About iChat: iChat 5

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iChat 5

iChat 5 comes with Snow Leopard (OS 10.6.x). At the time of writing that is 10.6 through 10.6.3 iChat was updated to verion 5.0.1 in 10.6.2 and tp version 5.0.3 in 10.6.3

As with other versions here are the links to:

  1. Functions
  2. Pictures
  3. and How Tos

There are small but significant changes to the way iChat works in some areas. I will describe some of them in this front page to iChat 5


Preferences Panes

In the General Secion the option Check box reading "Use the Same Status Message for All Accounts", is a new option. The Buddy Lists, which still include AIM login options (AIM and Apple IDs) and the Jabber ones which include GoogeTalk, can now have different Status Messages. The Setting is in the iChat Menu > Preferences > General Section and is Off by default allowing the different Messages.

In the Accounts section of the Preferences, the Port change to AIM login accounts now has to be confirmed by pressing the Enter/Return key. Regular Posters at the Apple Discussions have long recommended changing to port 443 (Server Settings tab). Some have found that the SSL tick box has to be selected first to do this, although it can be removed afterwards.

In the Messages Pane the option to "Remember Open Chats across launch has been replaced with "In New Chat Window, Show" with a drop down of several choices. At present it needs "Save transcripts to be On. If Save Transcripts is On and this new option is Off you get blank Chat windows with the last Buddy's info across the top. The setting can, however, be useful to find the last time your Chatted to someone if you cannot remember when.

In the Alerts the only change is to an AppleScript that mixes up Text Chats text. What it does is alternate between Upper and lower case letters. Font choice (In Messages) determines whether it is readable. It can be set to Outgoing and Incoming Messages. I have yet to try this with the Speech Option (View menu) as the syntax may be changed.

There are no changes to the Video/Audio pane except the Bandwidth Limit drop down is now the only control of what speed iChat uses (there is no System Preferences > Quicktime > Streaming option)


There is no change to the Buddy List Display. However the Status Messages can be deleted or added here and are not always removed from the Menu Bar icon drop down. This is due to the fact that Status Messages may be needed for other Buddy Lists (See the General Section listed first in the Preferences Panes section)

The Adding Buddies slide out has changed. Buddies no longer have to be added as to type in the AIM Server logged in names. This in turn means you type their name in full as in username@mac.com.

In Text Chat windows the Show Participants header bar is always On ( set in the View Menu which has no effect). The bar does offer the choice of which of any any accounts you have and they have to make the Connection no matter which Buddy List the person was in in the first place. Clicking on their Screen Name at the top show the options of To: and From: accounts


There are no changes in the Menus until the Edit menu. With a Text Chat window open you get opens on Substitutions. Text substitutions links with the Language and Text System Preference Pane which is also where you set your Spelling Language option. There are other Smart Substitutions for Quotes, Dashes and Links.

In the View Menu I have pointed out already the "Show Recipient Bar" no longer is effective.

The next change is to the Connection Doctor in the Video Menu. This now list a Network Status choice in the drop down which gives clues to the NAT method your routing device uses. iChat Help now clearly says that iChat "prefers" Full Cone NAT. Use the in the Connection Doctor to find out more.

Menu Bar Icon

This remains an Option to turn On. It is linked to a new .plist that holds the default Status Messages. It also reads those Saved by you in com.apple.ichat.plist. These do not appear to be working in harmony. You can delete them using the Buddy List including the Apple standard ones but they remain in the Menu Bar Icon List. Deleting com.apple.ichat.plist resolves the issue on further deletions

A further note on this. iChat has always listed the limit as being 42 characters. In iChat 3 you could save longer ones. In iChat 4 this displaced the Menu Bar drop down towards the left. This continues in iChat 5 until you get to about 60 characters when it will effectively move Off screen (It depends somewhat on how wide your Screen Is and where the Menu Bar icon is as it can be dragged to the right of others towards Spotlight. Deleting an excessively long Status Message resolves the issue.

Sig Pic


© Ralph Johns October 2009
Edited: June 3rd 2010.



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Information Block

This site is about iChat from Version 1 through to iChat 5.x

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

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