a client so I’ll be trying iExplorer and its helpful tutorials. I bought iExplorer but it appears that the free version lets you extract text messages.

PhoneView is made by eCamm, who also makes Printopia (which I recommend in my Tech Tip on printing from iPhones and iPads). PhoneView is one of a handful of competing applications which let you extract assorted data from your iPhone or iPad. In my experience PhoneView is the easiest to use. Here’s how you can use it to permanently save a voicemail message to your Mac.

  1. Purchase, download and install PhoneView
  2. Open PhoneView and connect your iPhone to your Mac via USB cable.
  3. On the left-hand side of the PhoneView window, click on Voicemail. You’ll be notified that PhoneView will need some time to load the data from your phone.
  4. When the loading is finished, you’ll see a list of your voicemail messages. If you’d like to listen to a message, click on it once, then click the Play button in the lower right corner.
  5. If you’d like to save the voicemail message, click on it once, then click the Copy from iPhone button on PhoneView’s Toolbar.
  6. You’ll be prompted to select a folder in which you’d like to save the message. For example, you could chose your Desktop.
  7. Click the Save button.
  8. A few seconds later, the voicemail message will appear on your Desktop as a .m4a audio file.
  9. You can click on this file and play it any time you’d like.

Similarly, PhoneView can be used to extract your Call Log, notes, text messages, photos, music, podcasts, and more from your iPhone.

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