How to Disable Messages on Mac (Without Disabling It on Your Phone)

Zach Zach (249)
2 minutes

All of the newest versions of macOS allow you to send and receive iMessages, or messages, from your computer, rather than your phone. While this is certainly a novel feature, it can be quite distracting and, unfortunately, the feature is enabled by default. After days of lost productivity as a result of receiving inane messages while programming, I decided to disable it. It's best to disable it from your computer so that you can still utilize iMessage's functionality within your iOS device.

tl;dr; Disable iMessage on your Mac without disabling it on your phone. This works for both messages in macOS and iMessage on your Mac.

Other annoyances to disable

Looking to disable other annoyances on your Mac? Check out our guide on disabling the Mac touchbar, disabling the volume control sound, and disabling the Mac empty trash warning.

Apple computer ×1

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Messages App in Finder

On your Mac computer:

  • Open a Finder window.
  • Go to Applications.
  • Find your Messages app.

Conversely, you can use Spotlight search. Just search for "Messages."

From the Messages app on your Mac, you can make adjustments to how your iMessages and messages function and interact between your iPhone and Mac.

iMessages Tab in Messages app

In the "Messages" screen, select iMessage from the menu bar.

Other things you can do in the iMessage screen is sign in and out of your Apple ID, change the phone number for your iMessages, choose to send read receipts for iMessages, and of course, disable iMessages completely.

Disable iMessage on Mac

Under your Apple ID, uncheck "Enable Messages in iCloud".

Finally, open the Notifications & Focus pane in System Preferences. Select Messages from the sidebar and toggle "Allow Notifications" to the off position.

That's it!

Now, you'll no longer receive message and iMessage pop-ups on your computer. All your messages, however, will still show up on your iPhone or Apple watch.

Hide Alerts in iMessage for a certain contact or number

If instead you just need to stop alerts for a certain number (maybe a particularly annoying one), then you can simply:

  • Right-click the person's number in your Messages app.
  • Select Get Info.
  • Check Hide Alerts.
Change your Mac's appearance to light, dark, or auto.
1 minute

One of the great features of macOS Yosemite and later is Mac user's ability to change the default Light appearance of Macs to Dark Mode.