When you receive a photo or video in the Messages app on your iPhone that's where it will stay. Unlike Whatsapp, which you can give permission to add photos and videos straight to your iPhone Photo library, photos sent via iMessage or a standard text message will remain in the Messages app - unless you move them. 

Since it is likely that you might like to look at a significant number of these images again, it's rather a shame to leave them locked away in the Messages app on your iPhone, never to see the light of day again.

Luckily, saving these photos and videos to your iPhone photo library - and if you have subscribed to the feature, your iCloud Photo Library - only takes a extra steps. In this article we show a couple of easy ways to ensure that these moments are not lost, like tears in rain.

How to save a photo or video on an iPhone

Here's what to do if someone has sent you a photo or video that you'd like to add to your Photos library on your iPhone:

  1. Open the Messages app on your iPhone and find the conversation that contains the images you want to save.
  2. Tap on the conversation to open it, then scroll until you find the relevant image.
  3. If the image wasn't recently sent you might be able to locate it more quicikly if you tap on the (i) symbol. This will reveal all the images and videos sent in that message thread.
  4. Tap and hold on the image until the contextual menu appears.
  5. This give you three options - Copy, Save, and More… - select the Save button.

how to save photos from text messages on iPhone

Now, when you open the Photos app you should see that the image has been added to your collection.

Alternatively, you can tap on an image so that it opens in full screen and then tap on the Share icon in the bottom left.

The option Save Image will appear along the bottom.

Saving multiple images or videos

On some occasions, you might want to add several photos or videos to your library in one go, and there's an easy way to do that too.

  1. Just like with the single image process, open the Messages app, then navigate to the conversation that contains the images in question.
  2. This time you'll want to tap on the icon in the top righthand corner that looks like an i with a circle around it. This opens up the contact page for the person who sent you the photos, but it also has all of the images included in their messages, handily gathered together.
  3. Tap and hold one of the images you want to save, then when the contextual menu options appear, tap More...how to save photos from text messages iphone
  4. Now you'll be able to select the various photos or videos just by tapping on them. A blue circle with a tick inside lets you know which images you've chosen.
  5. When you've selected all of the ones you want, tap on the Save XXX Attachments option at the bottom of the page and they will all be added to your Photos library.

There you go! A few simple steps to add photos from text messages into your collection. If you want to know more about what you can do with them afterwards, such as organising and editing, try reading our How to use the Photos app on Mac article for some mighty fine ideas.

A better way to share photos might be AirDrop - which will automatically put your shared photos into the Photos app. Read about how to use AirDrop here and if you are having problems with AirDrop read this: How to fix AirDrop problems.