Tips/How To: How to disable Bonjour messaging once and for all - Macenstein

Tips/How To: How to disable Bonjour messaging once and for all

Posted by Lab Rat

About 6 months ago, I used iChat’s Bonjour messaging to send a file across the hall to a co-worker. It worked great.

Since that fateful day, however, it seemed every time I opened iChat, I was presented with the Bonjour window in addition to my regular iChat buddy list window. Because I had not used Bonjour since that steamy August day, nor did I plan to in the near future, I decided it was time to go into iChat’s preferences and disable Bonjour messaging hoping that would eliminate the Bonjour window (you apparently cannot remove the actual Bonjour account, although I am sure someone will point out a terminal hack that does this).

Unfortunately, disabling Bonjour actually makes the problem worse. Now, every time I log in to iChat, the Bonjour window still pops up, but now it also has an annoying drop down message sheet alerting me that “Bonjour messaging is disabled, and would I like to enable it now?�

After trolling around the Apple support discussion sites, I learned that this is quite a common problem. It seemed as though if you use Bonjour once, it can never really be turned off.

I came across a couple posts suggesting that the fix involved deleting a couple of iChat’s preference files, namely “� and “�. So I deleted these, relaunched iChat, and WOW! Problem solved!

Or so I thought.

Unlike many Mac users, I actually shut my computer down at night. The next morning upon restart, I launched iChat and up pops the Bonjour window, along with his friend the “Bonjour is disabled� drop down sheet. So I began my testing.

First, it seemed that the Bonjour pop up only occurs the first time I launch iChat each day. If I quit iChat, then relaunch, the window does not appear. So a reboot will cause the problem to reappear.

Second, deleting the preference files does not work. It only appeared to work because I had already launched iChat that day, so the Bonjour window was not going to pop up again until I restarted anyway. I just hadn’t noticed the pattern until then.

If I went into my Applications folder, and launched iChat by clicking on its icon after a reboot, iChat would open without the Bonjour window. If I added iChat to the dock and launched iChat from there, it opened fine. Similarly, if I used Spotlight to find iChat, and opened it from the search results, it opened like a champ, no Bonjour window.

So it then occurred to me that it might not just be launching iChat that is causing this problem, it is the WAY in which I am launching iChat that is causing this.

Like many Mac users, I like to keep my dock as uncluttered as possible. To that end, I like to keep my toolbar (the thing at the top right next to the clock) as cluttered as possible. If an application allows me to access it via the toolbar, I throw its control up there, including iChat. And apparently that was my problem.

I had been using the iChat status bubble in the toolbar to launch iChat by selecting “Buddy List� from the drop down list, since doing so would not only open iChat, but would also then open my buddy list window, saving me a step. And that was my problem. For some reason doing this ( assuming it is the first time iChat has been launched after a reboot, and also assuming you had ever enabled Bonjour messaging on your computer) will always launch the Bonjour window, even if you disable Bonjour in the iChat preferences.

Don’t launch iChat by clicking on “Buddy List”. Choose one of the other choices instead.

So, how do you disable Bonjour messaging once and for all? You don’t. The title of this article is misleading. But you CAN work around it in a number of ways until Apple admits this is a bug.

Here’s some solutions:

1) Never enable Bonjour. Ever. Once you do you are screwed forever and have to buy a new Mac.

2) Launch iChat from the dock, the applications folder, or via Spotlight.

3) Launch iChat via the status bubble, but first select one of your status messages, such as “Available�. THEN choose Buddy list.

4) Never restart your Mac. Once you have dismissed the Bonjour window once, you can then launch iChat using the drop down and the “Buddy List� option until you reboot.

Hope that helps, or if not, I hope it at least lets you know why it is happening to you if it is indeed happening to you as well.

And to all of you out there who have not yet tried Bonjour messaging, but who are considering it, let this serve as a warning. Take it from me kids, just say no Bonjour messaging.

12 Responses to “Tips/How To: How to disable Bonjour messaging once and for all”
  1. Wolfman Mac says:

    I wonder why Jeff sucks so much…

  2. You could just open the iChat preferences and click on the Accounts tab. Then select Bonjour and either click the ‘-‘ button to delete it from the list or, to temporarily disable it, untick the ‘use this account’ and the ‘When iChat opens, automatically log in’ tickboxes.

  3. Thanks Robert, but neither of those works.

    First, you cannot delete the Bonjour account. The option becomes grayed out.

    Second, we have both of the Bonjour options unchecked, and the problem persists.

    Try it yourself and let us know how it goes.

  4. macphisto says:

    I don’t have that problem and I turn Bonjour on and off. I do this by making sure that I am offline with my bonjour account and then close the Bonjour buddy list window. It never pops up for me. At least that I can remember recently.

  5. Macphisto, are you sure you are launching iChat via the iChat status bubble in the toolbar and selecting “Buddy List”?

    Using your method still opens the Bon Jour window for us consistantly the first time we launch iChat that way after a restart.

  6. Keloide says:

    iChat, Prefs, Accounts, Bonjour, disable 2 first check buttons
    (1. Use Bonjour…, 2. When iChat opens…)

    It works and very convenient to activate and de-activate for “send a file across the hall to a co-worker” purposes.

    I have tried it myself and with over +/- 100 macs, and
    I can see other poster have done so to.

    If deactivation does not work its a “your OS/account” problem.
    Maybe its not the other 99 dancers who are doing it wrong 🙂

    Happy New Year and good luck!

  7. I appreciate your comments.

    We have tried this on 7 Macs in 3 locations, using 7 accounts, and all exhibit the same behavior.
    A quick search on Apple’s Support Discussion site for “disable Bonjour” will show you we are not alone in this problem.

    Before you say for sure that you do not have this problem, please be sure you have done the following.

    1) enable Bonjour, send a Bonjour message to someone.
    2) restart your computer
    3) open iChat by selecting BUDDY LIST from the iChat status icon in the toolbar (NOT a DOCK icon).
    (at this point, the Bonjour window will likely also appear when the buddy list window appears.)
    4) Go to ichat prefs>accounts and uncheck those 2 Bonjour check boxes
    5) Restart your computer
    6) repeat step 3.

    If the Bonjour window does not reappear, then you are lucky, and are right, it must only affect a small number of people.
    But it would seem that out of the 100 dancers you mentioned, there may be about 30 or so (not 1) who have this problem, and no one is doing anything wrong. It’s just an odd bug some people have and some people don’t.

  8. Hector M says:

    I have this problem as well. I could not believe that unchecking the correct boxes didn’t work.

    This is a relatively new problem. I had used Bonjour before in the past and not experienced this problem. But at some point (10.3 or 10.4) it emerged.

    Sucks because the buddy list selection from the menu bar is the fastest way to get to your buddy list and log on.

    Oh well.

  9. I like cheese says:

    apparently I have this problem too.
    I didn’t realize I did though until I read this stupid article!
    now I want it fixed!
    I usually just open iChat from the dock, but if I restart and do the buddy list thing, I get Bonjour too.
    thanks for ruining my day.

  10. Um says:

    Why not just leave bonjour on… or leave ichat in your dock…?

  11. Spanner says:

    Bonjour uses multicast DNS to try and contact services available on your local network. Although multicast traffic is not easily routable on the internet – a fairly large local area network without specific multicast routes will flood these packets to all machines on the network. If you have a predominantly PC environment, the few macs you have are causing all other PCs to process these multicast packets – if you haven’t disabled SLP and other protocols on your printers, all your printers will also reply, causing yet more traffic for every machine on the network to process.

    Apple should provide an option to disable Bonjour completely, and all multicast services. What possible reason could they have for not giving the option? If people need Bonjour they could use it – if like me they want to disable it, the option would be there.

  12. Anonymous says:

    To disable Bonjour, you could just run
    sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/
    on a single Terminal commandline. The “-w” inserts a Disabled tag into the file above which controls the mDNS responder part of Bonjour.

    Note that disabling Bonjour may break lots of things: iTunes sharing, printing, shared calendars, …

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