How to Fix iMessage (iCloud & AppStore)
How to fix
(also Appstore, iTunes & iCloud)
04-09-2014: Update Step 5d - Persistent MLB & ROM Values
29-08-2014: Add Step 5e - Clarify NVRAM plist reset
26-08-2014: Update Step 5d for Clover Users (MLB & ROM)
18-08-2014: Added Section 5d - iMessage Debug utility
10-08-2014: News: Recent iMessage Outages
09-06-2014: Add Important note about S/N changes to Step 3
08-06-2014: Add NIC EFI injection to Step 2
19-05-2014: Part-2 of the guide moved to Post #2
18-05-2014: Confirmed Working - OSX Mavericks 10.9.3
15-05-2014: Update Step 5C for Chimera V3.0+ users
23-04-2014: Re-write and simplify Step-2
17-04-2014: SId Bug Fix and UUID miss-match
10-04-2014: New iMessage issues identified
31-03-2014: Rewrite Step-5c and consolidate notes
30-03-2014: Updated info on Credit Card expired
06-03-2014: Updated info on issue effecting RAID users
03-03-2014: Updated info on Apple ID validation check
02-03-2014: Reformat and re-order entire guide
02-03-2014: Confirmed Working - OSX Mavericks 10.9.2
30-12-2013: Confirmed Working - OSX Mavericks 19.9.1
26-10-2013: Updated info on BSD Name issue
24-10-2013: Confirmed Working - OSX Mavericks 10.9.0
30-09-2013: First release of guide made public
25-08-2013: Confirmed Working - OSX Mountain Lion 10.8.5
01-08-2013: Confirmed Working - OSX Mountain Lion 10.8.4
If you get a iMessage alert asking you to contact Apple with a customer code then thats what you must do, there is nothing you can do locally to resolve the issue, the customer code must be applied to your AppleID to unlock iMessage on your device, this can only be done by Apple.
Recently many more users are seeing this alert, I believe that Apple made further changes to security checks on their servers in early August 2014 as a result i think Apples system mistakenly thinks that someone is trying to use your AppleID on a non registered Apple device, maybe because of an a UUID - S/N miss-match or invalid MLB or ROM value - all of which is explained in the guide.
Don't use the button on the Alert to Contact Support, this only gets you throgh to first line support that will ask a lot of questions, please see Part-2 Step 8 of the guide for a better method that should get you through to correct support department but only contact Apple if you get the above message with a Customer Code. If you are getting the more generic login or authentication alerts then use the guide to resolve your issues, at some point you should start getting the above alert in which case iMessage is now working on your OSX system but you must contact Apple to remove the device/AppleID lockout.
Before jumping to the conclusion that your iMessage problem is local to your OSX machine its always worth checking to see if there is a more general service outage. you can check the official status of Apple's backend systems here :-
yo can also track iMessage issues in your country by using Down Detector :-
For USA use this link:-
For UK use this link:
(for other countries use either of the two links and click on the appropriate country flag on the right)
If you find this guide helpful please consider clicking on the 'Recommended' button at the top of this page, doing so will help to keep the link to the guide on the home page making it much easer for others to find.
iMessage Guide News:
5th Sept 2014: Potential new iMessage issues coming in the next few weeks
As a result of the recent iCloud hacks on so-called 'celebrities' iCloud accounts, Tim Cook has officially stated that Apple it will be working to implement further security checks on its backend systems over the next few weeks.
News of the imminent changes were posted in the Wall Street Journal :-
I guess we'll just have to wait and see if these changes effect iMessage .....
iMessage outages 8/9/10 Aug 2014
More info at Post#955
It looks like those users who thought iMessage stopped working after installing the latest iTunes 11.3.1 update could have been unlucky and the iTunes update was just coincidence. There are many reports that there was a major iMessage outage on the 8th of Aug:-
It seems to have predominately effected iMessage users in the USA and the UK, these problems seem to coincide with Apples roll-out of the new iCloud data centre in China.
Case Study: 6th Aug 2014 - iMessage/MAC address issue
The Other day i updated one of my systems to a new Motherboard and CPU, however i recycled the WiFi card which resulted in iMessage issues. See post #897 for more information.
Update: 19 May 2014 - Part-2 of the Guide moved
Please note that Part 2 of this guide now follows directly below Part-1 (Post #2) and is no longer at post #404, If you find any links in the guide not working please let me know.
Update: 15th May 2014 - Chimera 3.0 and later.
If you have installed or updated to Chimera Version 3.0 or later be sure to read Note 4 in Step 5C.
Update: 17th April 2014 - New iMessage issues & the SId Bug
Apple have recently made some changes on their iMessage relay servers that can cause new issues for hackingtosh systems that iMessage was working perfectly on.
Symptoms of these new issues include all contacts in iMessage displaying in red text, and at least two previously unseen alert messages. It does not effect everyone but it does appear to be effecting users of Gigabyte GA-Z77-UP5-TH motherboards, there are reports of the same issue's occurring on other hardware too.
If your new to iMessage and/or this is your first time visiting my guide then I would suggest that you carry on reading and start with Part-1 below, it details important basic information you need to know and understand in order to get iMessage working on any hackingtosh computer along with the more common issues seen, only move on to part-2 if you need to.
iMessage - Apple's cross-device, instant messaging system built into OSX (and IOS) is quite possibly the most finicky software element to get working correctly when OSX is running on non-Apple hardware. Having built and installed many hackingtosh systems.
As you will find, there are many different factors that can effect iMessage and stop it from working and I am quite sure that there are still more to be found, I will continue to update the guide as new solutions are found and confirmed.
I would suggest that you read through the entire guide first and digest each of the steps before making any changes to your system. I have tried to explain the reasons behind each issue and solution. I believe that its important to learn and understand how things work, anybody can upload a file and tell you what to do with it but nobody learns from that, some steps of the guide are critical, others are optional - this is made clear at each step of the guide.
It is best to think of this guide as a 'Tool Box' rather than a step by step guide, although i have tried to put the guide into a logical order, solving iMessage can be a nightmare but armed with the knowledge contained in Parts 1 and 2 of the guide you should be able to resolve most iMessage issues, I apologise for the length of the guide, however as you will find out there is a lot to cover.
Before you start make sure you've got an up-to-date TM or CCC backup, there is nothing here that should cause any problems, all the steps are relatively straight forward and easy to apply, just take your time and be sure to follow the instructions carefully. I am not responsible for any damage or loss of data you may incur by using this guide.
Important info for Apple RAID users
If your using Chameleon or Chimera as your boot loader and boot OSX from a Apple software RAID (or Fusion drive) then there is an added complication (this does not effect users of Clover in which case you can skip down to the next section).
To negate this complication you must clone your RAID volume to a standalone HDD using Carbon Copy Cloner or similar utility, install Chimera and modify the chameleon plist in /Extra so that you can boot OSX from this non RAID clone (be sure to remove Kernel Cache=Yes and the RAID uuid from the boot flags). Once booted from the clone HDD, apply the necessary steps from the guide to get iMessage working.
When your happy that everything is working ok, take a deep breath and delete your existing RAID set, it's also worth erasing the two RAID member drives just so you know that everything is fresh and makes for a good opportunity to update your boot loader, then re-create your RAID so a new RAID uuid is generated,
Now clone the standalone HDD back to the new RAID set, make the RAID bootable by installing the boot loader via the command line method to each of the RAID helper partitions and copy the entire /Extra folder to the two RAID helper partitions, be sure to edit the chameleon plist so that it boots using the new RAID uuid and Kernel Cache=Yes.
Its sounds a pain and it is, it's time consuming and carries a certain amount of risk but all OSX software RAID users should be familiar with this method as its how we get our RAID's woking in the first place, so if you think of it along those lines and it wont seem quite so daunting, just be sure to cover yourself with multiple backups if possible.
Warning: If you don't understand the above then please stop now, do some research and make yourself familiar with the way a OSX RAID is created and made bootable on a Hackingtosh system, you can use this guide as a starting point. Please be sure to read the additional RAID notes towards the end of the guide.
Step-1: Credit Cards and Verifying your AppleID
There are four different types of AppleID account:-
- Basic Verified
- Pro (Verified)
- Developer (Verified)
It doesn't matter what type of account you have or if your AppleID is registered as @me.com, @mac.com, @icloud.com or a non-Apple email address, if your going to use it with iMessage it must be verified and the easiest way of making your AppleID verified is to register a credit card against it.
You can check the 'Verified' status of your AppleID by logging into Apple's on-line Account manager :-
By registering a credit card against your Apple ID, Apple's servers and systems know that your AppleID has a verified name and address meaning, the main reason behind this is to stop people from creating false AppleID's and using them to send spam.
The most secure way to register a credit card against your AppleID is through iTunes or the App Store, do not use a web address in a browser, there have been several reports of fake AppleID phishing sites, most of these scams work via fake emails that contain a rouge link to a fake AppleID log-in page, the email usually asks you to confirm or update your AppleID, don't be fooled even if the address looks like it might reside on legit server.
Note: Some users have reported success at using their PayPal Account as a means of AppleID Verification and payment. I personally can not confirm this but there are positive posts on this thread that it works, if you do try this and it works for you then please post some feedback.
For veteran OSX users its possible that you have an old AppleID (@mac.com ..etc) which you haven't used for a while, but if it has a credit card registered against it that is still current then you could try using it to test iMessage.
If your AppleID already has a Verified status but you are still having trouble with iMessage login or authentication, you could try changing your AppleID password, this is one of the oldest tricks in the book for resolving iMessage login issues. It has also been reported that sometimes updating your account details (address ..etc) or purchasing something from the AppStore or iTunes (even a free item) can also revive iMessage functionality.
Do not be tempted to remove your credit card info once your account is verified, iMessage will stop working at some point if you do.
You should also be aware that once the credit card expires on your AppleID, you are given a grace period which seems to be around 30 days to register a new one. If you do not register a new, valid credit card within the grace period, iMessage will stop working.
Step-1 Summary: Your Apple ID must have a Verified status and a valid credit for iMessage to work.
Step-2: Network Interface BCD names.
I stumbled across this issue while helping out a good friend of mine to get iMessage working, one thing that was different for him was that iCloud and the App-Store were also not working despite having an otherwise perfect system with Internet and local LAN all working fine. We had identical hardware builds so after walking him through some of the other steps a few times, we started to dig a little deeper.
Open 'System Information' [About this MAC -> More Info -> System Report] and click on 'Ethernet Cards' , you should see a list of installed NIC's on your system, for each NIC you will see a list of parameters such as Type, Bus, VendorID, DeviceID ... etc
Look at the parameter called 'BSD name' for each of your network interfaces, they should be called 'en0', 'en1' ... etc
In our case we both had Gigabyte GA-Z77-UD5H motherboard's which have two built-in LAN ports, one is a Atherios LAN controller and the other is the Intel LAN controller built into the Z77 chipset, on my system the Intel port was named 'en0' and the Atherios port was 'en1'.
We tried removing the network devices in [System Preferences -> Network] and re-adding them, we un-plugged cables and moved things around and after what seemed like hours, we eventually were able to get the Intel port identified as 'en0' but after trying all the steps below again, iCloud would still not work.
It maybe possible to manually change the BSD names by editing the key <BSDname> in the following file:-
An easer solution is to delete the above file and reboot, OSX should re-discover your Network Interfaces and rebuild NetworkInterfaces.plist hopefully with the correct BSD names. If the BSD names are still not correct and you have add-on NIC's such as PCI or USB then you could try removing them first and let OSX assign the built-in NIC's first, then re-install your add-on NIC's
In our case we decided to re-install OSX and this time the Intel LAN port had a BSD Name of 'en0' and after applying Step-5c iMessage and iCloud worked fine..
Another way of checking your BCD names and NIC configuration is to use DPCIManager 1.5, which you can download from here:-
Once installed run it and make sure your on the 'Status' tab, the top part of the Status screen will identify all your network interfaces and display their BCD names, as explained above, the BCD names should start at 'en0', additionally the 'Builtin' check box next to each interface must be checked for iMessage to work on each of the detected network interfaces.
if you do have this key and string in your plist but the 'Built-in' check box is not ticked then click on the 'eye' icon for the appropriate interface (at the right hand side of each entry), you will be given an EFI string that you can add to your boot.chameleon.org.plist in /Extra, this string is required for correct iMessage operation, for most users the Boot-Loader will identify the correct EFI string and automatically inject it, however in some rare instances this does not work in which case you should manually inject the NIC(s) EFI string(s) identified by DPCIManager (if your using Clover boot-loader please see the clover documentation on how to inject EFI strings)Code:<key>EthernetBuiltIn</key> <string>Yes</string>
I'm still not entirely sure what the deal is with BSD names and iMessage, the only conclusion i can draw at the moment is that BSD names should start with 'en0' and be numbered sequentially for the number of NIC's in your system and each NIC should be identified as 'Built-in'. Additional NIC's such as USB devices should have BCD names that follow the on-board or PCI devices.
All of my hackingtosh builds are using 'en0' and 'en1' for the on-board ethernet NIC's, if you have both ethernet and WiFi like my trusty Sony Vaio-SE2 laptop hackingtosh, the LAN port should be assigned to 'en0' and the WiFi should be 'en1' (see above DPCIManager 'Status' screen grab).
I personally recommend that you get iMessage working on a wired interface before moving to WiFi, if your working on a new build its best to get everything else working via wired network then add/enable the WiFi interface. If you jump straight to the WiFi interface then you may experience odd BCD NIC naming.
There is a bit more information on the issue with BSD names and a possible way to avoid the problem in the future here.
Step-2 Summary: Network BSD names should be 'en0', 'en1' ... etc sequentially with no gaps.
Step-3: SMBIOS.plist, OSX S/N and Boot-loader
It is critical that you have a unique OSX Serial Number (S/N), the latest version of Multibeast should take care of this during installation when it creates the SMBIOS.plist file in/Extra, but as an added precaution I recommend running Chameleon Wizard to generate a new OSX S/N.
Important: Try to keep the number of times you change the OSX S/N to an absolute minimum as Apple can detect the change against your devices UUID and can block your device's UUID against your AppleID (See Part-2 of the guide for more details on this, you can override your SystemId (UUID) by means of the SId Bug fix). While resolving some iMessage issues like BCD names and fixing ID's i recommend going off line that way you avoid Apple's servers detecting any changes which could be flagged as a miss-match.
You should be aware that your S/N will change automatically if you alter the OSX System Type ID (eg form MAC Pro 3,1 to iMac 14,1) using Chameleon Wizard. The System Typeis also defined by the first two digits of the S/N and can be either 'CK' or 'CO'. When you use one of Chameleon Wizards pre-made SMBIOS's it will atomically change the first two digits of your S/N to the required 2 digit code.
I suspect that some users are manually editing the System Type in SMBIOS without changing the S/N if necessary, thus causing another form of S/N - UUID miss-match.
To change your OSX S/N open Chameleon Wizard and click on the 'SMBios' icon then 'Open' and navigate to the /Extra folder in the root of your startup disk and select your SMBIOS.plist.
Do not use someone else's OSX S/N it really isn't necessary and can cause a miss-match with your System Type and cause security issues. Stick to creating a S/N using the above method and you'll be fine.
Note: OSX RAID uses will have to mount the two RAID helper partition(s) to access the /Extra folders - see here.
Once your SMBIOS is loaded in the editor, I recommend using one of the pre-made SMBIOS's. Selecting a pre-made SMBIOS will automatically fill-in all the details and ensure that the 1st two digits of the S/N are correct for the system type you have selected (see Important note above).
Its very important that you match the System Type to the hardware you have for system stability and performance.
SMBIOS Desktop System Type Recommendations :-
- If using CPU earlier than Sandy Bridge use Mac Pro 3,1 <-- 11 Digit S/N ?
- if using Sandy bridge with Intel 6 series motherboards use Mac Pro 6,1 or iMac 13,1
- For Intel 77 chipset systems try iMac 13,1 or 13,2
- For Intel 87 chipset systems try iMac 13,1/2 or 14,1/2
- For Intel 79/89 chipset systems try Mac Pro 6,1
If you have a laptop or are not sure which System Type to use, download and install MAC Tracker ... compare the hardware of the various Apple Model types with the CPU and Motherboard chipset generation you are using, don't worry about the video type as you can override this using Boot-Loader options. Whats important is to try and match the CPU and Chipset as close as possible. OSX internal optimisations for Ivy & Haswell CPU based systems will only be activated if using the correct system Type ID (SMBIOS).
Once your happy with the Systems Type and selected the appropriate SMBIOS, click a few times on the two <Random> buttons to generate a new batch number and week of manufacture then click on 'Save', if you boot from a OSX RAID then use the 'Save As' button to save the updated SMBIOS.plist to the two raid helper partition(s) - see here.
If your using Chimera (or Chameleon) as your boot-loader then ensure that the core version is 2.2 or later, if not then download and install the latest version of Chimera from the downloads section of this website or use Chameleon Wizard to update your Boot-Loader before going any further.
OSX RAID users will need to manually install Chimera (or Chameleon) by extracting the '/usr/standalone/ i386' folder from the boot-loader install package (I use Pacifist) and then use terminal commands to install the boot-loader files on to your RAID helper partitions - see this guide if your not familiar with the procedure.
Time to switch to Clover ....
As of mid 2014 I recommend everyone take a look at using Clover as their boot-loader, it's been written from the ground up to work with newer hardware and addresses many of the problems that cause iMessage to fail when using Chimera or Chameleon. I know a lot of you may think it's more complex than the older boot-loaders that your used to but in reality it's not that much different and gives you far more control and solves so many problems especially for Raid and Fusion drive users (no more cloning to fix iMessage).
If you find that you have hardware that does not work with Clover try getting in-touch with the developers, they are keen and clover has nightly builds. I personally think Clover is the future for all of us, you just need to devote some time to it, i promise once you make the switch you'll never go back.
Step-3 Summary: You must have a unique OSX Serial No. and up-to-date OSX boot-loader.
Step-4: Remove existing iMessage data & configuration files
If you are starting with a clean OSX install then there is no need for you to perform this step so jump forward to Step 5, however if you have been trying to get iMessage to work for sometime then the chances are that the iMessage plists are full of invalid data and/or settings.
Ensure that you have ‘Show all Files’ or similar utility for displaying hidden files and folders in Finder.
You can download 'Show all Files' form the community section.
Enable ‘Show all Files’, start-up Finder and navigate to:-
Delete all files beginning with the following prefixes:-
Now navigate to:-
Delete all files beginning with the following prefixes:-
Now delete the folder:-
Note: This folder is your local message store, if you want to keep your existing messages make a backup of this folder before removing it, once i message is working you can restore the backup or recover it from a Time-machine backup.
You can switch off 'Show all Files' now.
You should not loose any messages or contacts by performing this action as both are stored in your iCloud account and should sync up again once iMessage is working correctly.
Update: Aug 2014
After a 'glitch' in Apples backend servers that occurred sometime around the 8th or 9th of August 2014 many users found that they were unable to reactivate iMessage despite following the above and the other tips in this guide.
If you have tried all the guides steps and iMessage is still not working then you could try the following:-
With 'Show all Files' enabled navigate to:-
Delete all files beginning with the following prefixes:-
This should be done in conjunction with all of Step-4 (remove all other iMessage plists)
Some users have found that they were unable to delete the security plists because they are being accessed by the security processes. If you find this is the case, open Activity Monitor and kill securityd_service, then securityd and try again (you may have to do this a few times before you can remove the plists)
Ensure you empty the trash before rebooting.
This optional step has been confirmed working by myself and several other users on this thread who were affected by this recent iMessage issue. Removal of these plists has not caused any additional side effects however as with all things Hackingtosh be sure you have a backup before you implement this fix. Any positive or negative feedback from applying this fix would be appreciated.
Step-5a: NVRAM - The Problem
On all genuine Apple Mac's, OSX stores some critical system keys and values in Non Volatile RAM rather than writing them to a config file or plist on your startup drive. The NVRAM is Apple bespoke hardware built into a MAC's system board and forms part of Apple's OSX authentication system, as such PC motherboards & laptops do not have this hardware.
iMessage stores several important key values in NVRAM some of these values form part of a long chain of crypto key's used by OSX for keeping content secure, an important factor in Apple's on-line eco system and one which iMessage relies on. If certain keys are not saved in NVRAM then the next time the system is powered off or re-booted iMessage may suffer from login and/or activation problems.
There has been much work done in the community to try and resolve this issue and the latest versions of Chameleon and Chimera include a fix that try's to maintain these critical values in OSX's NVRAM cache. However for reasons outside the scope of this guide it does not work reliably for everyone.
Step-5b: NVRAM - The Solution
Clover automatically builds a much more complete NVRAM cache at boot time, OSX reads nvram values from the cache rather than the slow Non Volatile RAM as such this negates most of the problems associated with not having the NVRAM hardware, please skip down to Section 5d.
Chameleon and Chimera Users:
Hackingtosh wizard xzenue has written a boot-loader module called 'FileNVRAM' that simulates Apple's Non Volatile RAM hardware through software emulation and store's the NVRAM keys and values in a plist called nvram.xxxxxxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxx.plist located in the /Extra folder of your OSX startup drive.
The nvram plist is automatically generated by the FileNVRAM module the first time it is initialised and allows OSX to maintain NVRAM keys and values through power cycles and reboots. Depending on your system type, additional OSX settings may be written to the simulated NVRAM such as brightness & volume levels.
You can check the content of OSX's NVRAM by starting a terminal window and typing 'nvram -x -p' and pressing return (do not include the quotes), the resulting output should list the current contents of the NVRAM, please note that many of the key values are encrypted or displayed as base64 values.
Step-5c: NVRAM - Installing FileNVRAM
For older systems (pre Chimera 2.6) download the attached file ‘modules.zip’ and extract it, the contents are a folder called 'modules' that has a single file in it named 'FileNVRam.dylib', copy the ‘modules’ folder and paste it in the ‘/Extra’ folder in the root of your startup drive
Important: Because of the way FileNVRAM works it must exist in /Extra/modules in the root of your OSX Start-Up Drive, if you boot using a USB key or from another drive the you need to address this before continuing. Normally this will involve using the stand-alone installer for your chosen boot-loader and install it on you OSX drive - RAID and Fusion drive users may have to use the terminal method to install the boot-loader - see both sections of the guide that deal specifically on Raid (Fusion) drives.
Remember you only need to install FileNVRAM if your using Chameleon or Chimera, if your using Clover as your boot loader then you should skip down to the next step.
For Systems that already have a 'modules' folder in /Extra then download the additional attached zip file that contains both versions of FileNVRAM (V1.1.2 & 1.1.3) and use the required version (see note 4 below)
Important notes about installing NVFileRAM:-
1. More recent versions of Multibeast now create the 'modules' folder in /Extra and place other '.dylib' files inside it, if you already have a 'modules' folder then just merge the contents of the attachment with the existing folder.
2. If you use the tip to move the /Extra folder and boot-loader files to the unused EFI partition then the chances are that FileNVRAM will not work for long, it is similar to the issue that effects RAID users in that once OSX is booted the EFI partition is unmounted so OSX no longer has access to the nvram.uuid.plist. To resolve this issue move the /Extra folder to the root of your startup drive and reinstall Chameleon or Chimera to the default location on the same drive, then use Disk Utility to erase the EFI partition (you will have to mount it first). This will not work for RAID or Fusion Drive systems. You could also try using EFI Mounter which is available in the Community Downloads sections of this site, This utility ensures that the EFI partition is mounted once OSX is booted which should allow FileNVRAM to function normally.
3. In addition to having a unique OSX S/N (see Step-3) you must also have a unique OSX platform UUID, this is anther unique system identity and is normally generated by OSX via a key passed from the BIOS called 'SystemID'.
In April 2014, Apple implemented new checks on their severs to make sure all iMessage packets are authenticated, these new checks ultimately led to the discovery of the "SId Bug" in the BIOS of some motherboard's which can cause a hackingtosh to have an invalid or duplicated platform UUID because 'SystemId' is not initialised correctly.
Since FileNVRAM also needs to use the value of 'SystemId' it is important to make sure your BIOS does not suffer from the 'SId Bug' so now is a good time to jump over to Part-2 of the guide and check to see if your BIOS is effected by it and apply the fix if necessary.
4. The version of FileNVRam.dynib included in the modules attachment of this guide is V1.1.2 this version is recommend for all Chimera Versions up-to 2.2.1. If you are using Chimera Version 3.0 or later then TonyMacx86 recommends that you use version 1.1.3 of FileNVRAM which you can download directly from this link, download and unzip the archive, you only need the file called 'FileNVRAM.dylib' copy and paste it in the /Extra/modules folder, delete the old version first if already there - alternatively download the attached archive which contains both version of FileNVRAM and replace your exsisting version with the correct one.
A small number of users have encountered issues with Chimera Version 3+ and have either stuck with FileNVRAM V1.1.2 or backed out Chimera to version 2.2.1 and FileNVRAM V1.1.2 this seems to effect some users running OSX 10.8 x (Mountain Lion). If your running Mavericks then use the latest versions of Chimera and FileNVRAM.
Please note that if you have recently updated to Chimera V3.0 or later and are injecting 'SystemId' in order to negate the SId bug then you must use the SMBIOS injection method, please see Part-2 (Step-7, Path B) for more info if you have not already done this.
Step-5 Summary: If using Chimera or Chameleon you must have FileNVRAM installed in /Extra/modules.
Step-5d: NVRAM - MLB & ROM Values
Two vital values stored in NVRAM that iMessage uses when registering on Apples servers are MLB (Mac Logic Board) and ROM data values. If these values are not correct then the mechanism for storing/injecting these values at boot time is not working correctly.
Dumping the NVRAM values using the terminal command 'NVRAM -x -p' will display the values encoded in base64, you can use an on-line base64 converter to convert the <data> values to a readable string value, i use this one:-
Which can convert in both directions ...
A easer way to check these values is to use the attached terminal utility 'iMessage Debug'
Note to Clover Users: i'm not sure if iMessage Debug will work if your using Clover so you may have to find another method to dump the MLB & ROM values, try it first, you got nothing to loose, if it does not work you can use Darwin Dumper as an alternative.
To use iMessage Debug download the attachment at the end of Part-1 and extract, there is no install required, simply double click on it in Finder to run it. It will dump all of the critical iMessage values from the NVRAM Cache including Platform UUID, S/N .. etc in a readable form.
The MLB and ROM values will be prefixed by a UUID and will look something like this:-
If the values (xxx..) following these prefixes are incorrect, such as all zeros or blank then iMessage will have issues. Note that this UUID prefix should not and must not be the same as SM-UUID or Hardware (Platform) UUID.
The MLB value is normally made up of your OSX serial number plus additional alpha/numeric values to make it 17 characters in length (note some OSX Serial numbers are 11 digits not 12, i'm not sure if this results in a MLB of 16 digits or 17 digits, if anyone can confirm this please post feedback)
The ROM Value is a heated discussion on many OSX Hackingtosh forums, some people think on a real Mac it is the MAC address of the firewire port, others believe that iMessage will only work if it is a cloned value form a real Apple Mac. The truth is that it has to be unique and 6 bytes long (12 Hexadecimal numbers), since a Network MAC address is 6 bytes and unique its as good a value to use as any.
In addition to having valid values for MLB and ROM it is vital that these values are also persistent between shutdowns and reboots, as already discussed in the guide if these NVRAM values are not maintained either by Clover or FileNVRAM then the boot-loader will generate new random values on each boot.
Whilst iMessage may continue to work for a while, if you have to log back in for any reason then Apples systems will detect the change in these values and will disable iMessage it's also possible that a lockout may be placed on your device against your AppleID, this is part of Apples backend security checks to stop hackers from cloning OSX system identities either for sending spam or downloading your iCloud data.
Checking for persistent nvram values is easy, simply run iMessage Debug and make a note of the MLB and ROM values or take a screen dump of the terminal window then shutdown the computer.
Power back up and re-run iMessage Debug, if your boot-loader and FileNVRAM are working correctly together then the MLB and ROM values will be the same as before.
If you have invalid MLB and/or ROM values or the values are changing on each boot-up then you must address this issue before going any further, whist working on these types of issues I recommend keeping disconnected from all Apple iCloud services, do not try to login until your happy that everything is correct.
- If your not using Clover as your boot-loader then the issue could be compatibility between the boot-loader and FileNVRAM version you are using, it seems that certain combinations of Hardware with Chimera/Chameleon -> File NVRAM -> OSX do not play nice together and can cause issues with nvram values not being persistent. There is no official explanation for this but I suspect that the SMBIOS memory allocation tables within the boot-loader could be the problem.
Try different versions of FileNVRAM and/or Chimera/Chameleon. If your using Chimera try switching to Chameleon. I've had good success getting persistent values using Chameleon r2283 with FileNVRAM 1.1.3.
I recommend using Chameleon Wizard version 4.4.1 or later to install different versions of Chameleon - on the 'Install page' use the drop down to select the Chameleon revision (r2283) and set the install method to 'Update' ensure you check the box 'Install more boot-loader files' then click on the 'Install' button. You can easily switch between different versions of Chameleon using this method, to switch back to Chimera run the appropriate standalone installer. Some of your boot options may need adjustment to get optimum performance and full GPU support.
- There have been reports that UEFI can cause problems on some systems, if you have the option available and are not running Windows 8 in UEFI mode then disable all the UEFI options in the BIOS (use legacy boot options).
- Chimera and Chameleon can have issues with FileNVRAM if too many 'dylib' files are in the modules folder, try removing some or all of the other dylib files and see if that helps.
- It has also been reported that ACPICodec.dylib will cause problems with FileNVRAM, if it exists in your modules folder if it exists remove it.
- Ensure that all files in the modules folder are .dylib files, if any other files are in the modules folder remove them, it has been reported that the Boot-Loader will try to load any file as a module even if it does not have a .dylib suffix, which could abort the initialisation process.
- Try updating your BIOS, whist not directly related to MLB and ROM values it has been seen that it can help FileNVRAM initialise the SM-UUID correctly which has been seen to help some users who's UUID in the nvram.uuid.plist is not correct despite the SM-UUID being correct in the registry. Please be aware that updating your BIOS can have a knock-on effect if your using a DSDT in which case you may need to rebuild your DSDT.
- If you are using Chimera or Chameleon boot-loader but are running a version of OSX earlier than OSX 10.9.x then you could consider updating to Mavericks - there have been a few reports that some users were not able to get the MLB and ROM values persistent until they updated to Mavericks, this is not something I can not confirm as i've not personally experienced it however given the tight interaction of Hardware -> BIOS -> Boot-Loader -> FileNVRAM -> OSX it would not surprise me that some combinations would suffer ...
- If you continue to have issues with MLB and ROM values then it could be time to replace your boot-loader with Clover which has far superior support for injecting SMBIOS values including SM-UUID, MLB and ROM at boot time - (see below). I consider Clover the future for OSX hackingtosh systems and although it is a more complex install and setup procedure its well worth the effort especially with OSX 10.10 on the near horizon. Personally I find it easer to install OSX using unibeast and then Install Clover as the boot-Loader or you could try Tony's guide here. I find it easer to installer Multibeast 6.2.2 Audio rather than using Clovers kext patching method. Once you got a basic system running search the forums for CPU & GPU optimisations.
- If you use any of the above suggestions I recommend re-applying steps 4 and 5e before rebooting.
Manual Injection of MLB & ROM values
If you can not resolve the issue of the boot-loader generating valid MLB and ROM values it is possible to manually inject new values directly into NVRAM, however I consider this a work around for the whole BIOS -> NVRAM -> Boot-Loader mechanism not working correctly and I personally think that it is better to try and fix the source of the issue rather than to work around it.
Important: You will find many posts on this and other forums quoting real Apple Mac MLB and ROM values that are supposed to work. I strongly advise against using these shared/leeched values. Apple is getting more wise to cloned id's and you may find that by using such values you will loose the ability to associate other Apple devices with your AppleID and you may even be locked out of your account if too many people use the same MLB and/or ROM values. By using someone else MLB and ROM values you are effectively cloning/spoofing someone else system on Apples iMessage servers which cant be good for them or for you from a security point of view.
With that said, many users have had success re activating iMessage by manually injecting new unique MLB and ROM values:-
For the MLB value use your OSX S/N + random alpha/numeric values to make 17 digits long.
For the ROM value use a MAC address of a network port (ethernet is best), an easy way to do this is to open 'System Preferences', click on 'Network' and select a Ethernet port (any will do) from the list of available network devices. Now click on the 'Advanced' button and then select the 'Hardware' tab, make a note of the MAC address, it will be 6 bytes ( 6 x 2 Hexadecimal numbers) each separated by a colon.
Method for Chameleon & Chimera Users:
To inject new nvram values open terminal and use the following commands :-In each case, replace 'xxxxx' with the appropriate value and be sure to always use the same prefix UUID as displayed via iMessage Debug (normally 4D1EDE05-38C7-4A6A-9CC6-4BCCA8B38C14)Code:sudo nvram 4D1EDE05-38C7-4A6A-9CC6-4BCCA8B38C14:MLB=xxxxxxxxxxx sudo nvram 4D1EDE05-38C7-4A6A-9CC6-4BCCA8B38C14:ROM=xxxxxxxxx
When injecting the ROM value place a '%' in front of each byte, Example:-
Ethernet MAC address = 23:f4:e7:65:4a:44
To inject it as a ROM value execute:Important: FileNVRAM must be installed and working correctly in order for OSX to remember the new MLB and ROM values after a power down or reboot (Chimera & Chameleon only)Code:sudo nvram 4D1EDE05-38C7-4A6A-9CC6-4BCCA8B38C14:ROM=%23%f4%e7%65%4a%44
After changing the MLB and/or ROM values, run iMessage Debug again and check the change, then reboot the computer and run iMessage Debug again, ensure the the new values are persistent, if they are not try the suggestions above. If ROM and MLB are not the same on each boot you will continue to have iMessage issues.
Method for CLOVER Users:
If you are using Clover as your boot-loader then the fix is real easy. Simply use the latest version of Clover Configurator which you can download from here:
Once downloaded and installed run it and click on 'Rt Variables' on the left selection plane and enter the values for MLB and ROM (see above) in the appropriate fields.
Alternatively if you don't use Clover Configurator (which I highly recommend for simplicity) you can open Clover's config.plist in TextWrangler or similar and find the the 'RtVariables' section, add the following keys and values if you don't have a RtVarables section then add all of the following:-
Credits: iMessage Debug was originally created by @ElNono based on the iMessage login research done by @tflux back in September 2013 a big thank you goes out to those guys.Code:<key>RtVariables</key> <dict> <key>MLB</key> <string>XXXXXXXXXX</string> <key>ROM</key> <data>YYYYYYYYYYY</data> </dict>
iMessage Debug not Working: There are quite a few versions of iMessage Debug floating around on GitHub. Since it is a terminal framework utility the version attached to this guide may not work on versions of OSX older than Mavericks or ML, if it does not work for you try finding an alternate version or downloading a source file and compile it on your own system or you can use Darwin Dumper as an alternative.
Step-5e: NVRAM - Plist Reset/Rebuild (Chimera & Chameleon)
Sometimes the key data stored within FileNVRAM's plist can get out of sync, for instance if you change your OSX S/N the MLB value in NVRAM may not match the new one. There are multiple reasons for resetting FileNVRAM plist.
I recommend resetting the NVRAM plist when ever you change anything to do with the system identities (UUID, S/N, System Type .. etc) or after using step 4 of the guide. I tend to do this all the time when working on fixing iMessage.
Because FileNVRAM's job is to keep the nvram.uuid.plist in /Extra updated at all-times - on some systems the file can be recreated during a OSX shutdown in which case it may not pick up changes to certain SMBIOS parameters. So we need to temporally disable FileNVRAM - this updated fail-safe method will ensure that you always get an entirely new uuid.nvram.plist.
- Disconnect from Internet
- Copy FileNVRAM.dylib from /Extra/modules to your Desktop
- Remove FileNVRAM.dylib from the /Extra/modules
- Remove all nvram.uuid.plist's and empty the Trash
- Ensure that there are no nvram.uuid.plist's in /Extra.
- Make any necessary changes to SMBIOS
- Copy FileNVRAM.dynlib from your Desktop back to /Extra/modules
- Open a terminal window and execute the following command:-This console command clears the value of the 'boot-args' key stored in the OSX NVRAM cache which can sometimes interfere with creating a new 'nvram.uuid.plist' file in /Extra if set.Code:sudo nvram boot-args=""
- Check that a new nvram.uuid.plist has been recreated in /Extra
- Check uuid in filename matches (IORegistry: IODeviceTree : efi / platform / system-id)
- Check MLB & ROM using iMessage Debug
- You may have to re-inject your ROM value if so inject it and reboot, check again
- If all looks well reconnect to the Internet
Step-6: Time to Try iMessage
After applying any of the steps from Part-1 and/or Part-2 of the guide, and before trying iMessage I would recommend running Disk Utility and repair permissions on your startup disk, this is optional but a worth while step.
Now reboot your system ....
If you installed or updated Chameleon (or Chimera) then its best to pause the boot process the first time round and check that you have the correct version installed, press the <Tab> key to switch to text mode while still in the boot-loader, the version will be displayed at the top, it needs to be 2.2 or later.
If all is well, let OSX load ...
Once booted, open Finder and check that 'nvram.uuid.plist' has been created in /Extra, if not then something is wrong with your install, recheck everything.
If nvram.uuid.plist is present in /Extra and it has a valid 'SystemId' for 'UUID' in the filename (as detailed in Part-2 ) then its time to give iMessage a go, hopefully it will now work.
If things don't work the first time do not give up, sometimes you may need to repeat a step or perform a step that you skipped the first time round, be sure to read all of the notes.
Observations and Credit
I've successfully used all of the above steps in various combinations to get iMessage working on OSX Mountain Lion 10.8.4/5 and Mavericks 10.9.0/1/2/3 on a multitude of hackingtosh systems. Please post your success or fail stories to this thread and if it did work for you please click on the 'Recommended' tab at the very top of this post to help others find it.
Special thanks to xzenue for creating the FileNVRAM fix.
Further notes for RAID Users
As detailed at the start of Part-1, if you boot OSX from a software raid then unfortunately it causes a problem for FileNVRAM. Because the boot loader has to be accessible outside of OSX (a software raid can only work once the kernel is up and running) the boot-loader and /Extra folder must reside on the raid helper partition(s), unfortunately the raid helper partition(s) are unmounted once OSX starts up, thus FileNVRAM is unable to access the /Extra folder which means that the contents of nvram.uuid.plist can not be updated.
You can use the RAID clone method detailed at the start of the guide to get iMessage working initially but if you ever get logged out of iMessage for any reason then you will need to repeat the clone procedure so that the NVRAM cache, nvram.uuid.plist and the iMessage plists can get updated with new keys and data.
Once you have re-cloned the volume back to your raid you need to copy the new nvram.uuid.plist to the /Extra folder on both the raid helper partitions (be sure to delete the old ones first), it is not necessary to blow away the raid on a re-clone but copying the nvram plist on its own will not work, you have to clone the whole drive back to the raid as-well.
I'm sure that there must be a better way like updating some OSX configuration files with keys or UUID's, but as yet i have not found one, if anybody else finds a better solution to resolve the raid issue with FileNVRAM please post.. I have a RAID 0 on my primary OSX development system and come against this problem from time to time.
Update: I have reported this issue to the developers of FileNVRAM and suggested a possible work around, once we have a better solution for Raid users I will update the guide. Please see this Link for the problem & enhancement request.
In order or for iMessage to work on a Hackingtosh computer the following must all be true.
- You should have a valid credit card registered against your Apple ID - See Step 1.
- Your AppleID must have a verified status - See Step 1.
- NIC BSD names should start at en0 and be sequentially named with no gaps - See Step 2.
- NIC being used to access the Internet must have a 'Built-in' status - See Step 2.
- You must have a unique OSX S/N and up to date boot-loader - See Step 3.
- The first 2 digits of the S/N must match the the System Type ID - See Step-3.
- You should have the correct version of FileNVRAM.dylib in '/Extra/modules' - See Step - 5.
Help - It Still Doesn't Work ?
Whilst this guide should work for the majority of you there are a few more odd situations that can still cause iMessages to fail. First if you haven't already done so, you should read through Part-2 of the guide below and check that you have a unique BIOS SystemId and OSX platform UUID, make sure your not effected by the SId Bug,
Sometimes it is necessary to try some of the above steps more than once, iMessage is very very fussy, so much so that sometimes the order of the things you do can effect the out come, the order given is the guide is a logical one for a system that has just had OSX installed with no prior knowledge of iMessage fixes.
There is a basic set of requirements (see Part-1 Summary above) that must be met for iMessage to work on a Hackingtosh, if these requirements are met then iMessage should work. Thats why I've tried to write this guide as a tool box of procedures (steps) for you to use in resolving iMessage issues, just about everyone will have a different set of issues requiring the use of different 'tools', no one step can cover all the issues.
If you understand the problems then you learn and can give feedback which helps everyone.
iMessage can be very frustrating and can take a lot of time to fix, there are countless tips on hundreds of forum sites all over the internet, some are useful, some are not, many just tell you to do something without any real understanding of what the issue is and thats not good for the community...blind leading the blind.
If you continue to have issues, try searching this thread - its possible that someone has already found a solution to your issue, one suggestion that keeps coming up is to use a real MAC to reinitialise the effected AppleID, although I can not personally confirm this suggestion, it does seem to have helped others but like so many tips out there it could also be coincidence as this also works when using another Hackingtosh to reinitialise an AppleID as discussed in Step-1.
Finally I'll end this part of the guide by stating that Apple are constantly evolving and updating their on-line eco and message systems with new features and security measures, as such do not be surprised if we see new and even stranger issues with iMessage in the future. If you think you've encountered a new iMessage issue please post to this thread with as much info as you can, including screen shots of any alerts and/or console log snippets and i'll try to help.
Thanks for reading & good luck.