Amro writes: Is there a way to forward text messages and send an entire iMessage thread via email? Essentially I am trying to get an entire chat thread from my phone and forward it to a colleague. Any advice would be appreciated.

Hi Amro! Yes, there is a way to forward text messages or iMessages from your iPhone or iPad to an email address, but I warn you: it’s a bit clunky.

The method I’m about to explain will only forward the actual text in your message thread—meaning no date or time stamps, nor will there be any labels telling you who was “speaking” at any given time.

Oh, and if you want to forward a lengthy thread, prepare for a lot of tapping.

forward text messages - Tap and hold an iMessage to reveal More button

All set? Here we go…

  • Open the Messages app, then open the thread with messages you’d like to forward.
  • Tap and hold a message until a black bubble with “Copy” and “More…” buttons pops up, then tap “More.”
  • A row a circles will appear on the left side of the screen, with each circle sitting next to an individual text or iMessage. Tap a circle to select a specific message, or tap them all to select the entire thread. (Sorry, folks—there’s no “Select All” button. Yep, I know.)
  • Done selecting messages? Tap the little curly arrow in the bottom corner of the screen, then type in an email address into the “To:” form at the top. If you type in the email address for a contact in your iPhone’s or iPad’s address book, their address should appear as an auto-fill option as you type. Finished? Tap Send.
  • The forwarded message should appear in the recipient’s email inbox as a “plain-text” email attachment. Also, keep in mind that the message itself will come from your carrier’s text-messaging service (complete with an email address like “[email protected]”) rather than from your regular email account. Just double-click the attachment to open it.

forward text messages - Forwarded iMessage as plain-text email attachment

So no, not a perfect solution, Armo, but better than nothing. And if anyone else out there has a better idea, I’m all ears.

Note: You can only forward text messages to an email account with an iPhone or iPad with a cellular connection. If you try to forward text messages from, say, a Wi-Fi-only iPad, you’ll get an error message.

Bonus tips

  • Just want to forward a few iMessages or text messages rather than an entire thread? You might be better off taking a screenshot of the messages and forwarding the image.
  • Are you using the Messages app on the Mac? If so, you’ll find recent message threads stored in the Messages window, and you can copy and paste them quite easily. No, you still won’t get time stamps, but at least each message will be labeled with a name.

Click here for more iOS tips!