How to deactivate iMessage on your Mac

Apple’s iMessage service is a brilliant and excellent way of keeping in touch with other Apple device users without incurring additional charges from your network provider. One of its most useful features is the ability to send and receive messages from any device connected to your iCloud account, including your Mac.

Sometimes, however, it can be a little bit too much. If you’re in an office with your iPhone, iPad, and Mac, and all of them alert you to an incoming message, with a slight delay between them, the sound of all those alerts can be, well, let’s say, a distraction.

How to delete an iMessage conversation 

Messages is an Apple app that’s installed as a part of macOS, so you can’t simply delete it. You can, however, delete individual messages and attachments. The easiest way to do that is to use CleanMyMac X’s Privacy tool, which allows you to specify which conversations and attachments you want to remove and then delete them all in a click. 

CleanMyMac X - Privacy module


If you need to delete or uninstall non-Apple apps, don’t just drag them to the trash — they’ll leave lots of files behind on your hard drive. It’s best to use a dedicated uninstaller tool, like CleanMyMac X. You can download CleanMyMac and try it out for free here.

Fortunately, you can turn iMessage off on your Mac either permanently or just for a little while so you can get some work done. 

How to disable Messages in iCloud

  1. Launch the Messages app on your Mac.
  2. In the Messages menu, click Settings.
  3. Select the iMessage tab.
  4. Uncheck the box next to “Enable messages in iCloud.”

That will stop syncing your messages to iCloud. You can now click Disable This Device — this will disable syncing on your Mac. Alternatively, you can select Disable All to turn off syncing on all your devices.

If you want to stop receiving messages on Mac, you can sign out of your iCloud account in Messages altogether. This will only affect the Messages app and won’t stop you, for example, from using iCloud Drive or Photos with iCloud. Effectively, it deregisters iMessage from your account. 

How to sign out of iCloud in Messages 

  1. Launch Messages. 
  2. Click Settings in the Messages menu. 
  3. Choose the account you want to sign out of in the left window. 
  4. Click Sign Out next to your Apple ID.
  5. In the pop-up window that appears, confirm by clicking Sign Out. 

If you sign out and later decide that you want to use Messages on your Mac, after all, you can add your account by going to Messages > Settings and clicking the ‘+’ at the bottom of the Accounts pane, then type in your Apple ID and password. If you have two-factor authentication turned on, you may need to type in the passcode sent to your trusted device. 

There is another option if you want to be able to send messages from your Mac but don’t want notifications.

How to turn off notifications 

  1. Click on the Apple menu and choose System Settings. 
  2. Choose the Notifications pane. 
  3. Click on Messages on the list. 
  4. Toggle off Allow Notifications.

Now, you’ll still be able to send and receive messages, but you won’t be pestered by annoying alerts. 

If you want to disable iMessage on your Mac because you’re selling it or giving it away, you’ll need to sign out of iCloud altogether, in addition to signing out of Messages. 

  1. Click on the Apple menu and choose System Settings.
  2. Click on your ID. 
  3. At the bottom left corner of the window, click Sign Out. 

How to fix Messages when it’s not working properly 

If the reason you want to deactivate iMessage and stop messages from showing on your Mac is that it’s not working properly or that they’re not syncing properly on your iPhone or iPad, there are a few things you can try:

  • Turn off iMessage using the steps above, then turn it back on again.
  • Sign out of Messages using the steps described earlier, then sign back in again.
  • Make sure you’re using the same phone number on your Mac as on your iPhone. 
  • Make sure the email addresses you’ve enabled in Messages on the Mac are those associated with your Apple ID. 
  • If you have more than one Apple ID, make sure you’re signed in to the same one on Messages on all your devices. 

If Messages from your friends aren’t displaying their name or photograph correctly, go to the Contacts app in your Applications folder and search for their name. Check that the entry has the phone number or email address they’re using for Messages. If not, add it. 

How to block someone on iMessage

It may be the case that you want to block specific people from contacting you via Messages, rather than switch it off altogether. Here’s how to do that: 

  1. If the person or company you want to block isn’t already in your Contacts, go to the Contacts app in the Applications folder. If they are already in your Contacts app, skip to step 3 (you’ll know if they are because Messages will display their name instead of just a phone number or email address) 
  2. Click ‘+’ and New Contact and then fill in the details on the contact card. Remember to include the phone number or email address they’ve been messaging you from. 
  3. Launch Messages and choose Settings from the Messages menu. 
  4. Click on the Account you use for iMessage.
  5. Click the Blocked tab. 
  6. Click ‘+’ at the bottom of the window. You’ll see a window slide down that has your Contacts in it. Start typing the name of the contact you want to block into the search box.
  7. Click on the name when it appears. 
  8. You will now see that all their phone numbers and email addresses have been added to your blocked list.

As you can see, while you can’t uninstall Messages on your Mac, it’s easy to turn it off or disable it. Alternatively, you can just turn off notifications, so it carries on working but doesn’t disturb you. If you need to delete the messaging history and all the attachments, you can do that, too, using a dedicated app like CleanMyMac X.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned!

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