Messages Alert Insanity  

Dan Moren mentions the nice thing about Messages:

Apple clearly intends for you to always be available for iMessages—case in point, Messages on the Mac will continue to receive messages even when it’s not open, displaying an unread count on its Dock icon.

Which inevitably leads to the bad thing about Messages:

That also means that we get the same message on multiple devices—for me, up to four or five—at the same time, along with a cavalcade of alert sounds.

Which, of course, leads to hope Apple might one day solve this:

Figuring out which device we’re using at any given time is a challenging problem for Apple to solve, but in the meantime, the least it can do is give us an option to avoid being deluged with pop-up alerts and chimes on every device.

And the realization that Messages is not really suited for being part of iChat:

So why not two separate apps? Keep iChat the way it is, for instant messaging, and have a new FaceTime-iMessage combo. Call it FaceMessage—I don’t know, I’m not some sort of nameologist.

All of which causes me to state, for the record, I agree. The current implementation of Messages on OS X is a mess of convenience and insanity, which creates a fun situation where it’s so much easier to message a friend with an iPhone or iPad when I’m at my computer that I use Messages rather than grabbing my iOS device but then become instantly annoyed when they reply and I hear a message alert sound from every single room in my apartment.

I’m not sure Apple can solve this. How could they properly detect I’m using Messages on my Mac and therefore don’t want my iOS devices to chime? And what about the cases where I send a message from my Mac but the person doesn’t respond for 15 minutes, by which time I’m in my car (and want my iPhone to chime)? If they simply add a toggle in Messages for Mac that allows me to say, “Hey, I’m on this guy, don’t bug my sleeping iPhone”, does that mean if I forget to toggle it back when I walk away I’ll never know my Aunt Mary is messaging me with an emergency?

I’m not a scientist, but this sounds like an insurmountable challenge to me. For now, I think if we want Messages on our computers, we’re going to have to put up with the alert sound jam session.


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