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I use Apple's iMessage across several devices, including my (OS X Lion) Mac, using the recent Messages beta.

However, the application has some undesired behaviour.

When I quit Messages, it will relaunch itself when I receive new messages. This is incredibly distracting.

Is there a way to temporarily disable or mute iMessage (including the badge on the Dock) from just my Mac? I'd still like to receive messages on my other iOS devices.

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Why do you want to disable the app and not just remove it? – Michiel Jun 6 '12 at 8:12
I enjoy using the app, it's helpful, and I'm a frequent user of the iMessage service. But there are times when I need to get some work done, and the frequent sounds, badges, and dock bounces aren't helping my concentration. – Redandwhite Jun 6 '12 at 9:51
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Click your apple symbol in the computer -> System preferences -> notifications -> messages -> none

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UPDATE: New notification center settings enable this functionality. – Redandwhite Dec 16 '14 at 11:09

On the Messages menubar, go to Messages-> Accounts and uncheck iMessages.

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This solutions works. Many thanks! – Redandwhite Jun 6 '12 at 10:04

An update for Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks). You can turn on Do Not Disturb in Notification Centre to mute notifications:

notification centre -  do not disturb screenshot

You can show Notification Centre by clicking on the three-horizontal-lines icon on the far-right of the menubar, or perhaps by doing a two-finger swipe from the right edge of your trackpad (if this gesture is enabled in System Preferences -> Trackpad -> More Gestures). Then swipe up to reveal the 'Do Not Disturb' toggle (which is hidden at the top of the notification centre panel).

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This is much better than having to disable iMessage every time and also keeps messages that come in while muted in iMessage which doesn't happen when it's disabled. – Ariel Nov 26 '14 at 16:38
This should be the new answer. – joshmcode Apr 17 at 22:23

In Messages, unselect the "Use Alerts in this Conversation" option in the View menu. This should enable iMessages without the sounds.

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I like this option to mute that person basting you with messages. (Thanks for the edit @patrix) – iDev247 Feb 5 '14 at 20:55

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