Messages icon iOS 7

Messages, one of the most frequently used application in iOS, stores on your device text messages, iMessages and any media attached to them. Like most people, I message my friends and family quite a lot on any given day.

Needless to say, animated GIFs, pictures, videos and other media attached to messages can easily clog up your iPhone’s storage, which can be especially problematic on devices with just sixteen gigabytes of storage.

What most users don’t realise is that deleting a conversation doesn’t remove it immediately from the Messages database on your device.

Thankfully, iOS provides a setting for how long to keep messages on your device. This tutorial will teach you how to tell Messages to permanently delete your conversations after 30 days or one year.

How to set text messages to automatically be deleted after a period of time

Step 1: Launch Settings on your iOS device.

Step 2: Tap on Messages.

Step 3: Now tap on the Keep Messages option under the Message History heading.

Step 4: Lastly, set for how long you would like to keep messages on your iPhone: 30 Days, 1 Year or Forever.

Delete messages after 30 days or one year

Step 5: Depending on your choice, you might be prompted to confirm it by tapping the Delete button.

Confirm deletion of old messages

If you set message expiration to 30 days, for example, you’ll be warned that all text messages and their attachments on your device that are older than 30 days will be permanently deleted.

Messages default to keeping your conversations on the device permanently.

RELATED: How to set how long Tap to Talk audio messages are kept on your iPhone

I’d recommend changing message expiration to 30 days if you exchange lots of media-rich messages with your friends and family and your iPhone is low on storage.

Send your feedback and tutorial ideas to [email protected].

  • Nikhil Baveja

    What do you mean by this “What most users don’t realise is that deleting a conversation doesn’t remove it immediately from the Messages database on your device.” Do you mean if I manually delete a conversation the media inside that conversation is still in my phone?

    • Digitalfeind

      Yes. It’s just removed from the messages section but the data is still in the device.

      • Nikhil Baveja

        So then where can I view them to delete them?

      • Kaptivator

        Tha Phuck!!

  • grapecrush

    If the “Forever” setting is on, where are the old messages stored and are they viewable?

  • Christian Jacome

    When they dont have anything else to write about. Just go to setting duh

  • White Michael Jackson

    Speaking about messages does anyone know how rename group messages with one non-iphone user with a jailbreak tweak?

  • Ricardo Saavedra

    If I currently have my settings to “Keep messages forever,” and change them to “1 year,” will that delete the texts messages in conversations that are over a year? Or will it delete the entire conversation itself due to the text messages inside it that are over a year?

    • Aggie Surfer

      No. Just the messages over a year.