Ralph Johns

iChat Information Pages


Other Useful Web Pages

Use Right Column for quick navigation to the different sections

This page is essentially a collection of lists. This page was originally constructed because the previous format of the Apple Discussion pages had limits on the length (or rather the character number total) of posts. This meant that FAQs/Users Tips could only be a certain length - (although a quirk in the posting software allowed updates to these tips). There is a version of this page on the Apple Discussion pages. Unfortunately the current software for the DIscussion Boards does not allow updates to the text.

Where possible I have split the lists into sub areas in the individual panels. Towards the bottom it lists places you can find other Chatters. This in turn leads on to ChatRooms. Below that are some instructions to make any web browser link to iChat from a ChatRoom web link.

Areas Covered

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

Some sections I think have enough info with the links so I have placed them side by side. Where some have needed more info in my opinion I have added comments in the second column. This mainly applies the the Other Application section that I have split into the various categories. I have added a category for Video Chatting with a Web Browser.

I have checked links and removed some things I could not find with Google. I have added comments if I think the page I have linked you to contains out-of -date links itself.

Jabber in Tiger and Above

Jabber was added to iChat at iChat 3 when Tiger (10.4.x) came out. It does not have any set up features (Registration module as Jabber calls them) so you need to register a Jabber screen name and then use this in iChat. The first link tells you how. The second tells you how to extend this with "Transports" to other services. The third is needed for you to check on the Public Jabber servers available to pick one for your needs with link 1 and 2.

  1. Jabber Australia Info site.
  2. AllForces Blog that tells you how to connect iChat Jabber to MSN and other services
  3. Jabber Public Servers for use with above. This is an English version of a Spanish site but is the laid out in a graphical form as to abilities of the servers listed.


iChat uses the AIM service to connect to other people also using the AIM service which includes @mac.com names (even trial accounts after the 60 days is up) and the newer @me.com names from MobilMe (trial accounts from here will not work if expired). It is possible you will need to convince your PC Buddies to change to AIM.

  1. Download AIM 5.9 site PC version Download site. They need this version as opposed to the newer Triton version.
  2. PanFlute Another site explaining how to set up the AIM application. Basically a blog in several parts. Message #570 is where it is most useful
  3. Add on AIM Video File Grab the aimrtc12.exe file from the list. For Windows XP users having trouble with starting out. This was certainly needed more for Windows 95 and 98 but seems less needed in XP
  4. AIM for Mac Doh?!?!? It's a list on AIM !
  5. For PC Users Looking for Pre AIM 6.5 versions.
  6. As AIM versions above AIM 6.1 state that they do not Video to iChat I have not given a Link.

iChat ADD-ONs

OK. iChat may not do all the things you may come across when trying out different IM applications.
    iChat 2 stuff first
  1. iCAR Away Message maker. BEWARE CONFILCTS WITH iCHAT 3
  2. iProfile 1.2: Add an AIM profile. Beware of using with Tiger/iChat 3
  3. "iTunes Calling.." Doug Adams' Utility for showing what your iTunes is playing as a Status Message. Not needed for iChat 3
  4. iChat Status A System Preference control item that can run several applescripts (included) from it's interface to put info from other applications in the Status message. The Site now says Tiger Only and links to Previous Versions
  5. Live Icon Moving Buddy icon add on. It lives !! Was written by Ecamm but found on VersionTracker only. (Thanks Defcom !!) The VersionTracker page does say it is iChat 2.x Only !!

  6. iChat 2 and 3 compatible stuff
  7. Ecamm.com (iUSBCam) A utility for making G3/500 and slower work with USB cameras and external iSight cameras. Originally for iChat 2.x but the current version is Universal and works on Intels as well.
  8. iGlasses Enhancement for Picture control for External cameras.
  9. iChat Streaming Icon Another moving icon Utility. Seems to be OK in iChat 3.x
  10. iChatter More from Ecamm.com Speaks iChat Text chats.
  11. Conference Recorder Yet more from Ecamm. Allows you to record iChat Video chats.

  12. Not tried in iChat 2 or is iChat 3 specific
  13. Showmacster Adds the ability to show Video clips, icons, pics as slide shows and more. Effectively iChat Theater pre iChat 4WIll work with iChat 4 as well
  14. ChatFX Adds the ability to live feed of Photo booth type distortions and more. Was originally Intel Macs only but NOW Universal!! Can be power hungry as Video is effectively processed twice. Only works up until 10.4.10 Notice on Site.
  15. Chax An Add-on that does much. Allows Auto Accept of Files and Text chats. Tabs Text chats into one window. Has many items that add to the iChat Menus and a set of Preferences added to the iChat Preferences window. The site has different version for Leopard and Tiger. More can be changed in Tiger
  16. PowerBoost More from Ecamm. This time a Utility for slower Macs to be able to Multi-Video chat.

Comment on Add-ons

iChat started as a very basic IM application. AIM, MSN and Yahoo could be said to have been ahead in some respects at this time

It could be said that iChat 1 and 2 lacked certain features that were available either on the major IM applications or as options run on other Clients, mainly those that could join several services such as AdiumX and Proteus on the Mac

The first four items were among the first Add-ons adding things like saying what iTunes was playing as the Status Message or adding the option to Add to your AIM Profile which iChat could not do.

These first four are known to be suitable for iChat 2 Only with the 5th stating it is iChat 2 only but I am sure it works in iChat 3 as well

In the ones 6 through 10 we see the emergence of Ecamm software. They were the ones that somewhat cornered the market on doing things with the basic video feed that allowed other cameras to work or as intended originally to allow the iSIght (external) to work on slower Macs. They also produced a setting tweak Add-On that works system Wide and not just in iChat.

The exception is iChat Streaming Icon that came out for iChat 2 but works in iChat 3 (I have not tried it in 4 as it has Animated Buddy icons. Edit 22nd Sept 2008. The site listed as Temporarily Unavailable

The ones from 11 - 14 are much more iChat 3 specific. Certain features of all of these are now included in iChat 4

Showmacster adds a pop out drawer that appears on the Preview or Video Chat window. It comes with about 20 or so Smiley type icons on one tab. You can drop pics you want to use regularly in other tabs. It also provide a Whiteboard option to the pics shown, do slide shows of groups of pics if preset in advance. It can be used to show all or part of your own screen as the Video feed. (iUSBCam can also do whole screen.)

ChatFX does things to the Video feed using Quartz Composer files. This is exactly the same as Photo Booth and the Effects in iChat 4. If you do not have iChat 4 the site has a series of Stills that are displayed on their front page. Unfortunately it does not work once you have updated to OS 10.4.10

Chax works with the other side so to speak concentrating on the User Interface of the Buddy List and similar options. Things like Tabbed Chats are now in iChat 4

On Internet Speed Checks

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 need you to have JAVA installed and active. Most 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.

On Other iChat Set Up and Info Pages

Not numbered as I have no preferences on these.

  • CherryPop Homepage Alternative pages about setting up iChat. A bit dated now. Has not been updated since Sept. 2006
  • John Kennedy's Homepage Links to Cameras Drivers and other useful stuff. A bit dated now John's original .mac pages. Also has links to his Blog which was last updated in November 2007.
  • Ryan's iChat set up pages Well worth a beginners visit. Series of 4 pages that start with the Start Up Screens. Has pictures of the iChat 3 Preferences as well as how to Add Buddies and How to set up the Jabber side of iChat 3
    Some links are not working.
  • MVLDesign.com Mac to PC (AIM 5.9) and iChat help page. Has been there since 2005 and is fairly regularly updated.
  • MonarchWatch As far as I can tell it is mainly iChat 2 based with some reference to iChat 3. Essentially the site is iChat in 500 words

On Other Applications

    Multi-service (AIM, Jabber, MSN, Yahoo! etc.) Text Only apps.
  1. ProteusX A Mac based multiple service Text Chat Instant Messenger client.
  2. Fire Another Multi-service Text only Client for Macs.
  3. Adium X Another text based multi- service client.

Comments on Other Applications

As the first section says these are text only but can contact multiple services (if you have the Screen Names).

ProteusX showed lots of promise and even looked like it was going to get to do Multi-service Audio and Video Chats. However Apple employed the main developer and things seem to have got stuck. This is the latest site for this project.

I have not tried Fire. The site has a download but also says this is no longer in development.

Probably the best known of these apps. They say they are working on Audio and Video.

    Mac based AIM Client(s)

  1. AIM for Mac The Mac Version of AIM.

Comments cont.

Just the one in this section. AOL/AIM have not continued to developed AIM for Mac since iChat came out. As a Consequence even though it is downloadable it is at Version 4.7 and is text Only

It does have an Export and Import feature that can be of use sometime to make backups of your Buddy List. It has a group that iChat does not called Recent Buddies which iChat will display once you have launched AIM for Mac.

    Alternatives to iChat but Video chatting capable apps

  1. iVisit A Mac and PC alternative. (does not use AIM or MSN or Jabber)
  2. Skype Cross Platform IP telephony and Chat client. Now has a Mac version for Video chat
  3. PalTalk.com
  4. Gizmo Says it can link to almost anything. Free to Download. Looks like calls to landlines cost like Skype does.

Comments cont.

I have tried YakForFree, Skype and Gizmo. YakforFree Free has disappeared so the link has been removed.

iVisit seemed to be mentioned a lot as an Alternative to both iChat and Skype when iChat 3 came out.

Most seem to be working at the crossover point of Video IM apps and VoIP apps (contacting other phone services)

    Alternatives to iChat but Video chatting In a Web Browser

  1. MeBeam. An option to use a Web site that create Private room for Video Chatting. Uses Flash to access your Camera and Mic.
  2. iVideoChat Similar setup but a somewhat corporate type look to the site. Has Public rooms as well. Again uses Flash.
  3. Googlemail/GoogeTalk now do a Version in a Web Browser
  4. Tokbox A Site that can link your existing Buddy Lists that Uses Flash to Video chat in a Browser.

Comments cont.

The Options listed here are ones where you and you Buddy use a Web browser that has the Flash Plug-in active.

You get a pop straight away in Mebeam to allow access to your Camera. Audio if not using a Headset can be echoey or have feedback until you get the balance right.

With iVideoChat you need to register to have access to your own rooms.

    Apps for PCs in addition to those listed above

  1. Trillian PC based alternative to AIM using the AIM servers. Will connect to iChat. This may become Cross Platform as a Mac Version is stated to be in development.

It is worth noting that the GoogleTalk app for PCs can do PC to PC Audio Chats

Comments cont.

Again I am only aware of the one option in this group.

Trillian has made more progress than ProteusX in that in can use the Video and Audio options on several of the main IM services

It was an advantage over AIM 5.9 in that it has a larger Video window that can be expanded. However to do Video needs the Pro Version that costs. It has dropped from $30 to $25 at present though.

    Apps to connect to other Services

  1. Mercury Messenger A JAVA based MSN Client. JAVA makes it cross platform. Has a beta for Video and Audio chats.
  2. aMSN Another MSN Video chat Client

Comments cont.

Both these MSN Clients are programmed in JAVA which makes them installable on both PCs and Macs.

At present both do Video with no Audio feed.

Chatter Lists pages

This might be useful to those who ask it regularly.
If your looking for Lists of potential iChat Buddies. 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. There has been an issue with abuse on some chatrooms with malicious code being sent.

At the bottom of the "Do a Search item" in the next panel there is a link to a News item at the BBC that explains why the bigger services have stopped running that own Chatrooms which would be a source of Names/Buddies.

Lists of Chatrooms

Again a list that is becoming shorter and shorter. It used to be that you could search for Sites that listed Rooms and the Listing would be a link to launch you favourite IM app that worked with AIM chatrooms. A bit like the Buddy Listings I tend to Censor those that I find. Essentially it is now just the one.

iChat Rooms Listing

AIM's own page on this disappeared for a while and now links to Web Based Chatrooms

AIM chat rooms Edit Sept 2006. Seems to have gone by the wayside. It now points you to here where I can see no chatrooms listed.

This news Piece May have a bearing on the lack of the AIM ChatRooms.

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.

Sometimes when you click on the link on the list of ChatRoom pages you find that the link seems not to be suitable for iChat. One workaround is to Right or Control click the Link and Use the Properties item to see the link in full. Highlighting the link and then using the Apple Key and c key together to copy (it will not work from the menu item in Firefox) and paste it in the window that pops up when you use the "Go to Chat" item in the iChat File menu.

The more elegant Internet Explorer solution follows.

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

In the Mac version of Internet Explorer you can tweak the preferences to make sure iChat is your Chatroom application (if you have another AIM client). Redone for IE 5.2.3

  1. Open Internet Explorer
  2. Open the Explorer Menu.
  3. Select Preferences.
  4. In the Window that appears, scroll down to Network, and use the reveal triangle.
  5. Select Helper Protocols.
  6. Choose AIM by click on it once and deselect it as an Active choice.
  7. Now Click the Option to "Change" at the bottom of the window.
  8. In the Pop-Up window select Change and in the next navigate to the application you want to use with Chat rooms.
This makes sure the aim:gochat? html code on the web page that links to the Chatroom opens the right application.

It would be worth saving a .dmg file of Internet Explorer for your Intel Mac when you get it as it does not come as part of the Installed applications.

Chatrooms as Bookmarks

You can also add a bookmark in your web browser to Regular chatrooms
This works for at least Firefox and Safari.

Select (copy) the chatroom name by going to the View menu and the item Chat Options. (It is in the third subsection).
Next go to the Bookmarks menu in Firefox.
Select Manage Bookmarks
Use the Add Bookmark icon.
In the Location item type aim:gochat?roomname=(paste the room name here).
Fill in any other details as you see fit. Where it says New Bookmark is the name that will appear in the Bookmarks.

One note for those wishing to use this technique: In "...=(paste the room name here)", the parentheses are NOT part of the room name in the bookmark.

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© 2005 Ralph Johns: Edited 24/9/2005, 5/5/2006
Updated September 2006. Moved to Gargoyles and edited Mar 2007
Edited and lInks checked 10:57 PM Monday; September 22, 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


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.

About This Page


Three links on How-to for Jabber. How-to for Jabber to MNS, Yahoo! and others and a List of servers to achieve the same.


Bits about AIM for the PC - Links to same and help sites.
See also "Info on Other iChat sites

Speed Test Sites

Like what it says - A list of Speed Tests sites

iChat ADD-ONs

A list of links to ADD-Ons for iChat
Some of these do work in other applications as well such as iGlassses

Other Applications

Lists of other applications that can use the AIM service in some way first. Followed by stand-alone applications that have Mac and PC versions as alternatives. List of one PC app as an alternative to AIM and finally those Mac Apps that use the MSN network

See also EZJim's page on Apps with an iSight

Info on Other iChat Sites

Listing of other sites that have something to do with iChat and it's set up.

Chatters Lists

There are lists of people that use Chat Applications. This is a List of AIM and iChat based ones. They vary greatly in the way they are structured. Some are just lists - others tend to lead you to where they think you want to go. Some Cost.

'List of Chatrooms' Sites

Variation on the above in terms of meeting people. AIM and other sites list Chatrooms on web pages. These tend to be either popular rooms or topic/interest based. Most are permanent rooms (even if no-one id there when you visit).

Open iChat from a Web page

So... You want iChat to open when you use a web based link to a Chatroom ?

Book marking Chats

A How-to on adding a Chatroom as a Bookmark for Safari and Firefox.

Similar Pages

On Apps and iSight (or cameras generally).

EZJim's page on Apps with an iSight

EZJim's Common PC Chat Apps & iChat

On Other Info.

About List of Buddies A repeat.