Archiving/Exporting Skype Chats

Many long time Skype users have been unhappy how the service has changed over the years, especially after the company was acquired by Microsoft. I am one of them.

Starting out as a fairly powerful, secure and private peer-to-peer network, Skype gradually mutated into a client-server product with limited privacy and significantly reduced functionality and performance.

Every now and then I used to make backups of important Skype chats, so I would have the information available for future reference. This used to be doable with copy and paste, but that no longer works. Skype then offered a function to export the chats to a file, for viewing with a viewer.

In late 2017 that chat export functionality was removed from the macOS client in the upgrade from version 7 to version 8. Everything typed in chats after that upgrade no longer gets tracked on the client side but ends up on the server, where of course it is no longer private. According to Microsoft, the chat archives going back as far as April 2017 will be maintained until you delete them.

Skype chat archives after April 2017

To download chat archives, log into your Skype account from a browser using this link:

Select what you want to download and click “Submit request”. You will be notified once an archive of the chats is ready for download. Alternatively, you can go back to above export link to check manually. Once you download and extract the archive, there’s a Javascript viewer for it.

Skype chat archive until 2017

For older chats, the macOS Skype client has an option to export the locally saved chats. Go to:

Setting / Messaging / Export chat history from Skype 7.x

Skype on Android 2.1 but not in the US

A year and a half after Skype launched a version for the iPhone (March 2009) it finally released Skype for Android for customers outside the US. In the US Skype has already been available for Verizon customers for a couple of months, but if you’re with a different US network you’ll still be out of luck.

Even outside the US, Android versions before 2.1 are not supported. My Google Ion which comes with Android 1.6 got this message:

Sorry, Skype is unavailable for your mobile. We add new handsets all the time so check back soon.

Last month, about 30% of Android users were still using 1.5 or 1.6.

This makes me even keener to find out when an Android 2.2 upgrade will become available for the Google Ion, as announced in May 2010.

Skype Auto-Recharge and currency changes

Checking my PayPal details today, I found that three of my most recent payments for Skype involved a dollar to euro conversion. This surprized me, since quite a while ago I had changed the currency of my Skype account from euros to dollars to match the currency of my PayPal account, in order to avoid conversion losses.

When I went to my Skype account I found that my currency indeed was set to dollars, however the recharge amount was set to €10. Auto-recharge is a convenient feature. With it turned on, whenever your account credit balance drops below $2, an automatic purchase using your credit card or PayPal account takes place to top it up again. As I use SkypeOut for all my international phone calls to landlines and mobile phones and also occasionally for call-forwarding from a SkypeIn number to my mobile phone (especially when I’m travelling), it helps me never to run out of Skype credit.

Evidently, changing your Skype currency does not change your account recharge currency (or amount). What’s more, the system would only let me pick a recharge amount of €10 or €25.

The only way to switch recharges from euros to dollars is to cancel auto-recharges and then re-enable them. However, the only way to enable recharging appears to be by topping up your balance – you’ll have to spend some money!

Thus if you have changed your Skype currency from euros to dollars and want to use auto-recharge in the new currency, you will first have to cancel the recharge and then buy another $10 worth of Skype credit, with the “enable auto-recharge” option checked.