Is messages version 6.1 (11D1069) stable for someone that doesn't mind iChat and FaceTime currently?

I am happy with iChat and FaceTime on my mac and don't really need the iMessage integration presently. I back up with Time Machine regularly and know the general risks that beta software can have glitches or worse, lose data. I've researched all the features, so I'm not looking for why or why not the program is better - just the stability aspect of it in use.

Does anyone have specific recommendation for someone who prefers to run more stable software on their macs? I'm normally glad to help test beta software, but in this case the general buzz I'm hearing from the people that the program is still a little rough and new features are not compelling enough to run full time given the current bugs.

Would you share some specifics about why or why not the program is stable enough for use based on your actual experience with the App.

messages version beta for OS X

  • This is highly opinion based, not really a question
    – Alexander
    Apr 6, 2012 at 18:38

5 Answers 5


I am running Messages via Mountain Lion, but I believe that the application is functionaly identical to the Beta for Lion.

I have the following regular issues with it in day to day usage:

  • Badge counts are inconsistent, and it often says "1" regardless of reality
  • Icon Bounce - it bounces in the dock a lot as if something has happened, when nothing (that I can see) has
  • Slow syncing - when I have used iMessages on my phone, and then move to the desktop, it drip feeds the messages it needs to see to catch up really slowly, and you get a notification every 10 seconds or so for what can be a very long time if there is a lot to catch up on

Also, at least once (though this could have been a ML bug) it started using the wrong icon, showing a picture of a friend in place of my own avatar against my own messages. Investigation showed the "me" card had been ammended in Contacts...

  • Ouch - messing with cards in the address book would cascade to my other devices so that would be something worth avoiding in the absence of the other tics you mention.
    – bmike
    Apr 3, 2012 at 12:24
  • 1
    Actually for clarity it didn't alter a card, it merely set a different one as "me".
    – stuffe
    Apr 3, 2012 at 12:37
  • Actually, I probably had the above mentioned address book problems as well and that is an important enough problem to avoid even trying it. The reason I'm not sure what caused my address book problems was that I was having issues with iCloud at the same time. I'm guessing the problem was Messages now that someone else has noted a problem with addresses.
    – Richard
    Apr 3, 2012 at 12:41
  • Oddly - iChat itself just messed with my Me card something fierce on plain old iChat and 10.7.3 so perhaps that's server side and not based on the client or the OS.
    – bmike
    Apr 3, 2012 at 12:43

From a security standpoint, one major flaw that holds me back from using it day to day is that there is no option to turn off chat logging. The only way around it is to remove permissions from the iChats folder. I don't really care to log my chats, and really don't want to, and was very surprised to see that you could not turn this off.

The only other major flaw I have had is the unread counts - as in, not syncing with iMessage as much as I would like and clearing the count. I also have seen some times where it literally replays a conversation in front of me throughout the day. I would prefer it to just reload the state from the iMessage server, and present that to me at a synced state.

  • This already is something of great hilarity. I've got too many iOS devices at the moment (testing some things) so iMessages tend to ring my phone and one of three iPads in varying amounts of delay (between a second or two and hours) so when I get messages the chorus is amusing to say the least.
    – bmike
    Apr 3, 2012 at 12:44
  • Totally know the feeling - we have 4 active iOS devices (then two more for dev), plus some Macs - its a chorus through the house when one or the both of us gets an email. You hear like a wave of 'bings' from the bedroom, office, to living room.
    – jmlumpkin
    Apr 3, 2012 at 12:46

A number of my local contacts use iMessages heavily and I've alway kept iChat running on my computer, so running the beta was a no brainer for me. I haven't observed any problems on my primary machine or on the MacBook Air I maintain for Mom–at least none that caused me to look to Messages.

I haven't had difficulties staying logged in, as reported in another answer here, or found the program to be what I would term unstable, but will keep a closer eye on it moving forward. I feel safe in saying that running Messages hasn't had a negative effect on my system overall. I hadn't even thought about it until I came upon this thread, it's just there.

I am curious about @stuffe's report of an altered Address Book Card and would love to hear if there are more reports of this behavior. As Stuffe points out, there are a lot of spoons in the core data soup, so Messages may not be the culprit.

  • My understanding is that @stuffe reported that his "me" card changed by using Messages beta - not that any details within any card changed - just the pointer to "me" was altered.
    – bmike
    Apr 3, 2012 at 13:30
  • So noted. Still, there are other places where this pointer can be changed.
    – jaberg
    Apr 3, 2012 at 13:46

My recommendation is to avoid it for now. I ran it for a while and enjoyed some of its new features but it couldn't stay logged in and had other small but annoying problems. I uninstalled it and went back to iChatAV and things were fine. I decided to see if installing it a month later would give me a newer more stable version so I did another install of it recently and it seemed like the same version: unstable and lots of errors, especially on waking from sleep.

So, I killed it again.

Bottom line: you can get rid of it easily enough so that there's no harm in trying it, the process of moving back to iChatAV is painless and no harm is done. It's a heck of a lot of fun to chat/message with people on mobile devices although buggy at times, it's a look at the future.

The only thing you might want to be careful of is if you have an AIM account and do not have AIM saving chats (accounts/chat settings) it seems that Messages turns that on automatically so you'll want to turn it off if you don't want it.


The points already made are good — I think it should also be mentioned that some features from iChat are missing or unusable in the current Messages beta!

  • You can't search within a conversation — there is one search box, and it seems to search all conversations. More importantly, it consumes a lot of memory and causes Messages to hang for several minutes (at least, it did the two or three times I tried it). I've simply gotten in the habit of not searching.

  • Conversation tabs are not grayed out when a user is offline. This means it's hard to see at a glance who is online. Also, if you have multiple accounts through which you can communicate with someone (e.g. AIM and Google Talk), the icon only reflects the account you currently have selected. Again, this makes it hard to tell if someone is online without opening the dropdown to switch accounts or looking through your buddy list.

  • I've been having more connection problems that require me to disable and re-enable one of my Jabber accounts every so often. But this might just be my internet connection rather than a Messages problem, I'm not sure.

(As for the Address Book issues: When I first tried the beta, I had an issue where it seemed to have deleted a buddy's address card. But after restoring that card from a backup, I haven't had any more Address Book issues.)

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