Apple’s iMessage instant messaging service is a convenient way to send text, pictures, videos, and more across iPhones, iPads, and Macs. However, in some situations, you may want to disable it on your Mac.
Maybe you want a break from constant notifications while you work. The constant ping of new messages arriving can be a huge distraction when you’re trying to focus on something else. And you can easily find yourself procrastinating when chatting with friends instead of working.
You may also want to stop receiving your phone messages on your Mac permanently because it’s simply not a feature you care about.
In any case, there are a few ways to turn off messages on Mac, either temporarily or permanently. In this guide, we’ll show you how to stop notifications from appearing, so you can avoid distractions.
Before we start
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- Under Technology, select StopAd
- Next to Safari, click Enable and follow the instructions on the screen
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- When StopAd is installed, click the Tech logo in your browser to open StopAd and start blocking ads.
Turn off iMessage by signing out of Messages
If you sign out of iCloud, it will also unlink iMessages. Instead of doing that, though, you can easily sign out of Messages and stay signed in to iCloud. You’ll still get all the other cloud features on your Mac, but you won’t get any more messages on your computer until you sign back into Messages. It’s a simple solution, but it’s particularly useful if you’re not interested in viewing your phone’s messages on your Mac.
- Open Messages, select Messages > Settings from the menu bar
2. Go to the iMessage tab and click Disconnect
3. In the pop-up window, click Disconnect again
4. You will now be signed out of Messages, so you will not receive any more messages on your Mac.
Of course, if you want to start using Messages again, just open it up and use your Apple login details as usual.
Disable iMessage notifications in system settings
While signing out of Messages works as a way to stop receiving notifications, it’s not ideal if you just want to receive messages from your laptop or computer for a while. As soon as you want to receive messages again, you will need to log in again, which will mean entering your password again, all very complicated and unnecessary.
It makes more sense to turn off notifications rather than turn off all cloud features on your Mac. That way, anything you don’t want to appear in the popup is still treated, but you’re not removing a useful feature from your Mac.
To stop notifications from appearing, follow these steps:
- In System Settings go to Notifications
2. Scroll down and select Messages
3. Next to Allow notifications use the switch to disable them
4. Alternatively, you can try using the settings below this to only block certain types of notifications.
If you’re trying to stay distraction-free, then it’s worth checking out all your other notification settings for other apps too. You can also turn off all notifications instead of looking at each app individually.
Customize notifications in Messages settings
You may be wondering how to turn off iMessage on Mac because you are being bombarded with notifications. Every time someone mentions your name in a conversation or an unknown contact sends you a message: boom, new notification. Maybe it’s the sound effect that comes with every new message that annoys you the most.
Instead of turning off all your notifications, you can use the Messages settings to specify what things should notify you.
- In Messages, select Messages > Settings from the menu bar
- Select the General Tab
3. You can now deselect Notify me about messages from unknown contacts and Notify me when my name is mentioned
4. You can also choose to turn off Autoplay Message Effects and Play Sound Effects
Mute one conversation at a time
Apple Messages also allows you to mute conversations on a case-by-case basis. If there is a particular chat that you want not to appear, you can do it with just a couple of clicks.
You won’t have to unsync anything or sign out, but it’s useful if there are active conversations you want to take off your screen for a while.
- In Messages, right-click on a conversation in the sidebar
- Select Hide alerts
3. You will now see a crossed bell icon, indicating that the conversation is muted.
4. Repeat this for any other chats you don’t want to appear.
Remember, however, that this is a manual process. If you want to see notifications from these chats again, you’ll need to repeat the process to turn off the Hide Alerts feature. If you forget it, you may end up missing the notifications you want.
Temporarily block notifications with Notification Center
You can temporarily disable notifications with just a couple of clicks using Notification Center. This means turning on the Focus feature, which is specifically designed to reduce distractions, so you can get on with work.
iMessages won’t stop syncing, but your Mac will hide notifications until you want them back. This is a good temporary way to keep message notifications silent so you can get on with your work.
- On the right side of the menu bar, click the Notification Center Icon
- Click Focus
3. Now select Do Not Disturb
Until you turn off Do Not Disturb, you will not receive any alerts. You can also choose For 1 hour or Until this afternoon , which will give you a set period of peace and quiet before allowing messages to reappear. This is useful because, unlike Hide Alerts, you don’t have to toggle the setting to start receiving notifications again; they will simply start again when the specified time period ends.
Delete unwanted iMessage conversations
What if there is only one conversation that you want to prevent from appearing? Maybe a friend who sends too many messages at inconvenient times, or maybe a pushy salesperson. Instead of closing your iMessages entirely or getting rid of all notifications, you can delete conversations you don’t want to be a part of.
- In Messages, right-click on a conversation in the sidebar and select Delete
2. Click Delete to get rid of that conversation
3. If the messages are spam, you can notify Apple by selecting Delete and report spam.
If you want to delete all messages, including the ones in iCloud, check out our complete guide on how to delete messages on Mac. This also shows you how to automatically delete messages on your Mac.
Questions you might have
1. How can I backup iMessage on iPhone?
There are a few ways to back up your messages on an iPhone, even with third-party backup software. But one easy and affordable method is built right into your Apple account: iCloud. In your iPhone settings, go to the iCloud section and make sure Messages is enabled. Your messages will be automatically backed up to the cloud.
2. What should I do to fix iMessage malfunction?
If you’re having problems with Messages or iMessage on your Mac, you should try a few basic things first.
- restart your mac
- Check your internet connection
- See if you can send login messages from a different device
- Exit and re-enter
- Check your Mac for malware using Tech.
However, keep in mind that problems can also be out of your control. For example, your phone’s network provider may be having problems or Apple’s messaging services may not work. All these can cause iMessage not working on Mac.
3. How can I turn off sound and preview for iMessage on a Mac?
You can control notifications from the Notifications area of System Settings . In addition to being able to disable sounds, you can choose whether previews appear as banners, alerts, or not at all. You can do this for all the apps on your Mac, including Messages.
4. How to hide alerts in iMessage for a particular contact?
Since chats are sorted by group or contact, it’s easy to hide alerts for just one person. Find your chat with them in the Messages sidebar, then right-click and select Hide Alerts. That is all. You won’t delete that contact or chat, but you won’t see any alerts from them again until you turn that feature back on.
Keep your Mac free from distractions
If you want to read and send messages without having to take out your phone, Messages and iMessages are quite useful. But if you’d rather keep your Mac and phone separate, then constant messaging becomes a distraction. When you’re on your iMac, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, or whatever, you want it to act as an extension of your phone.
So you can close Messages and stop syncing with your phone. Or you can just mute notifications for everything or individual conversations that you want to prevent from going to your notification area. A few simple steps is all it takes to set this up.
And if you want to make your Mac experience as distraction-free as possible, you can use Tech’s Stop Ads feature to prevent irritating ads and pop-ups. It’s also packed with other useful features, including an antivirus and a comprehensive VPN client. And if you’re wondering how to clean Mac apps and junk files, its Safe Clean feature will do the job.