Skip to main content

How to delete messages on your Mac

Apple likes to make things easy for its iPhone, iPad, and macOS devotees. When signed in with the same Apple ID on more than one of these devices, you’ll be able to sync your messages from one Apple product to the next. This means when you get a text on your iPhone, you’ll be able to pull it up through the Messages app on your Mac desktop.

Difficulty

Easy

Duration

5 minutes

What You Need

  • Mac or MacBook

  • iPhone

You’ll also be able to delete these same messages from your Mac. We’ve written up this guide to teach you how. Our instructions should work for most versions of macOS, unless your Mac is using a super-old OS.

How to delete messages on your Mac

Within the Messages app, you can do all sorts of things to your messages, including deleting them.

Step 1: Select a message you want to delete by right-clicking on it (the Ctrl + Click combination on the touchpad).

Step 2: Choose the Delete conversation option and then confirm it by hitting the Delete button. This will delete the entire message thread and whatever it contains.

Once the message is deleted, it will be removed across all your iOS devices (providing you’re signed into your Apple ID), including your iPhone.

Deleting a conversation for Messages on Mac.
screenshot / Digital Trends

Step 3: If you want to delete a specific message within a conversation thread on your Mac, whether that’s text, images, etc., then right-click on the message itself and select Delete.

Deleting a specific message on Mac.
screenshot / Digital Trends

Step 4: To delete all the messages within a text without getting rid of the conversation on the sidebar so it can still be accessed, open the message by selecting it, choose the Edit tab from the menu, and select Clear transcript.

The Clear Transcript option for Messages on Mac for deleting all messages within a specific text thread.
screenshot / Digital Trends

How to delete SMS messages on Mac

When setting up the Messages app on your Mac, it’ll be limited to iMessages only by default. To view your SMS messages on the system (texts sent to smartphones other than the iPhone) and subsequently delete them, you’ll need to adjust some settings on your iPhone.

Step 1: Select Messages within Settings.

Step 2: Select the Text message forwarding field.

The Text Message Forwarding option on iPhone.
screenshot / Digital Trends

Step 3: Toggle the Gray button adjacent to your Mac system that’s listed.

Enabling Text Message Forwarding on iPhone for a Mac.
screenshot / Digital Trends

Step 4: Follow the same steps as explained in the previous section to delete SMS messages on your Mac.

How to restore deleted messages on Mac

In the event that you delete an iMessage or SMS text, it’ll remain in your Recently Deleted folder (located in the Messages app) for 30 days, at which point it will be deleted from all your devices. And after 40 days, the messages are completely removed from iCloud.

Step 1: To restore an old text, open the Messages app, then click View > Recently Deleted from the top menu bar.

Step 2: Click the conversation you’d like to recover. Click Restore to put it back into your regular message queue, or Delete to permanetly delete the message from your Mac.

How to block messages on Mac

Blocking messages from specific contacts and numbers is pretty easy to do in macOS. Here’s how:

Step 1: Launch the Messages app and select a conversation. This needs to be a one-on-one chat with an individual, not a group message.

Step 2: Click Conversation (located at the top-left of the screen), then click Block Person.

Step 3: You can manage your blocked callers, you can click Messages > Settings > Blocked to access your log of blocked senders.

Step 4: From this dashboard, you’ll be able to click the Add button to pull up your iCloud contacts. Click one to add the person to your blocked list. You can also click a blocked caller, followed by the Remove button, to un-block the contact.

You can delete messages on your phone, too. Here's our guide on how to delete messages on your iPhone.

Editors' Recommendations

Zak Islam
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Zak Islam was a freelance writer at Digital Trends covering the latest news in the technology world, particularly the…
Why you should buy a Mac mini instead of a MacBook Air
Apple Mac Mini side view showing edges.

Apple’s MacBook Air is an incredibly popular device, and it’s our pick for the best MacBook you can buy. But there’s a strong case to be made for passing over it and buying a Mac mini instead. Apple’s desktop computer is cheaper, supports more displays and ports, and is better for your posture. Those reasons could be enough to sway the balance in its favor.

If you’re on the fence, give this guide a read to see if it helps you make up your mind. Here, we’ll show you four of the most compelling reasons to buy a Mac mini instead of a MacBook Air.
It’s much cheaper

Read more
Best MacBook Memorial Day deals: MacBook Air and MacBook Pro
An Apple iPad and a MacBook together on a desk alongside a pair of headphones.

Memorial Day often means we see some great laptop deals, and right now we’re already seeing some excellent early Memorial Day discounts on MacBooks. If you’re keen to snap up one of the best MacBooks for less, this is the perfect opportunity to do so. Apple is one of the best laptop brands around, so MacBooks are a great investment made even better when you can buy one for a discount. If you’re keen to check out the deals, keep reading while we take you through our highlights.
Best MacBook Air Memorial Day deals

There are a few different MacBook Airs around these days with the latest MacBook Air (M3), followed by the MacBook Air (M2), and older but still competent MacBook Air (M1). Whichever one you go for, you’re getting a lightweight yet speedy device which can keep up with your busy days. Here are the best MacBook Air Memorial Day deals we’ve spotted so far.

Read more
These are officially the brightest smart glasses ever made
A render simulates what you see when wearing Viture One Pro smart glasses.

Viture just announced a new smart glasses model that's brighter and better in every way. Like the original model, the new Viture Pro fully supports the iPhone, while other next-gen smart glasses require Android devices to access every feature.

The improvements over the original Viture One include larger 4,000-nit micro-OLED panels with up to a 120Hz refresh rate that deliver an image with a perceived brightness of 1,000 nits to your eyes. Viture says this is 120% brighter than the original, while the increased panel size results in a sharper edge-to-edge image.

Read more