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.

  • Why do you want to disable the app and not just remove it?
    – Michiel
    Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 8:12
  • 2
    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. Commented Jun 6, 2012 at 9:51

5 Answers 5


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).

Update: I've also just discovered that you can option-click on the Notification centre menubar icon to toggle Do Not Disturb mode on and off.

  • 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
    Commented Nov 26, 2014 at 16:38
  • 1
    This should be the new answer.
    – joshmcode
    Commented Apr 17, 2016 at 22:23

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

  • 1
    UPDATE: New notification center settings enable this functionality. Commented Dec 16, 2014 at 11:09

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


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

  • 1
    I like this option to mute that person basting you with messages. (Thanks for the edit @patrix)
    – iDev247
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 20:55

If you want to silence a specific person / group (because they blast you while you are trying to work or whatever), but want to receive other notifications. You can click on "details" in the chat (in Messages) window and select "do not disturb".

  • Sadly in 2024 no conversation-specific muting seems to be available when you click "Show Details..." Seems you pretty much have to disable all messages from everybody via "Do Not Disturb" :-(
    – sh37211
    Commented Jan 30 at 18:42

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