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How to Mass Delete All Messages On MacBook

Last Updated Nov 17, 2022

Your MacBook memory is getting low, and you want to delete your messages to clear up space. Deleting messages from a MacBook one at a time is a tedious process. What if there was a way to delete multiple messages at one time?

There is a way to delete messages on a MacBook that you can do that will save you time. Keep reading for a step-by-step guide to mass deleting MacBook messages. 

Disable Your Messages In iCloud

You want messages removed from your MacBook to clear storage space, but not your other devices. Your iCloud account controls the sync of all supported devices and apps. 

To delete only MacBook messages but save the files on your other iCloud devices you must unlink the MacBook from automatic sync.

Follow these steps to unlink the sync function from your MacBook on your devices:

  1. Go to the Message menu and click preferences
  2. Select the iMessage icon
  3. Find ‘Enable Messages in iCloud’ and uncheck 

This will allow you to delete messages on your MacBook without losing the messages across your other iCloud-supported devices. 

You will lose the ability to sync from your MacBook to other devices, but you can go back after deleting messages and activate the function again. 

Delete Conversation Messages

If you are wanting to delete just an entire conversation but not all your message files, you can do this easily. These steps to delete a conversation are simple.

Follow these steps to walk you through how to delete selected conversations, or parts of a message:

  1. Open messages
  2. Find the conversation or message you want to delete and Right-click
  3. Choose: Delete Conversation
  4. Confirm Deletion of conversation
  1. This will delete the entire conversation in that message thread while saving your other messages.

Deleting All Message Files at One Time

If you want to delete all message files saved to your MacBook, there is a way to do this. 

This will only delete the conversations but not any attachments. Deleting the entire saved message file task is a bit more complicated and requires more steps. 

Follow these steps to delete all message files from your MacBook:

  1. Go to the iCloud Drive 
  2. Go to the Files Viewer.
  3. Type in the viewer: ~/Library/Messages. This will bring up a listing of files associated with your chats.
  4. Find the following files and drag them into the trash bin. These files link to the chat messages.
    1. Chat. db
    2. Chat. db-wal
    3. Chat.db-shm
  5. Now empty the trash bin

Before you empty the trash bin, review the files to ensure that you have all the files you want to be deleted. 

When the files are in the trash bin you can restore them if you decide you want to keep some or all of them. 

Once you empty the trash bin the action cannot be reversed. This will permanently delete those files. 

After you empty the trash bin your memory will clear up storage space on your MacBook and you will have an increase in available memory. 

Deleting All Message Attachments at One Time

Deleting all message attachments is easier than deleting message files in your MacBook. If you only wish to delete some message attachments, you can be selective here.

Follow these steps to delete message attachments:

  1. Go to the Go to Folder search box
  2. Type in ~/Library/Messages/Attachments
  3. Drag files into the trash bin
  4. Now empty the trash bin

During this action, you can select which attachments you wish to delete. You can sort them by type or size to help review them. 

The quick preview option allows you to see them before you select deletion. This helps you to review the files and decide which ones to delete and which ones you want to keep. 

Attachments you want to keep should be saved in another destination file. 

After you choose the files to delete and empty the trash bin you cannot retrieve the files unless saved to another destination on your MacBook.

Reactivate Your Messages In iCloud

You have cleared the storage files of messages, increasing your storage space and increasing available memory. 

Now you want to sync your MacBook and other devices again to capture your messages across all iCloud-supported devices from your MacBook.

Follow these steps to sync your iCloud devices and apps again:

  1. Go to the Message menu and click preferences.
  2. Select the iMessage icon.
  3. Find ‘Enable Messages in iCloud’ and check to activate message sync. 

Now you know to mass delete all messages on a MacBook.


Deleting messages from your MacBook will improve storage space and increase available memory. 

When you only want to delete messages from a MacBook without losing those messages across iCloud-supported devices takes a different approach and effort. 

Following the steps outlined above will ensure you remove those messages from your MacBook only while saving the data on your other devices.