Ralph Johns

iChat Information Pages


Error Messages in iChat

And To do About Them.

What can I do About Error Messages...?

Yes there is a page 13. It's this one, the one with the error messages on it.

Areas Covered

The basic info from the previous layout remains and has been updated.

This page basically covers Error found in iChat 2 and in iChat 3 up to the 10.4.7 update. At the 10.4.7 update iChat was also updated to 3.1.5 and Apple introduced the Error Log Pop up on failed Chats.

Details on the Pop Up Error Logs - how to access them and how to understand them somewhat is detailed on Page 16a

At the bottom of this page is the bits on Feedbag Error codes.

Various Error Messages

There are several Error Messages that start with the content of the Blue box. They continue with the individual contents of the Green boxes. The solutions found so far are posted in between. It is worth while noting that these are a lot more common in iChat 2.

For iChat 3/10.4.7 error logs go here.

"iChat Internal Error!

That is to say that the Above box is a common header/leading part to any of the detailed Error messages in the following Panels, such as.....

"iChat Internal Error!
Invalid parameter not satisfying: aString ! = nil"
for example.

Address Book Issues

The one that continues:

"...Invalid parameter not satisfying: aString ! = nil"

Is about a Address Book error. It can sometimes appear if your Address Book, Me Card is not pointing to your details. Another solution can be found in Address Book Fix .

Another Address Book related

The one that continues:

"...Unknown property 'Richard' type '-1549840836' "

Where 'Richard', is any typing that you do and can sometimes appear if your Address Book, Me Card is not pointing to your details. Is also solved by the Address Book Fix link in the panel to the left.

Network Related

This one:

"...Invalid Parameter not Satisfying: aString! = nil"

It can also be solved by doing the following:

  1. Disconnect from your network connection.
    If you are using Ethernet, physically disconnect the cable from your computer.
    If you are using AirPort to connect, turn AirPort off.
  2. Open iChat
    If iChat opens for you, leave it open and reconnect to your network.
    It may take a minute or so, but iChat may automatically connect you after your computer recognizes that your network is available again.

 (originally posted by Quesito who thanks Galye the (then) Moderator of the Apple iChat Discussion area.
NOTE: Gayle and several other of the Moderators or Hosts as they became when the Discussion Board software changed, no longer work at for Apple on the Discussion Boards.)

A Deeper, More Complete way

Try this as an alternative to the fix for the issue on the left:-

  1. Shut down the computer (with shutting down a WiFi Card first if required)
  2. Disconnect any Ethernet cable from either the computer or Modem
  3. Restart the computer with no Network Connection
  4. Restart iChat
  5. Reconnect the Internet by plugging in Ethernet cable or turning on WiFi Card
  6. Click the Buddy List and Choose Available to make it Login

Where I have said "Modem" it can be a router. The Internet connection form there can stay live. It is about isolating the computer from the Internet hence either Ethernet end can be unplugged- whichever is reachable.

A Third Alternative

  1. Go to System Preferences > Network
  2. In Tiger and Panther there are two Drop Down items at the top - select the Location one.
  3. Copy across the Automatic setting to another "Location" by Duplicating it and Renaming it

All three methods effectively make the OS re-establish a Network connection to the Internet.

AIM Login Related

This one:

"...Chat is not in compose mode anymore in iChat AV"

Has not been specifically solved yet. But try restarting iChat. It seems to pop up if you add a Buddy to the Buddy List during a chat by using the item "Add Buddy" in the Buddies Menu. It also has been seen when sending files.

Adding buddies and File Sending require that port 5190 is open the UDP internet protocol so it would be wise to check this as well.
Edit: 30th September 2008. I would change the Login port to 443 as detailed on Page 4

The suggested restart is to ensure you are logged in or refresh your Login to that particular AIM server that deals with creating and storing Buddy List information.


There is this new one. (at the time of the Original Posting of this page.)
It is coloured Green but the message here is the whole one and is quite short.

"NSInternalInconsistencyException: Missing data for smallIcon"

It appeared on the Apple Discussion pages but I did not get a response to a suggestion of deleting com.apple.ichatAgent.plist as a cure.

Smiley Packs

The Stand alone Message looks like this:-

"# NSInvalidArgumentException:
** -[NSTextField setRomanOnly:]: selector not recognized"

This is caused by some Smiley packs. The best cure is to reinstall the InstantMessage.framework folder in /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks with these instructions You will need the instructions near the bottom of the page. See also Ryan's FAQ at Apple
In iChat 3 The InstantMessage folder is in the Frameworks folder (/System/Library/Frameworks)

Note: Remember that the Paths shown with a leading Forward Slash mean that you have to open the Boot Disk's Hard Drive Name first as it is short for HardDriveName/OtherFolder......

Spell Check Issues

This one came to me by email 28/09/2005
** -Invalid parameter not satisfying: (index >= 0) && (index < (_itemArray ? CFArrayGetCount((CFArrayRef)_itemArray) : 0))

This one appears to be associated with cocoaAspell, See this link at MacOSXHints. Searching for any bits that might be active with Spotlight is useful. It appears the SpellCatcher was the original Utility that was deactivated in this case.

Thanks to Susan F. Epstein who alerted me to this problem and Ryan M. for the link to MacOSXHints. Susan worked through looking for active files and deleted them from the Home/Library/Services folder.

SpellCatcher is an Add-on and deleting it was the issue here.

Font Issues

Then there is this one:

addAttribute:value:range:: nil value"

This is solved by checking on Fonts Lucida Grande and Helvetica in Font Book.
The Fonts Lucida Grande or Helvetica are missing or disabled in Font Book.

  1. Open Font Book
  2. Click on the reveal triangle next to the All Fonts item in the Left hand column.
  3. Now select the Computer collection.
  4. Check the second column for those two fonts.
  5. Enable with button at the bottom of column if showing grey.
  6. Check User and/or Classic collections if not showing.

Holding the cursor over the font in the second column will reveal it's type and location ( as will using the Sample item from the Preview menu). You want a dfont (or Datafork true font ) type.
If they appear in the other collections, drag them to the Computer collection.

Apple have now published their own Doc 300501 on this.
Also read this FAQ by Kurt Lang on Fonts

A bit more on Fonts

What the Apple Doc listed on the Left does not say is that several of Apple's Own Applications will not work if you disable or remove any of the Fonts that are in the System Collection. These are in a folder within the System folder ( /System/Library/Fonts ).

Some need Lucida Grande and some need Helvetica. Kurt's Link details which are where on the the Drive.

At the time of writing the page now in the original pages in 2004 it was not entirely clear which of these two was the responsible one as both are listed for different parts within the com.apple.ichat.plist.

The Lucida Grande is the Font used to display the titles of the Buddy Groups in the pull out drawer in iChat 2 and the bars that distinguish groups in iChat 3 and later. Helvetica tends to be used to display other parts of the Text shown in iChat such as the Chat window default Font and the Status Messages and Buddies Names in the Lists.

Installing Helvetica Fractions

This creates a particular problem in several Apple Applications if Installed. In iChat it takes over the text Chat display font and displays what looks like Cyrillic and overlapping Text Example and Fix page. Essentially Don't Install it or Deactivate it if you have.

Corrupted Buddy Pics

Cooky94 on the Apple iChat Discussions had this error message:-

"NSImageCacheExcetion Cannot Cache Image"

It is solved by checking for corrupted Buddy icons in com.apple.ichat.pictures which is in /Users/(your Account/Library/Caches.

In iChat 4 and Leopard this folder moves one level deeper and changes it's name to /Users/(your Account)/Library/Caches/iChat/Pictures (Or in short form ~/Library/Caches/iChat/Pictures)

Feedbag Errors

Yes, the Spelling is Feedbag. It comes from the AIM Error messaging format and is included in the iChat Programming. They follow the same sort of Error Alert window that appears with any of these errors on this page.

"Could not add 'screenname' to your buddy list. (Feedbag error 10) or (... 17)"

Feedbag Error 17 is a message from AIM that your Buddy List is full.
Make sure that your Buddies do not appear in more than one group as they get counted twice (or more) this way. The limit is 200 (Note: I have seen reference that this is now 600 Buddies - certainly it is no longer 200)

Feedbag Error 10 is connected to your Buddies details already being in the Buddy list or the Address Book and you trying to add the same person under a different screen name.
Either delete the previous entry or....
add the second screen name after the first one with a comma in between in the Address Book (ralphjohnr,rlph820) in either the AIM or @Mac entry points or add an extra AIM field to the Address Book card to hold the second name.
Alternatively the names can be added in this way to the Buddy Info Accounts name when you use the Apple (/ Command/⌘) Key and "i" together when a Buddy is highlighted in the Buddy list.

In iChat 3 there is some evidence that this is related to how your Groups are set up. I had this from another Level 4 at Apple Discussions:

"Make sure you have a single group set in iChat (View - Use Groups). Add a group using the + on the bottom of the buddy list. Give it the name "Buddies", a default group that AIM uses. Once you add this group, then iChat should let you add people to the Buddy List"

In iChat you do not actually get the Error Alert Window message. The Buddy looks like it is going through the process of being added with the Fading in and Out of the Buddy icon in the Buddy List but does not stay and does not appear in the Off Line list either.

Potentially there are other reasons why a Buddy may not be added but this needs checking as well.

Feedbag Error 14 is to do with adding ICQ account names. Use the same approach as Feedbag Error 10 at the Mac end.
For the PC end I got this info from Sabrina Leistner from Germany.

The person who is supposed to be added to a buddy list has to check whether he/she has allowed "all users my add me to their Contact List and see my Online / Offline status"
This can be found under "My preferences" -> Security -> General -> Contact List Authorization (ICQ client on a Windows PC)
This has to be done before the iChat person can add the Buddy

Address Book Solution to Some iChat Problems

Address Book Fix

This was previously on it's own page only linked to from this "Error Messages" page. I have moved it here as the new layout lends itself to putting items in distinct sections.

This item was posted on the Apple Discussion Pages and is quoted here verbatim. It contains the original post and a reply to it which adds a short cut.

It is Panther (10.3.x based) and I have never heard of anyone needing it in Tiger.

Posted by pdX on 26th August 2004 on the Apple Discussion Pages (EDIT: This was in the Old Discussions pre 14th Nov 2005 and has been archived off the main Board)

The Post

"I experienced a rather serious permissions problem after updating to 10.3.5 and turning on FileVault prior to testing everything out. I don't know which one was responsible, but I'm putting my money on FileVault, since it changes many permissions within the home directory. The problems were that when Mail launched, it appeared that I had no messages. Address Book didn't launch at all, either from the finder or from the mini-address book in Mail. Instead, it prompted me with a message saying that Address Book's database is corrupt. Well, both unfortunate issues were resolvable without resorting to back ups. After much trial and error, here's how.


After exploring the folders a bit, I found that most of my problems had to do with new permissions settings which locked me out of my own mail folder -- set to System with NO ACCESS. Changing these one-by-one for every folder within the main User/Library/Mail folder did the trick. The button that says change permissions for all enclosed items doesn't seem to work very consistently.


Address book seemed to be another beast, and took me much longer to resolve.
But here's how it ended up.

The problem was that, along with the visible files, one or two invisible files inside my User/Library/Application Support/Address Book/ folder had NO ACCESS permissions applied to them. So the fix was to change the permissions to your user name and READ & WRITE. The easiest way to toggle the visibility of the invisible files is to try out or buy Cocktail (a nearly perfect app for what it does). After turning invisible items on, locate the above folder and apply corrected permissions to the following files:

  • .database.lockN

  • .DS_Store

  • .skIndex.ABPerson.lockN
Be certain to do the same to all other files in that folder. For me, after making this correction, I could immediately launch and access my entire address book. A good time to backup!"

Posted by pdX on 26th August 2004 on the Apple Discussion Pages

The Reply

A reply a bneely seems to suggest that some of the file for the Address Book Problem can be deleted rather than have the ownership changed

"Regarding the Address Book folder,
the .DS_Store is a file created by Finder that can be deleted.
Finder will re-create it when necessary.

The same is true with the .database.lockN and .skIndex.ABPerson.lockN files that are created by Address Book.
Before deleting those, it is best to quit all applications (except Finder). Then, delete the files and let them be re-created by Address Book (or any client of its framework) when necessary.

These operations can also be performed with /Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app if you know the unix commands like 'chmod' and 'chown', in addition to 'cd', 'ls', and 'rm'."

© 2005 Ralph Johns, Edited 24/9/2005, 5/5/2006, 25/08/2007
Updated September 2006. Moved to Gargoyles and edited Mar 2007
Edited: 30th September and moved to Comic Layout

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 "Error Page" as it is titled is about those Errors that pop up Alert Messages in iChat - mainly iChat 2 and to some extent iChat 3 before 10.4.7 (iChat 3.1.5).

Some are at least generated in such a way that the first few lines of the Alert Message are the same. I have put this common part in a Blue box. The follow on parts that are the important bits are then the Green boxes. If a lower panel contains a Blue Box it means that the Alert Message involved is essentially as written and does not contain the leading "NSInternalInconsistencyException " part.

They cover these Areas:-

Address Book related Issues
Network Related
AIM (Login) Related
Smilie Packs
Spell check Issues
Font Issues which Includes a bit on
Grabbled Text Chat Messages.
Buddy Pics

And then, of course,
Feedbag Error codes
and also
Address Book Fix This was on a separate page once

Apple Discussion Pages and Apple Docs and Articles

What the Font one demonstrates is that Apple do pay attention to the Apple DIscussion pages and there is some link between the work done by Regular and other Posters on the discussions that forms or helps towards Apple's own Documents and the renumbered and newer Articles

On my original pages that now form Page 11 you will see that the Error Messages we knew about in 2004 list the Font issue by the time they were seen on a web site in December 2004. The Apple Doc that is linked to in the Font Issue panel is dated about 6 months later in June 2005 which about the time these expanded pages came out for the first time.

Obviously it takes some time for Apple to recognise that an issue is a common thing (Or possibly a Bug) and write a Doc, or now an Article, on the issue but I think yo can see that Apple DO follow the Discussions.


Confirmed to work with Win/IE 5.5 and later (should work in 5.0, but not confirmed), Firefox 2, Safari 3, Opera 9, iCab 3.02 and later, Mac/IE 5, Netscape 6 and later

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.