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What's the Best Way to Print a Text Message from a Cell Phone?

Ashley Hallene and John Matthew Murrell


  • Take a screenshot of the message and print it.
  • Purchase software that can make it easy to extract text messages in a format appropriate for printing.
  • There are four steps to utilize an authenticator app on your Twitter account.
What's the Best Way to Print a Text Message from a Cell Phone?
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Welcome to the latest installment of our monthly Q&A column, where a panel of experts answers your questions about using technology in your law practice.

This month we answer readers’ questions about the best way to print text messages from a cell phone and how to get two-factor authentication on Twitter if you don’t have a Twitter Blue account.

Q: What’s the Best Way to Print Text Messages from a Cell Phone?

A: Authentication of a text message is a pretty low hurdle to clear in court, so assuming you have what you need to authenticate it, the next step is to make sure you can actually get a printout of the text messages to submit. Make sure that whatever system you use will have the cell number of all chat participants clearly displayed and that there is a time stamp next to each message.

Option 1. Take screenshots on your phone by scrolling through the chat of interest and capturing each screen individually.

This low-tech option will be pretty time-consuming, but it is an option.

Option 2. Purchase software that can make it easy to extract this data in a form appropriate for court.

There are a few choices out there for extracting text messages from a phone and presenting them in a court-appropriate format.

For iPhones, you might consider:

  • CopyTrans ($19.99). CopyTrans was designed to transfer iPhone messages to PC in a form appropriate for use in court. It allows you to save attachments such as photos, videos, GIFs, and voice messages in a separate folder. You can export messages for a specific period of time, and more.
  • iMazing ($64.99 per year). iMazing allows you to transfer and save your music, messages, files, and data. You can export call histories into a table format. You can export WhatsApp chats, SMS messages, and iMessage threads and attachments in CSV or PDF formats.

For Android phones, you might consider:

  • SMS Backup+ (Free, Google Play Store). This app stores texts in your Gmail account and lets you access them from any web browser.
  • iMobie AnyDroid ($29.99 per year or $39.99 as a one-time purchase). Originally called AnyTrans for Android, this software will work on Windows or Mac computers and can easily export your Android text messages, contact, call history, and calendar events as printable TXT or HTML formats.

Techie: Ashley Hallene, JD, GPSolo eReport Editor-in-Chief ([email protected]).

Q: How Do Get Two-Factor Authentication on Twitter If I Don’t Have a Twitter Blue Account?

A: Maintaining the integrity of your social media accounts is critical to preserving your reputation. A key tool in online security is two-factor authentication (2FA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA), which is an additional layer of security beyond a username and password. For example, your bank may send a text message with a six-digit code to your cell phone to verify it’s really you who is logging onto your account.

Twitter recently announced that it will no longer allow users to utilize text-message-based 2FA unless they have a subscription-based Twitter Blue account, leaving millions of non-paying users needing a new method of authentication.

Fortunately, utilizing a 2FA authenticator app is secure and maintains your privacy. Authenticator apps are simple: You download the app to your phone, link it to a given account, and then either (1) enter a code (typically six digits) generated by the app into your account’s log-on page (just as you would enter a code that is texted to your phone) or (2) “approve” the log-on on the app itself after entering your password into your account.

To utilize an authenticator app for 2FA on your Twitter account, follow these steps:

  1. Download an authenticator app to your phone. I use Google Authenticator (available for iOS and Android), Duo Mobile, and Microsoft Authenticator for various accounts, and I like all three. Other examples include Authy and 1Password.
  2. Log on to your Twitter account and navigate to the Security settings menu. Click on “Two-Factor Authentication” in that menu and select “Authentication app” from the available choices.
  3. You will have a few options that allow you to associate your authentication app with your Twitter account. The easiest is the QR code option. Twitter will generate a QR code (the square picture that looks like a blank crossword puzzle); from your app, select the option to add a new account (in many apps, it’s simply a button with a plus button on it), select the QR code option, and then scan the QR code with your phone’s camera (which the app should turn on for you).
  4. After scanning the QR code, Twitter will ask you to verify the authenticator app by (1) entering the rotating code in the app or (2) using the app to verify a sign-in to Twitter.

Voilà! Your Twitter account is now secure. More broadly, authenticator apps are a great way to keep other accounts secure, including email, file-sharing systems, bank accounts, and other social media accounts.

Techie: Matthew Murrell, GPSolo eReport Contributing Technology Editor, Beck Center for Legal Research, Writing, and Appellate Advocacy, University of Texas School of Law ([email protected]).

What’s YOUR question?

If you have a technology question, please forward it to Managing Editor Rob Salkin ([email protected]) at your earliest convenience. Our response team selects the questions for response and publication. Our regular response team includes Jeffrey Allen, Wells H. Anderson, Jordan L. Couch, Ashley Hallene, Al Harrison, and Patrick Palace. We publish submitted questions anonymously, just in case you do not want someone else to know you asked the question.

Please send in your questions today!