Find Your Facebook Chat History

Where to get your chat history logs on Facebook

Facebook Messenger
© Facebook

As a rule of thumb, most activities you undertake online are preserved for posterity somewhere. Communication within Facebook is no exception. In fact, finding your Facebook chat history is very easy.

While your favorite social network doesn't have an official history section where all your messages are stored, there is a pretty simple way to find the history logs for specific messages and search through them.

Tip: You also can see your archived Facebook messages through a similar process, but those messages are hidden away in a different menu. If you're wanting to look through spam messages, you need to recover them from a different hidden area of your account.

How to Look Through Your Facebook Chat History

The history of all of your Facebook instant messages is stored within each thread or conversation, but the method for finding it is different depending on whether you're using a computer or mobile device.

From a Computer:

  1. On Facebook, click or tap Messages at the top of the page, near your profile and Home link.
  2. Choose the thread for which you want the history.
  3. That specific thread will open at the bottom of Facebook, where you can scroll up and down through the past messages.

For more options, click or tap the small gear icon next to the Exit button on that conversation so that you can:

  • Choose Open in Messenger to make the whole conversation fill the Facebook page and have the option to search through the old Facebook messages.

Note: The Open in Messenger screen is identical to the view in You can avoid going through and instead jump right into to do the exact same thing.

Messenger is also how you can search for old Facebook messages:

  1. Open the conversation you want to find a word in.
  2. Choose Search in Conversation from the right side.
  3. Type something into the search bar that shows up at the top of the conversation, and then press Enter on your keyboard or click/tap Search on the screen.
  4. Use the up and down arrows on the top left corner of the conversation to find each instance of the word.

From a Tablet or Phone:

If you're on your phone or tablet, the process for looking through your Facebook chat history is fairly similar but requires the Messenger app:

  1. From the Messages tab at the top, select the thread you want to look through.
  2. Swipe up and down to cycle through older and newer messages.

You can use the Search bar at the very top of Messenger's main page (the one that lists all of your conversations) to find a specific keyword in any message. Here's how:

  1. Tap the Search bar.
  2. Enter some text to look for.
  3. Tap Search messages from the top of the results to see which conversations include that word and how many entries match that search term.
  4. Select the conversation you want to look through.
  5. From there, pick which instance of the word you want to read more context for. 
  1. Messenger will open to that location in the message. If it's not exactly on point and you don't see the word you searched for, scroll up or down a little to find it.

How to Download All Your Facebook Chat History

Sometimes, just looking through your chat logs online isn't enough. If you want an actual copy of your Facebook history logs that you can back up yourself, send to someone, or simply have on hand, follow these steps on a computer:

  1. Open your General Account Settings page through the small arrow at the far right side of the top Facebook menu, and choose Settings.
  2. At the very bottom of that page, click or tap Download a copy of your Facebook data.
  1. On that Download Your Information page, choose the Start My Archive button.
  2. If asked, enter your Facebook password at the prompt and then choose Submit.
  3. Select Start My Archive on the Request My Download prompt to begin the process.
  4. Click Okay to exit the Download Requested prompt. You can now return to Facebook, sign out, or do whatever you want. The download request is finished. 
  5. Wait while the gathering process finishes and for Facebook to email you. They'll also send you a Facebook notification.
  6. Open the link they send you and use the Download Archive button on that page to download your entire Facebook presence and history in a ZIP file. You'll probably have to enter your Facebook password again for security reasons.

Note: This whole process might take awhile to finish because it actually gives you tons of your information on your past Facebook activities, including not just chat conversations but also all your shared posts, photos, and videos. 

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