iCloud Message Library

Tanax

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 15, 2011
943
98
Stockholm, Sweden
Hi!

Wouldn't it be great if Apple introduced iCloud Message Library (IML)? Similar to iCloud Photo Library (IPL) but for text messages? All text messages and iMessages would be stored in your iCloud so if you ever get a new device (be it a Mac, iPhone or iPad), signing into IML would bring all your previous messages to that new device.

Currently when you sign into iCloud, only new messages will be "synced" to that device (unless it was sent to that specific device), for instance a Mac will only get the messages sent to your iPhone number from the moment you install the Mac.

Another advantage it would bring is to be able to use the "Optimise storage" feature, currently existing in IPL, meaning it could download just the conversation title (name of contact) and not all the messages in it, unless you open the conversation. And when it's opened, only the most recent will download first unless you scroll up the history of the conversation.

This would also mean "true syncing" between all your devices. Currently if you go on vacation and leave your Mac at home (unpowered), is away for a few weeks and then come back home, power up your Mac, it won't sync all your messages you received to your phone while you were away. This leads to gap in the conversations, some of the messages only being visible on some device, other messages only visible on another.

I know people's probably biggest complaint against this idea would be privacy but it's probably easy to implement some encryption for the messages being stored in the iCloud. All in all, I would definitely enable this if it were an option.

Also, it would of course be an opt-in/opt-out feature, like IPL. If you don't want to use it, the regular iCloud syncing and text-forwarding that exists today will be used!
 

boston04and07

macrumors 68000
May 13, 2008
1,569
505
@Tanax - I think this is a fantastic idea and it's something I've been requesting for a while. It's not unprecedented; Google pretty much does this, and I for one would love having access to my messages from iCloud.com. Additionally it would be so great if we could keep our message histories and not have to have them all stored on our devices. I have message histories going back to my first iPhone in 2008; yes, I'm kind of a digital packrat, but I really don't want to delete them. They really do offer an insight into my daily life in years past like nothing else, and that's something I want to keep.

Since having messages on my iPhone predates the introduction of Messages on OS X, my iPhone is the device with the entire message history; my MBP only has threads going back to the introduction on OS X, whenever that was. Yet the entire message histories currently have to be stored on my iPhone, which, out of all my devices, has the least amount of storage. Annoying to say the least!

I've mentioned this in other threads and, as you mentioned, almost always get a response saying something along the lines of, hey, messages are private, I don't want them stored in the cloud, etc. I totally respect that view but also always am like, for me personally (and for probably most of the people I know in the real world), what is currently stored and synced via iCloud is way, way more private and personal than my messages! Photos, emails, calendar info, the current location of my devices, even notes are often more private and sensitive than simple text messages, and we have the option of syncing and storing all those things in iCloud. So I think we should really be given the option of syncing/storing messages and message histories in the cloud, just like we're given the option to (but don't have to) use iCloud for calendars, photos, etc. Ideally, it should be up to the user to decide if they want to use iCloud for messages, and I know I surely would.

In addition I think messages really needs a bit of work. I'd also like to see it be easier to search for past messages - as it is now, I can search and see a preview of the results, but when I click the results, it just takes me to the most recent message in the thread. This often requires an impossible amount of scrolling backwards if the message is old.

But yeah, great idea! I def recommend sending feedback on this.
 

bgro

macrumors 65816
Jul 6, 2010
1,090
634
South Florida
Good idea and not sure why Apple hasn't implemented it. If I delete a message on my iPhone i want it deleted across all devices. Wish it worked like that.
 

lagwagon

Suspended
Oct 12, 2014
3,899
2,759
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Glad to hear you guys like it.
@boston04and07 I have sent Apple feedback about this over a month ago. No reply but I hope they read it and implement it! :)
You won't get a reply on feedback that is a feature enhancement or a new feature all together.

The only time Apple will reply to feedback is if you point out a bug and they require further things from you such as more detailed logs from when such a bug happens.

An example is I sent feedback on Apple ID verification popups. They replied back to me and had me install a profile that debugs and produces logs for Apple ID Authentication. So that can send them more info on what's happening when when the popup happens.
 

Tanax

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 15, 2011
943
98
Stockholm, Sweden
So this doesn't seem to be present in the new OS:es this fall.
I still hope they introduce it in the future, would simplify setting up new devices and message sync issues between different devices.
 
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boston04and07

macrumors 68000
May 13, 2008
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505
So this doesn't seem to be present in the new OS:es this fall.
I still hope they introduce it in the future, would simplify setting up new devices and message sync issues between different devices.
I definitely agree. I've sent feedback on this before so hopefully they'll consider it.
 

Rigby

macrumors 603
Aug 5, 2008
5,149
4,916
San Jose, CA
Wouldn't it be great if Apple introduced iCloud Message Library (IML)? Similar to iCloud Photo Library (IPL) but for text messages? All text messages and iMessages would be stored in your iCloud so if you ever get a new device (be it a Mac, iPhone or iPad), signing into IML would bring all your previous messages to that new device.
This is technically not possible due to the way iMessage security is currently implemented. Messages are encrypted such that they can only be decrypted by devices that are enrolled at the time the message is sent. Neither a new device nor Apple itself is able to decrypt them.

Basically, whenever you activate iMessage on a device, a new private/public key pair is generated, and only the public key is registered with Apple. When sending a message, the sending device retrieves all public keys belonging to the recipient, and individually encrypts the message for each of the recipient's devices. The private keys, which never leave the devices, are required to decrypt it. Therefore, it wouldn't be possible for a new device to decrypt previously sent messages retroactively, even if Apple stored them. You can read more details in the iOS Security Guide.
 

Tanax

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 15, 2011
943
98
Stockholm, Sweden
This has finally been added! Thank you Apple!
Does anyone know if it's only for iMessages or for all kinds of messages? On the macOS preview page on apple.com it just says "Messages".
 
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