TLDR: May be backing up chat histories isn't important, it may be easier to let it all go. Seriously why save it?
Recently my phone has been demanding that I make some space available for it, then it may leave me alone for a while longer. I've checked on the state of the apps I'm running and I've also been trying to get all my photos under control.
Podcasts could be a problem (10GB reserved for them), but I strictly manage those with Castro. The last space hog left is WhatsApp. I've been using it since my first iPhone (3GS, then 4S and now 5).
The WhatsApp app has survived through different host bodies through numerous iTunes backups, growing larger and larger and consequently slower and slower because of it. So to save phone space I need to lobotomise WhatsApp of its memories, actually my memories, and put that life's history into another host body. Let's say my Mac so I can check on it later and it can live on.
What back up solutions exist?
My first reaction is to think I'd need to save it all so I can reference something in another conversation later.
At the moment, WhatsApp laughably allows for iCloud backups, but it's just a backup, not something that can exist separately from the app. There is also the option to email out the contents of your chat histories. I use 'histories' and not 'history', because you'd need to do it for each chat you value. I guess if you're anal and went through with this email back up thing every month, you're set. This seems however like a lot of work.
I'd rather just export everything out once a year before chats get too big. It would be searchable though.
Archive? Well, I'm not sure whats going on as all the information is still on the phone. You're just hiding it and not saving space. To me an archive is something to view later, I think of the Ark from that Indiana Jones movie where they saved it somewhere else from everybody with top men working on it for later (don't see Crystal Skull [where it pops up again], but see here for the official word on archiving).
The Ideal Solution?
I'm left with the idea of an app that creates a backup/archive in a format that allows the images and texts to be reviewed later in a browser on a desktop machine.
Just a side note, I never think about email in the same way like text messaging and I have email going back years and years,
If you want something like that desktop app I mentioned. It's possibly going to cost at a minimum $25USD. Those apps are not (speaking as a Mac user) on the App Store. They all seem to reside on dodgy looking sites loaded with adverts and questionable user reviews and state they are free until the last moment before downloading it, also download.com thou. Like this app.
The fact that none reside on the app store makes me think even more about the legitimacy of these solutions. There is iFunbox and it seems the best way, but it hasn't been updated in a while and nor does it actually work (for me anyway).
The Other and the Final Solution
Oddly in this digital age of 1 million+ apps touted repeatedly by TIm Cook, there is no app for this, I can get a fart app instantly if I wanted, but something potentially more worthwhile like a simple backup app for text messaging apps isn't. Considering how much time and thought I've put into this, looking for a solution, it made me question the point of actually wanting to actually back everything up.
Rather than start writing about the value within this topic, it's probably better if I leave this section open ended. I'd rather hear from other people to see how they manage their digital memories and revisit this topic at a later date.
I'm thinking of nuking it all. It's not like we can hold onto our internal transcripts, so why should I try to insist on saving the digital ones?