Asya Karapetyan
Content marketer, who specializes in Mac how-to guides
March 3, 2022
12 minutes to read

If you sync iMessage on all of your Apple devices, you can access your message history on your Mac. While convenient, these messages can take up a huge amount of storage space. Do you need all of these old text messages? If not, read this article. We will explain how to delete messages on Mac.

deleting messages on Mac

Contents

  1. How to see how much space messages take up on Mac
  2. How to delete messages from the Messages app on Mac
  3. How to delete all messages on Mac
  4. How to delete attachments in Messages on Mac
  5. How to automatically remove messages on Mac
  6. FAQs
Before we start
If the reason you want to remove your messages is to free up space on your Mac, we recommend using a special application called MacCleaner Pro. This will help you find and remove all junk files and recover a huge amount of disk space.

MacCleaner Pro removes caches, logs, duplicates, unused applications, leftover files from deleted applications, and all other unnecessary junk. Download now for a free trial.

How to see how much space messages take up on Mac

Do you know how much iCloud space your messages take up? Follow the steps below to find out:

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Click on your Apple ID at the top.
  3. Select iCloud in the left sidebar.
  4. Check the iCloud Storage bar at the bottom of the window. Hover over the Messages volume and you will see the space occupied by messages.
Apple ID window showing how much space the messages take up

If your messages take up a lot of storage space, follow the instructions below to delete them.


How to delete messages from the Messages app on Mac

First, we will show how to delete an individual message from a conversation.

Steps to delete a message in the Messages app:

  1. Launch the Messages app on your Mac.
  2. Open the conversation from which you want to delete a message.
  3. Find the required message and right-click it.
  4. Select Delete.
  5. Confirm.
the messages window showing how to delete a message

How to delete a conversation in Messages on Mac:

  1. Open the Messages app on your Mac.
  2. Find and select the conversation you want to delete.
  3. Right-click on it and select Delete Conversation.
  4. Confirm.
the messages window showing how to delete conversation

How to delete all messages on Mac

If you have a lot of messages and want to delete all of them to free up space, it will be time-consuming to do manually. Quickly remove multiple messages on your Mac by following one of the guides below:

How to delete multiple messages on Mac using Finder:

  1. Close the Messages app on your desktop.
  2. Open Finder and press Cmd+Shift+G.
  3. In the window that appears, type ~/Library/Messages and press Return (Enter).
  4. Move the following files into the Trash bin:

    • chat.db
    • chat.db-wal
    • chat.db-shm
Library folder showing the messages files

Another fast way to delete messages on Mac is to use the command line in Terminal. Usually, Mac geeks use Terminal to run different operations on macOS, however, a new Mac user can easily figure out how to use Terminal as well.

How to delete text messages on Mac using Terminal

If you are familiar with the Terminal app, you can remove all messages from your Mac using the command line. Follow the steps below:

  1. Close the Messages app on your Mac.
  2. Open Terminal.
  3. Copy and paste the following command and press Return:

    rm –r ~/Library/Messages/chat

    Terminal window showing the command to remove messages on mac
  4. If you want to delete the message attachments, use this command:

    rm –r ~/Library/Messages/Attachments/??

Note that these commands in Terminal remove messages and attachments permanently. They don’t move them to the Trash. Since you can’t recover them after running the command, ensure that you have saved all the attachments and messages you might need beforehand.


How to delete attachments in Messages on Mac

Message attachments, such as pictures, GIFs, videos, text files, and other types of attachments get stored in a separate Library folder. If you want to remove all messaging history, do the following:

  1. In Finder, press the Command+Shift+G shortcut.
  2. In the window that appears, type ~/Library/Messages/Attachments and press Return (Enter).
  3. Remove the files and folders from the Attachments folder.
    Note, that all your attachments will be removed permanently. If you want to save pictures or other files, move them to another location.
  4. Once you remove the attachments, empty the Trash bin.
Library folder showing messages attachments

Another way to delete message attachments from Mac is to use the System Information window. Here’s how:

  1. Go to the Apple menu and select About This Mac.
  2. Switch to the Storage tab and click Manage.
  3. In the sidebar, click Messages.
  4. Here, find unneeded attachments, right-click them, and click Delete.
  5. Confirm.
Mac storage recommendations window showing messages attachments

Using this method is more convenient as you can see how much space the attachments take up and remove the largest ones.


How to automatically remove messages on Mac

If you want to stop saving the messages on your Mac and wasting your time by manually removing them, you can arrange to automatically delete them instead. Here is how:

  1. Open the Messages app on your desktop.
  2. From the menu bar, go to Messages Preferences.
  3. In the General tab, set up 30 days for the Keep Messages option.

Now, after 30 days, your messages will automatically be removed and you no longer need to manually delete them to free up space on your Mac. messages preferences showing how to set up auto removal of messages


Conclusion

We hope this guide has helped you to learn how you can remove messages and conversations in iMessage on Mac. We also want to remind you that if your Mac is running low on disk space, you can remove all junk files and free up your disk storage with the help of MacCleaner Pro.



FAQs

Do the messages take up space on Mac?
Why are messages taking up so much storage?
Where are my messages stored on Mac?
How do I delete messages from my Mac without deleting them from my iPhone?

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