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Restore old iMessage chat contents after OS X reinstall?

4749 Views 3 Replies Latest reply: Oct 12, 2013 2:18 PM by Ralph Johns (UK) RSS
tanuki15 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Oct 11, 2012 12:10 PM

Last night I had to do a wipe of my MacBook Pro running Mountain Lion. At the end of the installer I chose to migrate all my old apps/data/settings back onto the machine from a recent Time Machine backup. Everything transferred over correctly with the exception of all  my iMessage threads. When you open the Messages app, all the recently chatted with friends show up on the left hand sidebar, but when you click on one, the thread contents are blank. Is there any way to manually reimport all of the old iMessage chat contents into my currently installation?


I still have all of my old iMessage data on my Time Machine backup under the folder "~/Library/Messages" folder. I tried copying over the new version of this folder with the old version stored on the Time Machine backup, but the reimport didn't seem to take so I reverted back.


Anyone have any ideas? Thanks

OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2),  iPad 2, MacBook Pro 15 (mid-2009)
  • Ralph Johns (UK) Level 9 Level 9 (66,805 points)



    I would have said that the ~/Library/Messages folder was the thing to copy back.

    As you "owned" the original I would have thought there would be no Ownership  issues.


    You would need the Archive folder (All Old Chats if you were saving them) and the Chat.db items as these hold the iMessages chats and the attachments if there are any.


    Two possible issues

    Creating an iCloud ID with an older Apple ID and using a different name in Messages to register for iMessages

    Although iCloud web site will let you login with either the originating Apple ID or the created name iMessages registers only one of these rather than the "whole Account".  (Obviously one can become an alias in Messages for the iMessages account)


    The second is related as it is which ID is then used to Login in System Preferences > iCloud.

    This then passes over to Mail, Contacts and Calendars and can be active for Messages.



    9:26 PM      Saturday; October 13, 2012

    Please, if posting Logs, do not post any Log info after the line "Binary Images for iChat"


      iMac 2.5Ghz 5i 2011 (Mountain Lion 10.8.2)
     G4/1GhzDual MDD (Leopard 10.5.8)
     MacBookPro 2Gb (Snow Leopard 10.6.8)
     Mac OS X (10.6.8),
     Couple of iPhones and an iPad

    "Limit the Logs to the Bits above Binary Images."  No, Seriously

  • jstedman Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)



    I am restoring Messages on a new user account on my MBP.  I found the ~Library/Messages folder on my old account and copied the whole thing to the new user in the same location (as the new user had no history - which is what I'm trying to get back).


    On loading the Messages app, nothing changes.  Copied the DB files as well.  Still nothing.


    Is there a way to refresh the app so it picks up the archives and new DB files?



  • Ralph Johns (UK) Level 9 Level 9 (66,805 points)



    The Archived ones need to be in the Recent Items list (which requires you to have moved the .plist involved as well).


    The non saved iMessages are in the chat.db items but only show when you start a new chat (actually sending text) with a Contact.

    The process then fills in the "history" to the conversation.


    A Spotlight search may reveal the contents of the ~/Library/Messages folder or rather the contents of the Archived file rather than using Messages to find Recent Items.



    7:20 pm      Saturday; October 12, 2013


      iMac 2.5Ghz 5i 2011 (Mountain Lion 10.8.4)
     G4/1GhzDual MDD (Leopard 10.5.8)
     MacBookPro 2Gb (Snow Leopard 10.6.8)
     Mac OS X (10.6.8),
     Couple of iPhones and an iPad

    "Limit the Logs to the Bits above Binary Images."  No, Seriously


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