Can’t seem to get the iMessage app working on your Mac?

This is a frustrating situation, especially when you need to send a message with file attachments stored in your Mac for work or school. Not only that, but several users have also reported that they find a little red exclamation mark symbol which appears right next to their messages, and by clicking on it doesn’t resend the message nor indicate if something has gone wrong.

The essential part of troubleshooting this problem is to know where to start, which this guide is written specifically to guide you step-by-step in the right direction. The guide is sorted from the most basic to the more advanced procedures which ensures that you do not jump into the deep side of the pool yet unnecessarily without checking off the more common factors off the list.

Let’s dive right in!


  1. Test Your Internet Connection
  2. Check Date and Time Settings
  3. Disable Third-Party Security Software Temporarily
  4. Check Accounts in Sync Devices
  5. Force Quit the App and Relaunch
  6. Restart Your Mac
  7. Log Out the Apple ID and Log Back In
  8. Check Keychain Access Settings
  9. Update macOS to Latest Version
  10. Delete Cached Message Files
  11. Reset the NVRAM
  12. Reset to Factory Settings
  13. Contact Apple Support


How to Fix iMessage Not Working on a Mac: 13 Ways



1. Test Your Internet Connection.

If you are not connected to the internet, then you will not be able to send or receive messages on your iMessage.

But how do you test that? Well, Apple provides a network utility tool you can use to check your internet connectivity. To access the Network Utility tool on your Mac, head over to /System/Library/CoreServices/Applications folder using Finder and then select the Network Utility app.


iMessage Not Working on Mac


From there, you can do a ping test to an internet hostname like We suggest doing a test on an IP Address like or if you cannot resolve the hostname. If the internet connection is not working, then you will need to change the DNS settings of your Mac. However, if you have a successful hostname resolution and test result, then you have a working internet connection.

Additionally, you will also want to check if the iMessage system is down from Apple’s end. The iMessage server may be undergoing maintenance or having issues even though your internet connection may work fine. To check if iMessage is down from Apple’s end, hop on over to the System Status page on Apple’s website which provides you with a digital monitoring board for status updates of their services on their website.


iMessage Not Working on Mac



2. Check Date and Time Settings.

Having the wrong date and time settings on your Mac can sometimes mess up the order on how the messages sent and are received in iMessage. The server requires to be able to check that your device time is in line with your time where you are located.

If not, you then will not be permitted to sync with the server for security purposes. To fix this, you will have to update your settings.

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. First, click on the Apple menu on the top portion of your Mac screen and click on System Preferences.
  2. Next, find and click the Date & Time option, then click on the Time Zone tab.
  3. Finally, click on the Set date and time automatically checkbox to enable the feature. This will automatically update your time according to your location.

iMessage Not Working on Mac


Once you’ve configured your date and time settings correctly, try testing your iMessage by sending and receiving messages.



3. Disable Third-Party Security Software Temporarily.

Unlike your iOS and iPadOS, you have the option to install third-party security software on your Mac, such as an anti-virus or firewall app.

Although this is not required as the in-built security on the Mac systems are enough, for those who are precautious of security, you may have another security layer installed for sanity’s sake.

However, at times the third-party security software that is installed may not play well with macOS and instead can hinder you from sending and receiving a message using the iMessage application. To verify if this is the case, you can try to disable the security software first then proceed to test using your iMessage as you usually would.

If you can send and receive messages on iMessage after that, you may need to call your third-party security software’s support and let them know that the security software is blocking access for iMessage. They will help you out configure the settings of the software so it won’t affect your iMessage app.



4. Check Accounts in Sync Devices.

There is also the possibility that there are conflicts between your iMessage app on your Mac and the one on your iPhone (or iPad). Since you are using the same Apple ID on all your Apple devices, it is advisable that you use the same accounts to avoid confusion.

So here’s how to check your account in iMessage app:

On your iPhone or iPad

  1. Go ahead and tap the Settings of your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Then, scroll down and tap Messages option.
  3. Now, make sure that iMessage is enabled. If not, toggle the button to enable it.

iMessage Not Working on Mac


  1. Finally, tap the Send & Receive option and check the account you are using.

On your Mac

  1. Go ahead and click on the Messages tab on your macOS.
  2. Then, click on Preferences on the drop-down menu.

Mac Preferences


  1. Now under Accounts, select iMessage from the left sidebar then select the Settings tab.

iMessage Not Working on Mac


  1. Finally, check the account that is currently in used if it’s the same as on your other Apple devices. If not, try to sign in to right account.

Now that you can check the account settings on your iMessage app, you should be able to use it with no issues.



5. Force Quit the App and Relaunch.

You may or may not have already tried this but force-quitting your iMessage app can help if it is stuck or buggy.

Here’s how you can force-quit your iMessage app:

  1. Go ahead and click on the Apple menu on your Mac.
  2. Then, select and click the Force Quit option.
  3. On the list of applications, click on the Messages app and click on the Force Quit option.

iMessage Not Working on Mac


  1. Finally, relaunch your iMessage app and do a send/receive message test.

Once you’ve closed the iMessage app and relaunched it, you should be able to use your iMessage and send/receive messages. But what if you are still having the same problem? Worry not, proceed to the next method, and it might be able to fix it.



6. Restart Your Mac.

Again, you may have already tried this, but for those who haven’t, a restart of your Mac can solve most of the problems it’s having. Your computer might likely have reached the maximum limit of its resources. This usually happens when your computer has been running for days, and you haven’t restarted it since.

So to fix this, click on the Apple menu on your Mac and click on the Restart option.

With this, your computer will offload the resources and will be able to start new tasks after startup. Once you have restarted your Mac, you should be able to use any application, including iMessage, without issues.



7. Log Out the Apple ID and Log Back In.

A few users have found this solution to be effective, which was initially shared on the forums. By logging out of your Apple ID and then logging back in, you will be able to refresh the data and patch up any interruptions or corrupted data that may have been stuck with the account.

It’s relatively easy to log out and log back into your Apple ID account, here’s what you do:

  1. Go ahead and click on Messages on the menu at the top screen.
  2. Then, click on the Preferences option.
  3. Now click on the Accounts tab and click the Sign Out button.

iMessage Not Working on Mac


  1. Finally, sign back in and make sure to check the Enable this account checkbox. Once you’re in your iMessage account, try testing the send/receive features and see if you’re able to do it.



8. Check Keychain Access Settings.

The Keychain Access settings are responsible for storing and retrieving the passwords you save onto your Mac. It’s a wonderful feature to have as you don’t have to stress yourself having to remember the passwords saved for a website or an app which you often use.

If you’re experiencing errors with iMessage, it is possible that the account is not signed in properly and the Keychain Access settings may not have been updated with your credentials. In which case, it’s a good idea to go into the settings and then verify it.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Go ahead and click on the Launchpad icon on the screen of your Mac.
  2. Then, click on Keychain Access icon to launch the settings.
  3. Now, click the File menu and then click on Lock Keychain “login” option on the sub-menu.

iMessage Not Working on Mac


  1. Next, click on the File menu again and this time click on Unlock Keychain “login”.
  2. Finally, enter the updated or correct password once it prompts to update your credentials.

Having made sure that your credentials are updated with the correct ones, you will be able to log into iMessage and use it with no issues.



9. Update macOS to Latest Version.

Since iMessage is an app that is directly tied to Apple’s ecosystem, therefore you must make sure that your macOS version is kept updated for the new patches to take effect for the iMessage app too. The chances are that if Apple did release a new update, they might have already patched the iMessage issues up.

To check if there are any pending macOS updates, click on the Apple logo on your computer, then click on System Preferences and select Software Update.


iMessage Not Working on Mac


You will be prompted with instructions to complete the installation process. Once you’ve updated your macOS, try using your iMessage once again and see if the issues are still present. If you are still having the same problem or if you find that there are no pending macOS updates, then you may opt for the next method.



10. Delete Cached Message Files.

This is another solution which several users have found to have solved the issues with iMessage. It is also the solution that had worked for us as well!

By deleting the cached message files on your Mac, you’re essentially removing any stored files that could contain bugs that may impede how you use the iMessage app. Generally, cached message files are aimed to ensure that you obtain a quick and responsive experience when using the iMessage, but at times it can work against you.

Once you’ve deleted the cache message files, your Mac will automatically repopulate the files on its own but without the bugs or errors that were present before. Take note that this will not delete any of your iMessage data or conversation threads.

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. First, open the Finder app, click on Go option and then click on Go to Folder option.

iMessage Not Working on Mac


  1. Then on the space provided, type in ~/Library/Caches to access the folder.

iMessage Not Working on Mac


  1. Now find the following files and delete it:
  1. Next is go back to the Library folder and click on the Preferences folder.
iMessage Not Working on Mac
Alternatively, you can also type in ~/Library/Preferences/


  1. Find the following files and delete them:
  1. Finally, restart your Mac and relaunch iMessage app.

As aforementioned, the deleted files will be recreated as new as soon as you relaunch the iMessage app. You can try to use the app like you normally would, and this method should allow your iMessage to be working correctly.



11. Reset the NVRAM.

NVRAM or non-volatile random access memory is a little storage facility in your Mac that stores basic settings such as sound volume, display resolution, startup-disk selection, time zone, and recent kernel panic information.

Resetting the NVRAM can sound a little advanced for some, but in fact, it’s just a simple three-step process which is useful to jump-start your Mac and allow it to be working correctly.

Take note that as part of resetting the NVRAM, your settings for sound volume, display resolution, time-zone will be reset to the default.

Here’s how you can reset the NVRAM:

  1. First, press and hold the Power button of your Mac until the screen turns black.
  2. Now, keep pressing the Power button to turn it back on and immediately press and hold the Command, Option, P and R keys on your keyboard. Make sure you hold down on the keys until your Mac restarts which should take roughly 20 seconds.



  1. Finally, you can release the keys when you see the Apple logo appear and disappear for the second time.

After the reset, you can go ahead and set up the settings of your Mac again. Make sure to try and test the iMessage to see if the issues you were facing have been fixed.



12. Reset to Factory Settings.

If all else fails, there is always the last resort which is to reset the Mac back to its factory settings. Now if you’re experiencing issues with not just your iMessage app but also the system in general with tons of bugs and errors, then it’s worth considering that your macOS version has been corrupted. This usually happens when your Mac was interrupted during updating file systems, especially during the shutdown process.

You can ask an Apple certified technician to do it for you if you wish to obtain a second look at your Mac. If you want to do it yourself, you may follow the steps below.

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. First, make sure that you back up all your important files on your Mac.
  2. Then restart your Mac and when the computer powers back on, press and hold the Command and R keys in your keyboard until the Apple logo appears.
  3. Now, click on Disk Utility on the options provided and click the startup disk where Mac is installed.
  4. Next, click on Erase option and choose Mac OS Extended (Journaled) as the format if applicable.

iMessage Not Working on Mac


  1. After that, exit the Disk Utility window and choose Reinstall macOS. Follow the steps provided until you complete the process.

iMessage Not Working on Mac


  1. Finally, you will have to set up the new settings on your Mac and launch the iMessage app.

After you have tested that your iMessage is working correctly, you may opt to restore your files in your Mac. If this method does not resolve the issue, you will need to proceed to the next method and ask for Apple’s help.



13. Contact Apple Support.

You always have the option to avail the services of Apple-certified technicians at your nearest Apple Store. Now before you do, make sure you check your warranty options. It’s important to understand the options that are available to you as well as whether you qualify for any discounts or free repairs. For instance, if you just bought your new Mac then you have up to 14-days for returns and refunds, should you wish to use it.


Apple Store The Grove Los Angeles


Generally speaking, the issue with iMessage will fall under the software category, and you may not require any hardware replacement at all. If you do decide to go to your nearest Apple store, you can also tell the technicians all the troubleshooting steps that you did from this guide to save you some time.

If you don’t have an Apple Store in your country, you can opt to book an appointment for repair on their website instead. They can still fix it in their lab, but you will have to send your Mac through a courier. Once delivered, you can monitor the repair process online.


Apple Repair Support


Additionally, if you are confident that you can do it on your own, talk to an Apple representative over the phone. As we bring this guide to a close, we hope that it helped you fixed your iMessage not working on a Mac issue. If you have questions related to this topic, please feel free to leave a comment below, and we will love to help. ❤


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