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iSight : Using iSight with iChat AV

As mentioned in the Title box - there are pages that were written a little while ago by EZ Jim, a poster on the Apple Discussions who contributed to iSight and iChat Discussions. The words the following pages are EZ Jim's

Use the the Information Column Menu for EZ Jim's pages

Using iSight with iChat AV

iChat AV (audio / video) is Apple's instant messenger application. You can find a good overview of iChat AV at Apple's Mac 101, Lesson 11: iChat AV.

iSight is integrated into Mac OS X and designed to be plug-and-play with your Apple iSight. If you believe your iSight is not working, test it with the suggestions in the How To Ensure Your iSight Is Functional topic.

If you have access to other hardware, another simple test is to try your iSight on a different Mac to see if your iSight has the problem there, too. Also, if you can get another iSight, try that on YOUR Mac to see whether your Mac acts the same way with a different iSight. If you do not have two Macs or two iSights, perhaps you have a friend or family member who does? If not, your local Apple Service Technician can test iSight for you. Then you can be certain whether the cause of your problem is your iSight.

If your iSight does not function and you cannot find help in these iSight topics, you may be able to quickly find an answer by searching existing posts in Apple's iSight Discussions. If you cannot find help that way, post a new topic in iSight Discussions with details of your problem and what you have done to try to resolve it. (Telling what you have done keeps us from recommending things you have already tried). We will be happy to try to give more specific help based on your specific information.

Problems with more than one application or Finder operation indicate your Mac needs work before you try these iChat AV suggestions. You may find some helpful ideas in Mac OS X maintenance or How I Update My Mac OS X.

If your iSight is not your problem but you cannot get A/V messaging or conferencing started, and if you are not having other problems with your Mac, launch iChat AV on your Mac and use the iChat > Help > iChat Help menu choice for help.

Some users need more help than is available in iChat Help on their Macs. For most of us, iChat AV chat is easy to use. For many, it is plug-and-play. However, there is a wide variety of computer systems, internet service, and internet communications connections in existence. Some users must do more configuration.

Moreover, Mac to Mac video is easier than Mac to PC. If you are having difficulty, I suggest you get iChat AV working reliably for Mac to Mac video before you try Mac Video Chat with PCs.

The inability to connect iChat AV is just a symptom of an underlying problem. After reviewing your Mac's iChat Help and the troubleshooting ideas in the iChat AV topics here, if you still cannot make an iChat AV connection, try the relevant suggestions in Ralph Johns' GREAT iChat Personal Web Pages. (You may want to bookmark Ralph's entire site as a primary iChat AV reference.)


Both you and the chat buddy you are trying to contact should test with others to be more certain of which end of the connection is the problem. See this list of Buddy Names for iChat Test for contact info on testers.

If you can connect with most, but not with one or two buddies, you may have the Can not connect to a certain Buddy problem. Try Ralph's suggestions. (You may have to scroll down to get to the "Certain Buddy" part.)

If you cannot connect with anyone, check your internet service, connection, and Check your Broadband Speed. Do other applications that connect to the internet work?

If you are still having trouble, I suggest you turn your Mac OS X Firewall "Off" and take ALL your wireless equipment, routers, firewalls, and any other internet connected devices like VOIP or game boxes out of the loop. Then connect your Mac directly to your modem (or other Mac for Rendezvous or Bonjour messaging) via Ethernet cable and run directly wired until you get your iChat AV connection working.

If your modem connects via telephone cable or USB, that may well be your problem. Be sure you have adequate broadband service. Then, if you are using a USB broadband modem, get a broadband modem that connects via Ethernet and try again.

Once you get iChat AV working reliably, you can try turning your OS X Firewall back on. If video chat still works, reconnect your necessary additional equipment, one item at a time, to see whether the problem returns. If adding one item back makes the problem reappear, remove the item again and reinstall it again to be SURE that this specific problem/fix is repeatable. Then you will KNOW that individual component is at least one of your problems. Leaving the newly tested item disconnected for the remainder of the test, repeat this process for EACH additional removed component, ALWAYS one item at a time. When finished, you will know every component that is a problem.

When you have identified EVERY problem item in the communications loop, you can apply the info from your equipment's documentation or customer support sites or the above links to fix the problem.

If your firewall or routers are giving you trouble and you need additional help configuring ports, see Ralph Johns' "Setting Up Your Router" and "Eliminating Problem areas" sections. If you are one of the users who must configure your Mac OS X Firewall ports to enable video chat, (not everyone does,) these same ports apply there, too.

If you have a laptop, it is particularly simple to try to connect from another ISP locations (internet cafes, university, work, libraries, hotels, or other places that offer internet access). That will let you know whether your problem is related to your ISP service or connection.

If you are using Tiger (Mac OS X 10.4.x) and iChat AV 3, you can also try the suggestions in Help for iChat AV 3 Problems.

If these suggestions do not help you resolve your iChat AV connection problem, post a new question in Apple's iChat AV Discussions. To give you the best help, we need information about your system, ISP, internet connection. Additionally, it will be helpful if you provide the same info for the buddy with whom you cannot connect.

Post as much as possible of the information requested in the the When do I Post a New iChat Topic ? FAQ, starting about half way down the page.

By my count, the list requests 20 items of information. (You may even find the problem in the process of gathering that info). We will be happy to try to provide more focused suggestions in response to the specific information you post in iChat AV Discussions.


Written By EZ Jim

Made on Mac
Made on a Mac®

© 2005, 2006 EZ Jim
Updated September 2006

© 2005 Ralph Johns: Edited 24/9/2005, 5/5/2006
Updated September 2006. Moved to Gargoyles Mar 2007

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