If you delete Twitter, archive your tweets and DMs first

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It’s official: Elon Musk now owns Twitter.

In his short time as owner, Musk has already fired three key executives, including Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal, and fueled rumors that he would revoke lifetime bans and bring back banned users like Donald Trump, Kanye West and Alex Jones.

And while many people are happy with the decision, others might consider deleting their accounts and leaving the popular social media service for good. If you are thinking of finally leaving the bird appyou should consider archiving all your tweets and direct messages before you leave.

Deleting Twitter is not just about getting rid of your account. That means losing all of the thousands or more of your witty jokes, scathing comments, and loud replies — not to mention the photos, videos, and GIFs you’ve posted along the way. Fortunately, Twitter makes it easy to download a complete archive of your account that includes all of your past tweets and direct messages.

All you have to do is request the information from Twitter, and you’ll then receive a file that you can download to view all of your data on Twitter – forever. Here’s everything you need to know about requesting and viewing your Twitter archive.


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How to request a copy of your Twitter data

The process of requesting your archive can only be done through the Twitter website, so I would suggest doing it on your desktop computer, but it can also be easily done on your phone or tablet. We’ll cover both options below.

If you’re on a mobile device, launch the Twitter app and tap your profile picture in the top left to bring up the side menu. Then scroll down and go to Settings and Privacy > Your account > Download an archive of your data. This will launch an in-app browser, redirecting you to the Twitter website. Log in to the Twitter account from which you want to recover your data and press Archive request.

On the desktop, the process is quite similar. Go to Twitter, press After then go to Settings and Privacy > Your account > Download an archive of your Data. Enter your password if required and click Archive request.

Settings for downloading Twitter data

Go to Settings and Privacy > Your account > Download an archive of your data

Nelson Aguilar/CBS

After verifying your account, the request will be processed and you will see a message that Twitter may take up to 24 hours to process.

What to do once your Twitter archive is ready

Twitter will send you a push alert through the Twitter app along with an email letting you know when your data is ready to download. Follow the link in the email or alert, which will redirect you to the Settings page on the Twitter website. Download your archive and unzip the zipped file.

Inside the folder you will find a file titled Your records. It’s an HTML file, so it should open in a new tab in your default browser. It’s not actually about loading a website. Instead, it gives you a simplified way to view your Twitter account. Everything on the page should be interactive.

For example, if you click Tweets, you’ll be taken to a Twitter-like view of your posts. There is a search tool on the side of the page which will make it easier to find a specific item.

Alternatively, you can open the Data folder where you will find media folders containing photos, videos and GIFs that you have sent or received on Twitter, Moments, direct messages or Fleets.

A Twitter Archive

Your Twitter archive is organized in a way that resembles the Twitter website.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

A friendly warning: you’ll find yourself taking a trip down memory lane after getting a copy of your archive. Writing this story took me twice as long as it should have because I kept going back and looking at old DMs and messages.

Now that you’ve spent way too much time browsing through old posts, be sure to check out our helpful guides that will walk you through download your data from Google and Facebook. Looking for ways to boost the privacy of your Twitter account? We are here for you.

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