How to download an archive of your Twitter data

How to download an archive of your Twitter data

These days there seems to be almost daily upheaval on Twitter. You may be thinking of leaving the social network, or you may be determined to stay and see what happens. In either case, when a web app experiences that kind of Sturm und Drang, it’s usually a good idea to back up your data just in case. In Twitter’s case, that means downloading an archive of your data.

In accordance Twitter’s support pageyour archive will include account information and history, all apps and devices you used to access it, any accounts you’ve blocked or muted, all the interests and other advertising data Twitter has listed for you, and your tweet history.

It is very easy to request a download of your archived material on Twitter.

Twitter settings page showing instructions for downloading the Twitter archive in the right column.

You can find the “Download an archive of your data” function in the “Your accounts” section of the Twitter settings.

  • In the web app, go to the left menu and click on More. In the mobile app, press your personal icon in the upper left corner.
  • Select Settings and support > Settings and privacy > Your account. (Or, if you’re in a hurry, you can just use this link.)
  • click on Download an archive of your data. You may be asked to verify your account.
  • click on Request archive.

According to Twitter, it may take up to 24 hours for you to receive the link that allows you to download your archive data.

Once you have all your data, you can choose to leave your account – or not. Whatever happens, at least you now have a record of your time on Twitter.

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How is the download?

To see what would happen, I requested a download of my Twitter account on a Friday at 4:00 PM and was told that it was available at approximately 4:00 PM on Sunday. It wasn’t exactly the 24 hours promised, but was within a reasonable amount of time considering how many requests the service is likely to get these days.

I was sent an email with a link; Once I’d proven my identity with my password and an email code, I was brought back to the archive page, where I could now download a 303MB zip file (YMMV here, of course).

A web page showing various statistics for the downloaded Twitter files in the middle, a list of file types on the left and privacy notes on the right.

An HTML file included with your download is an easy-to-use guide to your archive files.

The zip file contains two folders: one labeled “assets” and one labeled “data” – the latter is where all tweets, media, etc. reside.

You also get a separate HTML file labeled “Your archive.html” that opens in your browser and gives an explanation of what was just downloaded, including how many tweets, blocked accounts and other data is included. An introduction section in the middle of the page contains two additional links that may be useful: the first leads to a separate HTML-encoded list of everything you’ve downloaded with linked filenames, while the second opens a text document that provides explanations of each file.

On the left side of the HTML page are links labeled tweets, likes, instant messages, etc. You can click on each to see the contents of your archive files in the middle. This is by far the easiest way to read your old tweets and other content. There is a search box on the right, along with filters that allow you to sort and filter by date or entry type.

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Web page showing various aspects of twitter content on the left, a tweet with a picture of a wet windshield in the middle, and search filters on the right.

You can view your past tweets using the browser interface.

If you go into the folders themselves, you’ll see that the text entries are in JSON (.js) format, which means they’re in human-readable text that includes the associated code. The advantage of this is that you can read the file using almost any word processing or note-taking app; The downside is that you have to get past all the explanatory code, which includes not only the actual text of the tweet, but also data about how many likes or retweets it got, what URLs it contains, and a code number that can be matched to any media it was published with (and which you will find in a separate folder). But if you’re looking for that data, it’s there to be found.

A text snippet from a JSON file containing the text of a tweet plus several data points, such as the number of retweets and favorites.

The text of your tweets is contained in a large encoded JSON file.

In other words, if for some reason you no longer have access to them (or don’t want to access them online), you now have your tweets, your tweeted media, and your DMs saved for your own reference.

Update November 14, 2022, 3:50 PM ET: This article was originally published on November 11, 2022, and has been updated to describe what the Twitter download looks like.

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