Ralph Johns

iChat Information Pages


Pacifist and iChat

What to do When Things go Drastically Wrong.

This page was constructed with Information Posted in the Apple Discussions iChat FAQs by Ryan M.
iChat 3
For iChat 3 see lower down the page. You will have to use the information in the top section and transpose it for the Tiger version if you want to reinstall the InstantMessage.framework or VideoConference.framework folders. Please Note that InstantMessage.framework folder belongs in a different place in Tiger.

See also the Preperation Work in the column on the right. Also read the Very Bottom panel

Areas Covered

Essentially this page is a collection of how to Reisntall iChat at the various OS Levels

Regular Posters on the Apple Discussion pages tend to get awarded Points (currently linked to Solved and Helpful Stars that the original Poster of a Thread can give them). The points allow Poster to get to various Levels. At Level 2 a Poster can Write and Submit a Users Tip - The information here is based on what has become such tips written by a poster called Ryan M.

Between iChat 2 and iChat 3 and of course the relevant OS version involved the position within the OS of one of the support files has changed as well as the type of Install Disk you have hence the different Versions here.

Preparation work

Other than the app just not working you can do a few checks to confirm this as the likely action:-

  1. Go to Applications/Utilities and open Console.
  2. Use the icon top left to display the list of Logs
  3. Check both the Console and System Log for references to the InstantMessage.framework (for iChat 2) and iChat in general.

You can also start iChat using Terminal and make it display a log of what it is doing as it does it.

  1. Go to Applications/Utilities and open Terminal
  2. At the welcome to Darwin message copy and paste this line of Bold text
  3. /Applications/iChat.app/Contents/MacOS/iChat -errorLogLevel 7
  4. Hit enter and and it will try to start iChat and create a log
  5. If it fails then just quit Terminal after copying the log you did get to a TextEdit or word processor app.
  6. If IChat Launches and you get a Log Quit iChat in the normal way then Copy the Log and then Quit Terminal

What the log may mean

In iChat 2 a common Log would end with Broken Pipe which means iChat App can not find or connect properly to the support folders hence the need to Reinstall tham as well. This is common with some Smiley Packs.

The Log should list which HardwareRules.plist it is using and this should be the one for the type of Mac you have.

A bit further down it will list the Quicktime Streaming speed it is reading from System Preferences > Quicktime > Streaming tab (Or Connection Speed tab if using Quicktime 6). It should show 1500 if you have set the Quicktime setting. It will also list the Connection Speed it can see (in bytes rather than kilobytes)

There are likely to be several repeats of of looking for the Camera and Mic.

Depending on whether iChat launched this way successfuly or not you may get an error message. BCT trap is common in iChat 3 and tends to mean the same as the iChat 2 Broken Pipe.

If IChat launches this way but not from the DOCK check the App is in the Applications Folder. If it is, check it will launch from there directly. If it does do the following.

  1. Drag the current icon Off the DOCK and let go (you should get the Little Puff of Smoke)
  2. Now drag iChat back to the DOCK from the Applications Folder. The OS will do some magic and recreate the Icon which is in fact a Link to the app which does not actually move.

If it does not launch from the Applications folder and you have done an Archive and Install recently then Click and Hold the icon in the DOCK and use the Show in Finder option. This will launch the folder window of where the app is. In later OSes you can Right Click (Control Click) the title of the Window to see the path. You may find it is actually in an Applications folder that is in a folder called Previous Systems. You will need then to check if you have two copies (one in Each Applications Folder).

At this point it pays to run the last Combo Update Install for the OS you are on. See this Link for a List There are buttons across the top of the center panel to order the list. I use "Most Recent". This does mean Panther is a long way down (more pages). In fact Tiger ones are further back as well now. Keep the .dmg afterwards as you are going to need it in iChat 3 or 4 Reinstalls.

Note:- OS 10.5 (Leopard) updates work on PPC and Intel computers. 10.4 (Tiger) Updates are split into PPC ones and Intel ones (there are no Intel Updates for Panther (10.3.x)

A Combo install updates everything from the base OS level (say 10.3.0) to the point of the Combo (say 10.3.5) where as the updates for the in-between stages (10.3.1 to 10.3.2 for instance) only update what changed. Hence "Doing the Combo" can sort out many hard to pin down faults and is valuable First Step.

Also look at doing basic Maintenance. The UNIX base of OS X is designed to be run 24/7 and has things in the OS that update the Log files and do background maintenace on Daily, Weekly and Monthly basis. Pre Leopard this could mean that if you didn't run your computer 24/7 it does not run these (they are called Cron Scripts). See this FAQ at Apple for more info. See also the EZJim section page on iChat 3

Note: MacJanitor from that link does not work in Leopard but is a good One Horse utility for earlier OSes. OynX's site has different versions for the different OSes. Cocktail and OynX that are listed do other tasks as well.


Run the Combo Update Installer
Do some Maintenance including Running the Cron Sripts
Check the Console Logs
Check if the app launches from the Application Folder directly and if you have two copies (and the DOCK icon links to the "right" one)
Run the Terminal Log creation

Proceed with the rest of the page

iChat and it's Support Folders

iChat is actually made up of three main parts.

  1. The application itself which should be in the Applications folder
  2. Two support Folders
    1. InstantMessage.framework
    2. VideoConference.framework

The position of the two Framework folders varies between where they are in Panther(10.3.x) with iChat 2 and later versions.

It should also be noted that the iChat 4 versions although in the same place as the Tiger (10.4.x)/iChat 3 ones are not compatible with Leopard (10.5.x) - so iChat 4 will not run on Tiger and iChat 3 will not run on Leopard.


This is a much needed part of this Reinstall particularly for Panther and iChat 2 and in later version if you have to reinstall the Support folders (reinstalling the App has a Quick way in Tiger and above).

It is a Utility that can read/open Apple Install Packages and show you the various parts and Install from there rather than running the Whole Install procedure (Installing the OS and all the apps that came with your Mac)

I have a picture of the main window, the open working interface with the Package I was opening floating over the top here on Flickr to give you an idea (it was an iWeb Update in this case) of what it looks like.

The icon below is also a Link.

Pacifist With iChat 2

What you can do if you need to re-install iChat ver 2.0 from your Panther install disks.

Ok. You have played about with iChat. You have been to the Apple Discussion Pages for iChat but it still does not work properly. You have been to the Trouble Shooting page within this web site but there is no fix. The answer is to reinstall the Application. The main cause was or is Installing incompatible Smilie packs. The actual pictures involved get stored in the Application Package but what makes them work is in the InstantMessage.framework

If you need to reinstall the InstantMessage.framework folder that contains iChatAgent or the Smilies you will need slightly different locations of the required folder to those listed first.

Pacifist is a utility used for extracting install disk files. Here are the instruction if you need to reinstall iChat version 2 from the Panther install disks.

Thanks to Ryan M, who posted this on the Apple Discussion Pages. It is now also an FAQ in the Apple iChat FAQs. Ryan has expanded the FAQ to include which type of Panther disks you have (this version and the one at Apple are now different but I have kept this one for the Support Folder Info.) You need Pacifist (link below) and your Panther Install disks handy.

Download Pacifist

Instructions for Application Reinstall

Use this when the iChat Application does not launch properly and there are "Broken Pipe" messages reported when you force iChat to run in the Terminal application.

Put in Install Disk 1 into the CD-ROM drive.

When it loads, hit the "Open Mac OS X Install Packages" on Pacifist.
It later prompts to insert Disk 2, and then Disk 3.
Follow directions.
After that, it asks once more for Disk 1. So, insert it again.
Then a window opens up.

Go to the following directory:
Contents of OSInstall.mpkg
Contents of EssentialSystemSoftware.mpkg
Contents of Essentials.pkg
Then you can either install or extract to the place you want it on your computer.

Instructions For InstantMessage.framework folder

Use this when having problems with Add-On smilie packs or corrupt InstantMessage.framework errors reported in the Console logs.

Ok, using the same method you used to reinstall iChat with Pacifist, here's how to reinstall the InstantMessage.framework folder.

Once the discs are loaded into Pacifist,
navigate to Contents of
OSInstall.mpkg/Contents of EssentialSystemSoftware.mpkg/Contents of BaseSystem.pkg/Contents of Essentials.pkg/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/InstantMessage.framework.
NOTE: The bold text above is all one path to the folder concerned but as you will see from my linked picture above they will shows as folders.

Move this file to your /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks folder.

At this point it will be worth while Repairing Permissions and deleting the .plists for iChat before restarting it.

Repeat For VideoConference.framework folder

Repeat the above instructions for the folder VideoConference.framework

And now for the iChat 3 version

iChat 3

iChat 3 and Pacifist

Firstly iChat 3 does not place the InstantMessage.framework folder in the same place as it is in iChat 2.x.

It is in System/Library/Frameworks instead.

VideoConference.framework is in the same place on the hard drive as it was in Pather/iChat2.x (System/Library/PrivateFrameworks)

Once again Ryan M. has posted an FAQ: How do I reinstall iChatAV 3.x? on this subject.

For those who do not want to lose their place on these pages:

This is for the Tiger upgrade discs only. To reinstall iChatAV 2.x on Panther, see this FAQ: for iChat 2.x
(This is the Apple Dicussions link to the iChat 2 version above).

How do I reinstall iChatAV 3.x?

This is for the Tiger upgrade discs only. To reinstall iChatAV 2.x on Panther, see this FAQ.

The Easy Way:
Insert your Tiger DVD into your drive. Once the DVD loads, open the "Optional Installs" package. Click through until you get the option of choosing what you'd like to install. Under the "Applications" drop down menu in the panel of software to install, simply choose iChatAV (only) and let the installer do the work. Next, scroll down to "Possible Problems" below.

The Hard Way:
Download Pacifist. Insert the Tiger install DVD into the drive and open Pacifist. Click the "Open Mac OS X Install Packages" button on Pacifist. This will load the DVD.

Once the DVD has loaded, there is a list of the contents from the DVD. Navigate to:
Contents of OS Install/Contents of iChat/Applications/ .
This is where iChat.app is located and what will need to be extracted/installed to your computer. Alternatively, you may perform a search on the directory listing with 'iChat.'

Once the iChatAV application is found, highlight/select it and extract it to the computer by clicking "Extract to" or "Install". Be sure to install iChatAV to the /Applications/ folder on your hard drive (not your user folder). Repair permissions after the reinstallation just to prevent any quirky behavior by using Disk Utility located in /Applications/Utilities/. Then you should be all set to use iChatAV 3.0. Be sure to update to the latest version, as noted below.

Possible Problems:
If problems still persist, you might find it worthwhile to reinstall the InstantMessage.framework folder (/System/Library/Framworks) and VideoConference.framework folder (/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks). You can reinstall either/both of these folders by modeling the steps in "The Hard Way" noted above except just reinstall the folders and not the iChat.app application. You will need Pacifist for this procedure.

After completing the reinstallation of iChatAV, download the latest version of iChat that is included with the latest version of the OS, 10.4.x. Good luck!

IMPORTANT!! Edit: Note on the Update paragraph above. This needs one more stage if your OS is at 10.4.2 or above. If you have updated to 10.4.2 (Or Above) and then reinstalled iChat, then iChat is back to iChat 3.0 (or the version that came on your Install DVD) and needs the Relevant Combo Update. This link is to a Search at Apple for Combo Updates Here)

Should you have difficulty with such things as Smiley Packs or can not find any other way to sort out iChat and need the other two folders, you will have to read the instructions for the extraction in iChat 2.x above, making allowences for the folder placement, both on the install DVD and where they go on your hard drive.

iChat 4 and Leopard

The iChat 3 one should be good enough but some people might prefer the version here

One Final Word

Don't !!!

Rather I mean don't do this just as a matter of course until you have tried all the options for Maintenance, .plist deletion and tried other options for Launching iChat

On the Apple Discussion Boards it does seem to be beoming more common but it difficult to say if this is a change in the user base with more "switchers" using Macs - or people becoming more confident about doing this sort of thing without Reinstalling the wholoe OS - or becoming more confident about "messing" about under the hood.

Information Block

This site is about iChat from Version 1 through to iChat 4.x.x

It has a mixture of basic info and problem solving help.

The setions below will change for Specifics about info on the page on view

If you find these pages helpful please Donate to help keep them up to date

About This Page

This page tells you how to navigate Install Disk packages to resinstall just the iChat Application and possibly the support folders

I have included now some ideas on things to check on first.

Placement of the Support Folders.

Look on your Hard Drive first. These files/folders are in a particular place or places.

When you open your Hard Drive's Finder window you see several folders called Applications, Library, System, Users and possibly System Folder and Documents if OS 9 in also on the drive (And anything else you have placed at this Level).

Open the folder called System. It has one folder inside which is also called Library. Inside that Library are lots of folders. You are interested in PrivateFrameworks at iChat 2 in Panther and both Frameworks and PrivateFrameworks in Tiger/iChat 3 and above.

There is a short way of writting this called the Path.
System/Library/Frameworks and

The IntantMessage.framework and VideoConference.framework are both in the PrivateFrameworks folder in Panther (10.3.x) for iChat 2

In iChat 3 and above the InstantMessage.framework moves to the Frameworks folder.

We are suggesting that you replace the whole of each Support folder rather than try to Install the Contents indiviually.

Once you have an understanding of where they are on your Hard Drive the Layout of the Pacifist working window makes more sense.


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Old browsers (IE version 4 or earlier, Netscape 4 or earlier) should only see a text-based page which, while not the prettiest option, is still entirely usable.