Clear iMessage Chat History in Mac OS X
The Messages app for Mac keeps track of all chat history through iMessage and SMS, providing you with a lengthy record of conversations in an easily reviewable and scrollable chat log. Unlike iOS, there isn’t an in-app method to delete the chat history in OS X, and though you can close a window it doesn’t necessarily remove all data, logs, or associations with a specific chat.
Instead, if you wish to clear out the chat log history in Messages app, you will have to turn to the Finder or command line if you want to trash your message history on the Mac. This is not difficult, it’s just a matter of removing a few files as detailed below.
How to Remove All Chat History from Messages in OS X
This works in all versions of the Messages app for Mac, from the earliest versions to the newest:
- Quit out of Messages for Mac
- Hit Command+Shift+G to bring up the “Go To Folder” window
- Enter ~/Library/Messages/
- Select all files in the Messages directory and move to trash, files will be named chat.db, chat.db-shm, chat.db-wal, etc
- Empty the Trash and relaunch iMessages
When you relaunch the Messages app none of your previously existing conversations will contain any data. Keep in mind that the Attachments are stored in a separate folder and handled separately within ~/Library/Messages/Attachments/ which includes things like pictures, gifs, videos, text files, zips, audio clips, and whatever other attachments were sent through the messages app of OS X.
Clearing iMessage Chat History on the Mac from the Command Line
You can also do this through the command line if you’re comfortable with using terminal and the rm command with a wildcard, which is generally considered advanced. To do that, quit out of iMessage and open Terminal, at the prompt type the following:
rm -r ~/Library/Messages/chat.*
Relaunch iMessages and to find an empty chat history.
Both of these tricks work as far back as the original iMessages for Mac beta, as well as all modern incarnations of the OS X Messages app, including in OS X Yosemite where Messages has direct tie-ins with the iOS messages app.
There may be an easier way to delete chat history from the Messages app of OS X, but at the moment there is no specific option in the preferences of the Mac app, so the above tricks will have to suffice.
Thanks for the tip Kevin!