I upgraded from Lion to Mountain Lion and, when I started the Messages app for the first time, it imported the iCloud account, a Google Talk account and to old iChat accounts I used in the past. I removed all the unwanted accounts and only left the iCloud one, but the problem is that it is someway duplicated.

Two iCloud accounts appear, one active, with the right account set-up, and the other one in inactive, and I can't delete it. If I configure it with the same data from the first account, or with data of a different account, the second one becomes active and the first one becomes inactive, and I couldn't fin any way of removing one of the two.

Is there a way for resetting the app configuration so that I can restart the program from scratch?

3 Answers 3


Messages.app uses many files in various locations for storing information.
To completely start from scratch, all these files must be deleted.

  1. Delete the preference files (there are many of these):

    find ~/Library/Preferences -name "*iChat*" -delete
  2. Delete caches:

    rm -rf ~/Library/Caches/com.apple.Messages
  3. Delete chat database:

    rm -rf ~/Library/Messages

Remember to take a backup before deleting files.

  • I followed all these steps and when I re-launch Messages.app, all conversations are still there. All SMS messages received in the past are also all still there. Where is all of that coming from? Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 22:03
  • @Christopher Did you quit Messages before deleting the files? Have you logged out and back in?
    – grg
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 22:07
  • Quit, delete, launch. Quit, delete, launch (again). Started manually deleting convos (mostly one-off SMS that I got long ago that take forever to delete individually. Quit one more time, re-launched, empty. shrug. Never logged out/restarted. Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 22:11
  • @Christopher That's odd but glad it's sorted. Manually deleting conversations isn't that slow: ⌥⌘⌫ to instantly delete an entire conversation without prompt, and the next conversation is automatically selected so you can just keep tapping ⌫ to delete each one, over and over.
    – grg
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 22:13
  • That final restart was explicitly due to the fact that Messages.app was no longer auto-selecting the next convo after OPT-CMD-DELETE was used to delete-without-confirmation. Either way, got 'em all :) Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 22:19

Mac OS X 10.8.2 fixed the problems.

I started the app after the upgrade and the double account was still there. I opened the preferences, the app crashed and, when I restarted it, the problems were gone.

  • 1
    "...he problems were gone?"
    – Ethan Lee
    Commented Sep 22, 2012 at 0:32
  • Yes, I no longer have problems. Commented Nov 8, 2012 at 14:12

To reset Messages app to default configuration you must delete your user preferences for the application. From the finder toolbar select Go > Go To Folder and enter ~/Library/Preferences/. In this folder you need to delete the files that match com.apple.iChat.plist, or any sub-setting files like com.apple.iChat.Jabber.plist which will exist for each type of account you have existing your Messages app.

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