Ralph Johns

iChat Information Pages


iChat 3 Start up Checks

(The Info on Error Logs since 10.4.7 have been split off to page 16a due to how log it made this page.)

Ok We will start with Upgrading to Tiger and iChat version 3.0 To be clear, an Upgrade is a Disk Install from one major OS level to another such as the one we are looking at here from 10.3.x to 10.4.x (Panther, as it is known, to Tiger). The bits where the x gets an increase point is generally referred to as an Update.

From Panther or Earlier

There are or were several Add-ons and applications available to Panther users of iChat that are not compatible with iChat 3. Some have been updated to work with Tiger (10.4.x) and seem to work up to 10.4.11 ( Edit: Current End point of Tiger development. ). If you tend to buy a computer and not upgrade the OS until you get you next computer but like to transfer things you found useful then some of these may still apply. In many cases though the Utilities have been updated. See notes in the Symptom column.

The Known List: iChat Add-Ons

These following need to be deleted:

What it does/did
iCAR An Add-on that posts an Auto response Away message produces a 1 fps result in a Video chat
NOTE: Definite No-No.
Virex for Panther An Anti Virus app available to @mac account users
This was the version of Virex at the time.
Produces the 1 fsp problem.
NOTE: Apple have since put a version back on @Mac.com (it still seems suspect)
for Panther/iChat2.x

(Edit: Has now had it's name changed to iUSBCam.
A Add-on utility for using iSight or USB cam with iChat2.x Now compatible with Tiger/iChat 3
NOTE: IF you have a Panther version you have not updated, then do so. The current version works up to 10.4.11 (well actually now with Leopard as well)
iProfile An Add-on for producing a profile on the AIM server that iChat 2.x could not do. NOTE: Not proven to be a problem but now not needed.
See Also Other Known Problems below the table of Ports


How to get the Best Results

A clean install of Tiger (not Archive and Install) produces the best results.
But with any install method you should also check these Tiger updates and settings .

First, UPGRADE to 10.4.2 (At least) as this gets past many Connection issues that became apparent with the basic Tiger (10.4) and iChat 3.0 It updates iChat to version 3.0.1

Note on the above paragraph: Apple changed the way iChat data was streamed at the Base Level of iChat 3 (iChat 3.0) to a protocol that was agreed Internationally some 7 years earlier but it turned out that many internet servers could not pass the data as they had not been set up for it. This was at the level above the ISP level called the "Backbone". Many of the companies that ran these server apparently could not tell which devices were involved and refused, on the whole, to do anything about it. Mostly it effected people in the United States, East of a line from the Mississippi to Chicago. This is a large chunk of the population of the States. Apple reverted to the iChat 2 way of streaming data packets with an Version 3.0.1 update to iChat. This is one of two Stand-alone updates to iChat 3. All other updates are in the OS updates. The update to iChat was included at 10.4.2 hence listing that above.

Jabber (An Aside)

The ability to have Jabber Buddy List as well as the AIM one used for @mac.com and AIM names was added in iChat 3 in Tiger (10.4.x) I mention it here as it relates to the Ports referenced in the panel to the right and the Ports in the table below (and somewhat to balance the two columns slightly).

You can get a Jabber ID from one of many servers including using a GoogleMail ID as Google launched GoogleTalk as a Jabber Server. Jabber works across this network of servers whereas AIM is centralised.

In System Preferences

Check Settings

Don't be complacent that you have not set anything different. Also see the section below the Table of Ports

There are several new things in Tiger that may trip you up. Essentially there are small, but subtle, changes that mean you do have to check and re-set.
These are worth looking at:

Mac Firewall.

Now includes the ability to Block all UDP traffic in the Advanced button (System Preferences > Sharing > Firewall tab then the Advanced Button) You should make sure this is Not On.

Also the firewall can now open UDP protocol for ports where as the Panther one only did both together (Check any old Panther settings you Added to the presets as these get transferred as TCP Only. It includes Apple's own Bonjour iChat (from Rendezvous) setting).

(Note: In Tiger (10.4.x) Apple changed the name of Rendezvous (their Zero Configuration LAN method of discovering other Macs and linking them in a network) to Bonjour. In the Panther (10.3.x) Firewall, Rendezvous had a Preset of the iChat use called iChat Rendezvous and listed two ports 5297 and 5298. As the Panther firewall did not discriminate about whether the Protocols were specified it was then open to both UDP and TCP used by iChat on port 5298. In Tiger the Name was changed to Bonjour and listed "Bonjour iChat" as a Preset with the two ports. What Apple have never done throughout the life of Tiger is change this setting to reflect the use or discrimination between UDP and TCP Protocols and lists only the TCP Protocol fro this Preset. Presets can not be altered by the user. It is best to keep this Preset Off and use the "All Ports" listed below.

The ports should be:

The Table of Ports
Tiger TCP and UDP Ports For Mac Firewall
Service TCP Ports UDP Ports
iChat over AIM 5190 5060, 5190, 5678, 16384-16403
Bonjour 5298 5297, 5298, 5353
Jabber 5220, 5222, 5223 No ports
All Ports5190, 5220, 5222, 5223, 5298 5060, 5190, 5297, 5298, 5353, 5678, 16384-16403

Other Issues: Mac OS settings.


This has a change in the name of the Connection Speed tab to Streaming (System Preferences > QuickTime > [relevant tab]). Check this is set to be equal to your connection speed (the download one if this is faster). This is because the Automatic Setting returns a zero to iChat and caps your Connection speed to that figure

Edit September 2006. Internet connection speeds have increased over the last few years and it is now possible you have a service from your ISP that exceeds the 1.5Mbps top list Internet speed. You should use this 1.5Mb/T1/Intranet/LAN if you do exceed it. The top cap should be 1.5Mbps as the Intranet/LAN setting also returns an odd figure to iChat. Both has been corrected in Leopard.

Edit October 2008: Certain ISPs over the recent year or more have started to do "Data Stream Management" to combat use by Peer-to-Peer File Sharing applications like BitTorrent and Azure on a Mac and similar ones on a PC. Setting the Bandwidth Limit in iChat menu > Preferences > Video section to 500kbps seems to get under their radar. The known ISPs are Comcast and Road Runner, both in the United States

Date & Time.

Not conclusively involved but worth eliminating. Set a Network Server and the correct Time Zone.

(Note: Also make sure your Routing device, if it has a Time and Date setting, is similarly set).

Apple Remote Desktop.

If this is active in System Preferences > Sharing > Services tab it causes problems for iChat. Produces a non connection or a 1fps problem.

Internet Speed Checks

Whilst we are talking about Internet Speeds - test the actual speed you are getting from your ISP.

(from page 5's list)

Thanks to Defcom on all of these. Now and then when starting out or encountering problems, it is worth checking if you have the Connection Speed you think you have (or indeed pay for). Most of those listed below need you to have JAVA installed and active. Some of the common Browsers will have the required Pug-inactive.

  1. Check Your Broadband speed DSLreports. Speed check with a Javascript enabled site
  2. ADSLGuide's Speed Test Another Java based Test site in Britain.
  3. Speed Test at Audit My PC As the Link says
  4. SpeedTest.net A test site just for Testing. Nice Graphical interface (bit "blokey" Men will like it). Shows a section of the world with the most local servers. You can choose ones from further afield
  5. BroadbandMaX.co.uk As it says Another British based single server test site. Uses JavaScript and Flash rather Java to run test. Has speedometer style graphics.

There is a table here of the speeds you need. (Link to the Apple Site) Apple Doc 301050 10.4.x: iChat System Requirements
The one you get linked to in the iChat 3's Help menu is wrong.

The Known List: Other Non Apple Applications and Utilities

Other Known Problems

There are several other applications that iChat 3 does not seem to like.


This is a application that uses spare processor time to help find protein chains for a University.


This is a data base application that can be reset to allow more processor time for iChat. See here http://www.murraywilliams.com/blog/archives/000046.html
And Here Thanks to Nigel Gilbert for this link.

Lotus Notes

Some people have reported problems with this.

Add-on Audio and Video Capture Cards

Make sure any Add-on Audio and Video cards or input PCI cards have up to date Firmware. We are talking about mAudio type cards here.

If you are still having problems I would do Routine Maintenance Tasks as laid out here

Modems and Routers

Lastly, some routers/modems are SIP aware and give different results in iChat 3 compared to iChat 2. Not all will say they are VoIP compatible.
This problem is due to the Operating System changing (like a new computer connecting to the modem) rather than iChat.
See page4a


As this is about the Upgrade from 10.3.x to at least 10.4(.0) - the Panther to Tiger Upgrade - this page looks at the Add-ons that you need to Update, the changes you might need to know about how the OS operates and changes in the Names and settings involved.

It goes on to list the Ports iChat 3 uses for ease of entering them into the Mac Firewall as Protocols are also needed. As the Quicktime Streaming speed changed it's name from Connection and as the setting is somewhat dependent on the Internet Speed you get it links you to several Speed Test sites.

We then look more closely at applications. utilities and additional Audio and Video capture cards that are known to also cause problems with iChat 3 at the base level, along with a prompt to update to at least 10.4.2 to get iChat to version 3.0.1

Most of this page does presume that iChat is Essentially working for the most part but is disrupted by these items. However as some modems can cause intermittent connection problems there is a link back to Page 4a as well

© 2005 Ralph Johns Edited 24/9/2005, 5/5/2006, 25/08/2007
Updated September 2006. Moved to Gargoyles and edited Mar 2007
Edited Oct 2008 and moved to Comic

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

Ok. This page works on the premise that you have just upgraded from Panther (10.3.x) to Tiger (10.4.x).

It starts with a list of Known Add-Ons for iChat and the Virex Checker from the .Mac site that cause problems if you don't update from a Panther version to a Tiger version or in some cases deletion is needed.

It looks at the changes to the Mac Firewall at this point where the option to List Protocols is added to the settings you can set. This includes a panel with a Table of those ports now used in iChat 3

We then look at Settings within the OS generally that can effect iChat which includes the Quicktime Streaming.

As this is dependent on the Internet Speed you have a section on testing your Internet speed is in between the Mac Settings section and Other applications.

It then lists some apps that get in the way or cause problems, with the sort of symptoms you might see.

The Info on Error Logs since 10.4.7 have been split off to page 16a due to how log it made this page.


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.