Ralph Johns

iChat Information Pages


Setting up iChat

And Links to ChatRooms and Find-a-Buddy Listing Sites.

This page is essentially about Setting up iChat using the Start Up Screens and what to expect next in the form of Adding Buddies.
As the Link below suggests it also has a bit on how to Find a Buddy and about Chatrooms

Much of this site contains repeats of the same information. Hopefully it is slightly different or stresses a different point on each occasion. The reasons behind this are two-fold.

  1. On the Apple Discussion pages about iChat the regular posters have developed a system of providing answers in different ways. It was found that not all those posing questions understood the format or lingo used.
  2. As a result of the above a "Tell-me-three-times" system has somewhat developed and is used here on this site.
Hopefully people will find this Helpful and not annoying.

I does presume you are ready to go and have seen or are past the info on page 1

Jump to Chatroom and Find a Buddy listings

Setting Up iChat

Start By opening the iChat application.
It will open the Assistant or First Run Screen for you.

There are five text entry points

  1. First Name

  2. Surname

  3. Account type (this is a drop down to select the right type, AIM or @mac or @me.com)

  4. Account Name (please type Carefully)

  5. Password

Picture of Screen

iChat 2 Start up screen


After filling in the Screen you click the Continue button. There are several message screens that follow. One asks you if you want to "Enable Rendezvous/Bonjour". This is a matter of preference and depending if you have other Macs on the same LAN. Another asks you about Jabber. See This link and the first three numbered links and page 5

See here for iChat 3 and 4 Variations

It is possible to click through all the First Run Screen without putting any data (text) in the entry boxes other than the pre-filled computer (your Mac's User) account details.

iChat will now open up.
It will show you the Buddy List "Connecting..." to the AIM server and possibly your Rendezvous/ Bonjour and/or Jabber Buddy List(s) if you selected to Log on there as well.

If you clicked through the Start up Screen with out any details you will now have to go to the iChat Preferences and select Accounts and enter your AIM or @mac name and your password. (Click on the word iChat in the Menu Bar and select Preferences).


Buddy List window
Buddy List 
Accounts Preference Pane Panther
iChat 3 & 4 Accounts Pane
Accounts Tiger

You will now have to enter your Buddies.

These instructions are very similar in iChat 3 for the Jabber Buddy List.

In iChat 4 there is a similar split to the AIM and @mac/@me.com ones, detailed below, between Jabber IDs and Googletalk ones for Jabber.

  • STEP 1

    This is done by pressing the + sign at the bottom of the Buddy List. Indicated in the picture to the right and hidden mostly by the window which will open that you can see in the picture to the right.

    As you can see it is is linked to your Mac's Address Book application. You can choose to select someone from this list by using the "Select Buddy" button, if their Screen Name is in there, or you can add a "New Person".

  • STEP 2

    Use the "New Person" button to add people that are not in your Address Book (yet).

    A new window will open, by contracting the one seen one the right right and opening another with options to enter certain known facts about your new buddy.

  • STEP 3

    1. First of all is the drop down to select the account/screen name type. The default is for an @me.com name (Or an @mac.com one if you have not run the MobileMe - (Links to Side Panel) update). This pic was when the only choices were AIM or @mac ones.

    2. The other option is an AIM account/screen name.

    3. In the default setting the suffix @mac.com is written next to the end of the following text entry field. So if it is an @mac name you can enter the new buddy's name right away.
      (The "@mac.com" or "@me.com" does not have to be typed. iChat will add it.
      If however you have problems with an @mac.com name add it as an AIM sort and type the @mac.com suffix in full.

    If it is an AIM name these do not have any suffix so there is no need to add "@AIM.com" either.
    (Again there are exceptions as Apple is not the only web service or ISP that offer AIM valid Email IDs as valid AIM Screen Names. As an "@" is a valid character as part of an AIM valid Screen Name you may find other Buddies do need their AIM name entered in full).

To clarify so far:-
STEP 1. Click to Add (+) button at the bottom of the Buddy List window.
STEP 2. Use the New Buddy button.
STEP 3a. Select the account type.
     3b. Type in the account name (without any (3c.) suffix unless required).

  • STEP 4.

    Next you enter a Buddy icon (to the left).
    If you leave this blank it will display the Buddy icon that your Buddy is currently using.

  • STEP 5.

    There are now three text entry fields on the right, under and in addition to the ones for the Account type and name.

    1. First Name
    2. Last Name
    3. Email:

These entry fields are self explanatory and don't need me to explain further. However I will point out that additional information can be added to these fields to display in your Buddy List. If it is a New Buddy, filling them in will create a Address Book entry.

iChat's Buddy List window displays the information you enter (or don't) in these fields. If you only enter the account/screen name (and leave the others blank) then that is what is displayed in the list.

If a person has two first names that you want to display you can do that. If you know someone as R.D. (or RD) then just type that in the entry field for one of the names, as I have done in the picture above.

In Leopard you also get a "Nickname" line

The same windows will open if you use the Add Buddy item from the Buddies menu.

This is the end of the basic way of adding New Buddies.


You can add Buddies that contact you by using the menu item in the Buddies menu. This can be done from any type of chat.

It can be best to wait until the chat has finished. Do not close the chat window.
Now go to the Buddies menu and select add Buddy. It will show you the account name of the Buddy concerned.

If iChat is working properly it can be done in the middle of a Chat so that you can send them files or open a Text chat at the same time or change to a Screen Share. It is also useful to contact them straight back from your Buddy list if the chat fails.

Any problems will be caused by the processor and the link to the AIM servers taking time to run the Buddy List change whilst doing a Video or Audio chat.

Test Sites

Trying test sites. There are 3 AIM account names (running on Macs) that will be of use to the first timer (Those of you with NO Buddies(yet). You know who you are)

There are appleu3test01, appleu3test02 and appleu3test03 which are again AIM account names. They are setup to Auto respond and show you what the camera can see (still life in art terms) and have a sound track playing music, or more commonly now, they show films or adverts. The same base names can also be found online as @mac.com names (appleu3test01@mac.com for example)

Other users at the Apple Discussion Pages for iChat will offer themselves from time to time.
See this FAQ: Want to Test your iSight With Another Person?

My AIM account name appears if you click for my Current Profile on the left of any post I have made to the Apple Discussion Pages. Also those willing to test and the Test Auto-responding account names have been listed on the Contact Testers page

There are several AIM and iChat "who's on line" style databases that you can find doing Google searches. Some I have found are listed below.

Chatter Lists pages

This might be useful to those who ask it regularly.
If your looking for iChat Buddy Lists. You may want to register at these.
They are a way of finding New Buddies.

iChat Club :                     (Thanks to Phillippe Alary)
iChat Rooms Listing

Some of them cost.

Unfortunately this list is becoming shorter and shorter. This is for two reasons it seems.

  1. I keep it to ones that I feel are broadly acceptable or at least Inoffensive to a large majority or people bearing in mind AIM's lower age limit is supposed to be 13 Years of Age.
  2. I somewhat rely on other people telling me of new ones but two of these have disappeared this time round.

Do a Google Search

Also do a Google search for more, and look at the AIM chat rooms. (This has in fact changed to a series of On-Line/webpage chats). You may need to filter out some of the results whichever search you do. There are also differences between some that are web based like the AIM ones and those that List Buddies.

These require that you make note of the chatroom and enter it in the window that pops up when you use the "Go to Chat" item in the iChat File menu. Or you can use the info in the right hand column to connect direct from your Web Browser.

Concerns over who is using Chatrooms is behind the drop in Chatroom Lists. See this Link

Getting iChat to Open From Web links

If you have several AIM type Clients (applications that use the AIM servers) you may wish to specify which one opens when you click on a aim:gochat?RoomName=(RoomName) link on a web page.
The aim:gochat?RoomName= link on a web page is much like the iTunes one in an email from Apple that can launch another app.

For this you need to open Internet Explorer on the Mac. (You can get older versions here)

  1. Once launched go to the Preferences.
  2. Scroll down the List to Network and use the Reveal triangle if the contents are not showing
  3. You need Protocol Helpers.
  4. Select AIM and change the Application to the one of your choice (iChat, of course).

Doing this also helps if launching a chatroom from a web page does not work properly.

iChat Discussion Pages or The Next page or Top of Page

© 2005 Ralph Johns: Edited 24/9/2005, 5/5/2006
Updated September 2006. Moved to Gargoyles Mar 2007
Edited: 1:40 PM Sunday; September 7, 2008

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

There is a more detailed version of this first part of the Start Up Screens here at Ryan's Start-up Pages

About The First Pic

This first picture shows the Start-Up Screens at the first "Welcome Screen". As well as Ryan's pages there are some more here.

About The Second Set

The Second set of pictures show a Buddy list with no Groups showing on the left. It is an iChat 2 pic.

On the right are the different Account Preference screens for Panther (iChat2.x) and Tiger (iChat 3) & Leopard (iChat 4)

MobileMe and @mac.com

As you may know Apple used to offer a Web site and storage space with registration to .Mac which gave you a @mac.com Email name which in turn could be used as an ID.

This could be used in iChat under the pop up for adding your Screen Name. The iChat application added the @mac.com suffix for you.

Apple now offer MobileMe Accounts For new accounts this gives you a @me.com email/ID. It gives the same web space for storage and a Web site and other services like email.

The change happened between OS Updates and required that you went to System Preferences > .mac and click on it to make the MobileMe update run. This in turn changed all the required spots in any app that could use an @mac.com ID and add an @me.com bit to the drop down such as the one in iChat Start Up Screens, like this
mobileme dropdown

To some extent, in this context, the two (@mac.com and @Me.com) are interchangeable as far as a Setting up iChat with an Apple ID/Screen Name. I have not changed every reference to @mac.com to read @Me.com as well, but feel I have done enough to get the picture across.

The is one significant change.
With an @mac.com screen name in iChat, lapsed Paid-for accounts and Trial accounts after the Sixty days, also worked in iChat.
This does Not happen with a MobileMe Account/Screen Name
The trial account ends use in iChat as well now - so presumably will lapsed accounts.


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.