Messages For Mac – From Beta to Primetime

Messages for Mac – Now Ready For Primetime

For those of you that have participated in the Messages for Mac beta, you know that it is a handy feature. From the get go Messages was a very clean, simple messaging app that would allow you to communicate between users running both iOS and now OSX. With the release of OSX Mountain Lion, Mac’s Messages has become much more stable and usable, on top of several added features.

Improvements from Beta

Participating in the Messages beta gave me some time to go through the application, finding its strengths and weaknesses. I was impressed with Apple’s ability to clean up the beta and add additional features with little errors.  I have included my findings with a brief comparison between the official release and the beta.

iPhone and Mac Messages – Syncing

One of my favorite features was the ability to track your conversation between your Mac and your iPhone. The conversations would sync immediately. In the beta there was a major problem though. Every message that was sent would sync immediately to both devices. This happened even if your chat box was open on OSX and you were having a conversation. I happen to have an older 3gs where the battery is beginning to weaken. For most of us, we can type MUCH faster on a PC then we can a cell phone. When the conversation is consistently adding messages to it, not only does your phone notify you excessively to the point of annoyance but those of you with weak batteries like mine know the effect having the screen lit and messages being transferred has.

With the update to Mountain Lion all of this has been fixed. If your chat window on your Mac is open you will no longer sync those to your phone. Now this feature is a lot more robust and can be used more practically. Overall a great way to communicate between devices.

Group Chat

When chatting with more than a single person in the beta, each individuals message color was different. Now everyone seems to be the same, which causes confusion when discerning who the message is coming from at a quick glance. If there is a way to change this, I have not yet figured out how. Either way it poses a usability problem at first. This issue could have something to do with the fact that in my chat group I was the only user who had upgraded and the others were still running beta.

Beta’s “State of Inexistence” Feature

Another fascinating beta feature was the ability to put your messaging window in a state of inexistence. This could be accomplished by simply changing your font size to max, changing your text color, then typing SPAM into your chat box. To the best of my knowledge this feature has been discontinued in the official release. [/sarcasm]

Conclusion

Overall Messages for Mac is one of many great reasons to upgrade to OSX Mountain Lion. The interface is simple and clean, yet there is a plethora of features that allow you to customize your experience.