I added my iMessage account to my work MacBook and now I want to remove the account, but Messages won't let me.

I Signed Out of the account and deleted the message history, but now when I start messages it still prompts me to login with the account, and if I go to Preferences the account still appears (inactive) in the list and the Remove button (- sign at bottom) is greyed out.

Is there any way to remove the existence of the account completely?


OK, I figured it out but it's not straightforward. I figured it had to be stored in a .plist file somewhere, so I searched all the .plist files in ~/Library/Preferences for ones that contained the Apple ID I used for iMessages. These were the ones:

  • com.apple.ids.service.com.apple.madrid.plist
  • com.apple.ids.service.com.apple.private.alloy.sms.plist
  • ByHost/com.apple.identityservices.idstatuscache.5A488A33-7FF1-56F5-A3F6-CBC792D5C705.plist

When I searched for com.apple.ids.service.com.apple.madrid.plist on the web I found a link to a very useful answer on the Apple forums that also helped out.

So basically, this is what I did:

Delete the .plist files I mentioned above (note, the last one with the UUID in the name is likely to be different for each user):

cd ~/Library/Preferences
rm com.apple.ids.service.com.apple.madrid.plist
rm com.apple.ids.service.com.apple.private.alloy.sms.plist
rm ByHost/com.apple.identityservices.idstatuscache.5A488A33-7FF1-56F5-A3F6-CBC792D5C705.plist

Then I removed all the chat history and archive:

rm ~/Library/Messages/chat.db*
rm -rf ~/Library/Messages/Archive
rm -rf ~/Library/Messages/Attachments

Then I restarted the Mac just in case. Now the account and everything about it that ever existed on this machine is gone :)

  • Can you add the account again? Everything work ok? – Toby Feb 3 '17 at 8:32
  • @Toby I didn't try adding the account again, but I don't see any reason why that wouldn't work. – mluisbrown Feb 3 '17 at 10:22
  • 1
    I only had to delete rm com.apple.identityservices.idstatuscache.your unique string.plist, high sierra didn't have the other files. Now I have a problem with Facetime password popups instead... I have never used facetime, even once. Note to self, never again use the App Store unless you also want to use iMessage, iCloud and Facetime. I did find ./com.apple.FaceTime.5CAAB4B3-ADFD-5191-80F4-F679EBC374C5.plist Lets hope deleting that works. – Ray Foss Jan 17 '19 at 15:18
  • Does anyone know how to do this in Catalina? These files do not exist in Catalina! – Amir Hossein F Sep 30 '20 at 23:33

I think that in iMessage app you can't delete the iCloud account (except if you logout your mac from all iCloud), you can't just logout from iMessage preferences and erase the history...

  • 1
    I didn't use the iCloud account I had configured in Messages for anything else on the work Mac, just iMessage. – mluisbrown Apr 20 '15 at 9:24
  • do you use FaceTime? – Matte.Car Apr 20 '15 at 9:38
  • Nope (well, never on this Mac). I'm still logged into the App Store on this Mac, but with a different Apple ID. – mluisbrown Apr 20 '15 at 9:41
  • So probably it remember last account that accessed; I think that you can't delete iMessage account so you can't do more, just logout and delete all history... or create a new mac user! – Matte.Car Apr 20 '15 at 10:20
  • I figured it out. See my answer :) – mluisbrown Apr 20 '15 at 10:26

Click on the iMessage app, click on Preferences, go to Accounts click on one the boxes on the left side that holds your account to your email whether it's Google or Yahoo and un-enable the one you don't want to be enabled anymore.

  • 2
    The question is about removing an account, not just disabling it which is trivial to do. – mluisbrown Nov 24 '15 at 7:53

Click on the iMessage app, preferences, then details, sign in when asked, then once signed in click on 'Manage Apple ID', it'll prompt you to an apple website, sign in again, then remove the emails under the 'account' section. It worked for me.

I then reopened the iMessage app on my laptop, after removing the emails I no longer wanted, and the accounts weren't on there anymore.

  1. Sign into iCloud.
  2. Click on internet services.
  3. Click on service you'd like to remove.
  4. Click "offline".
  5. Click on "details".
  6. Remove login info.
  7. Click on Minus ("-") at bottom left of page (be sure the account to be removed is highlighted).
  8. You will be prompted "Are you sure?". Click "Yes".

Service will be removed from list and message usage can be continued.


I got to Internet Accounts by clicking on the minus sign (where +/-) at the bottom of the list of accounts (get here via Messages>preferences). This prompted me to the list of accounts but in an 'internet accounts' window, i clicked on the '-' sign again and was asked if I was sure I wanted to delete - I was, and it has!


In the Preferences, sign out the account that you do not want to show up there anymore. Then change the pre-populated email with a random string and a random password. Sign in fails and now your original account is replaced with this one. Yes, you may have to follow mluisbrown's solution if you do not want any entry at all. But if you just want to not show an entry with your email id then this works.


I was having the same problem ("inactive"), but just wanted to get the Messages.app to connect with my iPhone again (so I could send messages via Messages.app on my machine rather than from my phone -- mainly when texting on my phone would take too long / be too cumbersome). I was able to resolve the issue by turning off two-factor authentication via the iCloud website.

Before disabling two-factor auth, I was getting into a weird loop where iPhone would (1) prompt me to allow or disallow my machine access [I clicked "Allow"] and then (2) my iPhone would deliver a six-digit authentication code, but I had no place on my machine to enter that code; that is, my machine was not giving me a prompt box to input the access code being displayed by my iPhone.

Eventually, I thought, "maybe if I just disable two-factor, I can get around this and sign into Messages.app again" -- that worked.

  • BTW, if your device has nowhere to enter the code, you are expected to enter it as part of your icloud password. So if your password was "pass" and the code was 123456, you would enter "pass123456" as your icloud password on the device. Took me a while to figure that one out the first time it came up. – JVC Feb 9 '18 at 19:46

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