While you can easily back up your text messages to your computer so that you don’t lose them, sometimes a text message conversation is so important that you also might need a paper copy to keep in a safe place. Here’s how to print out text message conversations so that you’ll always have a physical copy available in case of emergency.

Why Would I Want to Do This?

Any time you have a text message conversation with someone that’s extremely important, it’s always a good idea to keep a backup of it so that you’ll have it on record whenever you need it. Even if you back up these text messages to your computer, it’s always a good idea to keep them backed up somewhere else as well.

With that said, having a physical, printed-out copy of an important text message conversation is great to have. Maybe you were texting someone about something that could prove useful in court during a hearing, or you just want to save the last text messages you received from a friend who passed away–it’s never a bad idea to print them out and keep them safe somewhere.

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Using AirPrint or Google Cloud Print

If you have a printer that supports Apple’s AirPrint or Google Cloud Print on Android devices, then you can print out your text message conversations right from your device. If you’re not sure if your printer supports either one of these features, check here to see if your printer supports AirPrint, and check here for Google Cloud Print.

Unfortunately, though, there’s no built-in feature for print out text message conversations. Neither iOS or Android have features that allow you to do this, but there is a workaround that’s still fairly easy.

The first thing you’ll need to do is open up the text message conversation on your phone and take a screenshot. To do this on an iOS device, simply press down on the home button and power button at the same time. On Android, it depends what device you have, but more than likely it’s the volume down button and power button. If you need to print out more than what’s shown on the screen, simply scroll up or down to show the previous text messages and take another screenshot.

All of your screenshots will save to your photo gallery on your phone where all of your other photos are stored. From there, you can print out these screenshots.

On iOS

If you have an iPhone or iPad, start by opening up the Photos app.

Tap on “Screenshots”.

Tap on “Select” in the top-right corner of the screen and tap on each screenshot to select it if you have more than one screenshot you want to print out. If not, just tap on the single screenshot to open it.

Tap on the share button down in the bottom-right corner.

At the very bottom, scroll to the right and select “Print”.

If your printer isn’t already selected, tap on “Select Printer”.

Select your printer when it appears.

Tap on “Print” in the top-right corner and the screenshot will begin to print.

On Android

Using Google Cloud Print, you can print directly from your Android device to your printer if it supports Google Cloud Print, but there’s a bit more to do to get it working. This guide does a good job of explaining your options if you’re on Android.

In a nutshell, you’ll need the Cloud Print app installed on your phone if it isn’t already. More than likely, though, it’s already installed by default and comes stock with your device, but if not, simply download it from the Google Play Store.

After that, there are several ways you can print from your device, either by saving it to a .PDF file to Google Drive and then printing it out, using a brand-specific app for your printer from HP, Epson, etc., or printing directly to your printer if it’s connected to your home network.

It’s certainly not quite as straightforward as AirPrint on iOS, but at least you have some different options to choose from if you’re on Android.

Printing the Old-Fashioned Way

If you have basic printer that doesn’t support AirPrint or Google Cloud Print, then you’ll need to perform a couple of extra steps.

You’ll still need to screenshot the text message conversation, only this time you’ll also need to send those screenshots to your computer. There are a lot of different ways you can do that.

One method that works on both iOS and Android is to simply email the screenshots to yourself. In Android, you can do this by selecting the screenshots in your photos app and hitting the share button. From there, select Gmail and send the screenshots to your own email address. You could also save them to your Dropbox, Google Drive, or other cloud service and access them from your computer.

In iOS, you can select the screenshot(s), hit the share button and select “Mail” from the options. Just like on Android, you can also save them to your Dropbox, Google Drive, or other cloud service and access them from your computer.

There are other methods as well, if you have them enabled. For instance, in iOS you can use AirDrop to quickly send your screenshots to your Mac, or if you have iCloud Photo Library enabled, your screenshots will automatically appear in the Photos app on your Mac, from which you can then drag and drop them into any folder.

Once these screenshots are on your computer, you can print them out like you would with any other document. Personally, I like to open up photos in Photoshop or some other editing software and fine-tune the printing settings for the images, but if you’re not picky, you can simply just send the photos to print without any preparation and they should print out just fine.

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Craig Lloyd is a smarthome expert with nearly ten years of professional writing experience. His work has been published by iFixit, Lifehacker, Digital Trends, Slashgear, and GottaBeMobile.
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