If you use Skype for work, chances are there will come a time when you need to check something in your chat history. When you try to find the message in question, it may be more difficult to access your old messages than you thought.
In the old version of this popular video chat app, exporting your chat history was a breeze. In 2017, a new version was implemented, which made this task a tad more complicated. However, your old chats will not be lost; you just need to take a few extra steps to get them. Read on to learn how to view old Skype messages on different devices.
How to View Old Skype Messages on Windows PC
If you’re just looking for a specific message that’s not older than a year, it might still be stored in your Skype. In that case you can use the search function to find it.
- Open your Skype PC app and select the conversation that contains the old message.
- Click the magnifying glass icon at the top of the right pane.
- Type the part of the message you remember.
- Use the arrow keys to scroll through the search results.
If you can’t find the message you’re looking for, it may no longer be stored on your device. Skype uses cloud storage for chat history, so your conversations are only stored on your PC for a limited time.
On the other hand, conversations made in the previous version of the app can still be saved on your PC if you are using the same device. You must use another method to retrieve these conversations. Find the instructions for your device below.
Looking for Skype chats from years ago that are no longer available through your app? The good news is that it is still possible to access your files somehow. Here are two ways to look at old Skype messages.
Export your history
Since Microsoft acquired Skype, your chat history is no longer stored locally. Instead, the data is in the cloud and you have to query it to see it. The process is simple, but your request may take a while to process, so this solution may not be ideal if you need information urgently. This way you request access to your chat history and files.
- Go to the Skype website with your browser and log in.
- Once logged in you will come to the overview of your account. Scroll down to the bottom of the page.
- Under ‘Account Information’, go to ‘Settings and Preferences’.
- At the bottom, click “Export files and chat history”.
- If you just want to export your chat history, select Conversations. For files that may still be saved by Skype, check “Files” as well.
- Click on the blue ‘Submit request’ button.
At the top of the page, the “Available Exports” section will appear with your pending request and you will have to wait for it to complete. This will most likely happen within a few minutes, but it could also take several hours. If your request is still pending after a few days, please contact Skype Support as it is most likely an error on their side.
Once your files are available, click the blue “Download” button next to your request. Extract the compressed ZIP to get the JSON file containing the data.
Now you have collected your chat history. However, your computer cannot open this file as it is. So the next step is to download a parser to read your file. Skype offers its own for this purpose. Follow the steps below to open the file.
- Download the parser from skype.
- Extract the ZIP file and open “index.html” with your browser.
- Select and upload the JSON file you downloaded earlier.
- Click the “Load” button.
- Your archived conversations appear in a list. Select one of the conversations to view the messages.
Access your app data
If you didn’t find the old posts you were looking for using the method mentioned above, there is another technique you can try. Some of your old chat files from this app may still be stored on your PC and you just need an extra program to read them. NirSoft’s special SkypeLog view is a great option. Download this app and find your chat files in the following way.
- Go to NirSoft’s website and download their SkypeLog view.
- Run the file named “SkypeLogView.exe”.
- The app automatically detects your Skype account and locates your history. If not, however, you can also manually load the history by clicking the folder icon and navigating to the following location: C:Users(Your PC username)AppDataRoamingSkype(Your Skype -user name).
- After the logs are loaded, you can view any messages by double clicking on them.
How to find your older Skype messages on a Mac
Like Windows, you can access your old Skype chats by querying them or finding the files on your device. The latter option only works if you are using Skype Classic on the same device before updating the app to the Microsoft version. Get your chat files in one of the following ways.
Request your history
Skype chat files are stored in the cloud, so you can download them to your Mac by requesting them from Skype.
- Open the Skype website and sign in to your account.
- After you have logged in, you will arrive in your account overview. Scroll down until you find ‘Account Details’.
- Click ‘Export files and chat history’ under ‘Settings and preferences’.
- Check “Conversations” to export your chat history. You can also export files by checking this option.
- Click on ‘Submit request’.
Your pending request will be listed under “Available Exports” at the top of the page. Wait for the request to complete and then click the blue “Download” button.
Note: You may have to wait a few minutes or hours for your chat history to finish. If the request remains pending for days, please contact Skype Support.
Once you’ve downloaded the ZIP file of your chats, open your Finder and extract it. You will find a JSON file of your messages. Open this file with Apple TextEdit to access your history.
Get the database file
Another way to read old Skype messages is to find the database file that Skype Classic used to store your chat history. Here’s how to find it on the Mac:
- Click “Finder” and select “Go”.
- Then ‘Home’.
- Navigate to ‘Library’ and then to ‘Application Support’ and ‘Skype’.
- Open the folder with your Skype username. The “main.db” file should be here.
Then you need to download an app to open this file. DB Browser for SQLite is a great option for Mac users.
- Download and install DB Browser for SQLite for Mac.
- Go to your Applications folder and launch the program.
- Click “Open Database” and locate the aforementioned “main.db” file to open your chat history.
How to retrieve old Skype messages on Android device
Skype only stores your chat history for a limited time. Therefore, whether you can retrieve old messages in the Android app depends on how old the information you are looking for is.
Follow these steps to browse older messages in Skype for Android.
- Launch the Skype app and sign in.
- Select the desired conversation.
- Scroll up to get past messages.
It may take some time for the messages to load. If you are having trouble accessing it, make sure your internet connection is stable.
Scrolling through the entire conversation can be time-consuming if you’re just looking for a specific message. In that case, it might be more productive to use the search function.
- Open Skype and then the call of your choice.
- Tap your conversation partner’s icon to see the options.
- Select “Search in conversation” and type the phrase you remember from the message.
- Use the arrows to navigate through the results.
How to View Older Skype Messages on iPhone?
Your Skype chat history is only stored on your device for a limited time. However, you can still try to find old messages in the iOS app by scrolling through the conversation or using the search function. Follow the steps below.
- Launch the Skype app for iPhone and sign in.
- Tap the conversation you want to browse.
- Scroll up to load older messages.
If you are looking for a particular message, you can also try the following method.
- Open Skype and tap the desired conversation.
- Press the profile icon of your conversation partner.
- Find the “Search in conversation” option.
- Enter a phrase you remember from the message you are trying to find and view the results using the arrow keys.
How to view old Skype messages in Outlook
Microsoft Outlook users may be able to retrieve their old Skype for Business conversations in this app with a few clicks. Since your Skype conversations are stored in your Outlook conversation history, all you need to do is find this folder.
- Open your Outlook app and view your Inbox folders.
- Look for “Conversation History” at the bottom. Your instant messaging history is stored here.
If you can’t find your past conversations in this folder, archiving might not be enabled for your chats. Make sure this option is “on” in Skype for Business.
- Open Skype for Business and click the gear button.
- Select ‘Tools’ and then ‘Options’.
- Under the “Personal” tab, make sure that the option “Save my chat conversations in the Conversation History folder of my email” is enabled.
If this option is available in your version of the app, your future conversations will be stored securely.
Keep track of your archives
A reliable record of previous Skype calls is often crucial, especially if you use this app for important business exchanges. Unfortunately, the current version of the app doesn’t make it easy to access your chat history. Nevertheless, you can use the methods mentioned above to locate and view past messages that are still available.
Did you manage to find the old Skype messages you were looking for? Do you think Skype should make our chat history easier to access? Let us know in the comments below.