Downloading Skype video messages on Mac

My son recently started using Skype and keeps sending me video messages. These messages are obviously something I want to store for future viewing.

Unfortunately there is no easy way to download the videos so needed to Google for a solution but found only guides for PC. Most steps are the same for both platforms but getting the actual movie in the end is different.

1. You’ve got a video message
The video is not downloaded to your computer as I expected. It’s streamed every time (well probably cached in some way but not stored locally like the text messages). So the actual video can’t be found on your local computer.

Skype video message


2. The Skype DB
What we need to do is find the location of the video and for this we need to look into the Skype database. But first we need to locate the actual DB.
The DB file is called main.db and you’ll find it under:
/Users/fredrik/Library/Application\ Support/Skype/fredrik_davidsson/ (fredrik_davidsson should be changed for your Skype alias and the folder under Users is probably something else as well).
I would recommend that you make a copy of the DB so any accidental changes won’t kill your Skype app. The folder Library might be hidden, if so please google how to unhide if needed.

3. Looking into the main.db
To view the database you need some type of SQL viewer. In similar posts I found that most people download and use the excellent application SQLite Database Browser (download and install it to continue).

SQLite Database BrowserWhen you open the application select the “Browse Data” tab and find the “VideoMessages” table. You’ll see all the video messages received. The interesting part is the “vod_path” which contains a URL to the actual video. Copy the URL you want to download. If you got loads of video messages  you have two columns that help you locate the one you want to download. Take a look at column “author” and “creation_time” (EPOCH time) and match that with what you have in your Skype client.
Ok, so you should now have a link. On a PC you can simply paste this into a browser and get the video. In OS-X we need another step.

4. Lets get the file
Open a terminal window and go to the folder where you want to store the video. Run the following command:
curl -o outfile.mp4
Make sure you replace above URL with the one you previously copied.
You should now have a video file called outfile.mp4 which can be viewed with the Preview app.

Now I’ll keep downloading all video messages from my son. This will give me hours of enjoyment looking back at my life at the retirement home.

4 Replies to “Downloading Skype video messages on Mac”

  1. Thanks so much.

    If you have Quicktime 7, you can paste the url into the “Open Url” window (just delete the last part of the url after “?”) and the file will open in a window and start downloading. Then you can save the file once it’s finished.

  2. I cant seem to find the “video messages” table its a blank box. Do I need to drop this program into skype or drop skype into SQLite?

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