Helpful iChat articles and information

Find tips and links to helpful iChat articles.

iChat lets you easily chat via text, audio, or video with other iChat, iCloud, Google Talk, and AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) users over the Internet, or on your local network via Bonjour. You can also send and receive files with iChat.

How do I get an iChat account?
You can use an existing iCloud ( or account ID or an AIM account ID. If you don't have either, sign up for an iCloud account or an AIM account. Once you've created the iCloud account, be sure to follow the steps in this article to create a email address to be used with iChat. 

How do I use iChat for audio or video chats in Mac OS X?
Make sure your computer meets the iChat system requirements.  See Mac 101: iChat for more information. Note: Video chats require a camera designed for this kind of chat, such as a camera that's built in to certain Macs.

How do I install iChat?
iChat is automatically installed in the Applications folder. The first time you open iChat, a setup assistant will help you configure basic settings.

I can't seem to chat with anyone. What can I do?
Make sure you have the correct ID of the person(s) you want to chat with. iChat supports chatting with iCloud, AIM, and Google Talk users.

If the issues persists, as a troubleshooting step, try chatting via Bonjour on your local network if available (you can turn Bonjour on in iChat preferences). Also, see the rest of the tips and links in this document.

How can I chat with two or more people in the same Instant Message window?
Use a group chat instead of an Instant Message. You can select multiple people in your Buddy List, then click the "A" button to start a group chat.

Can I communicate with people who use AIM for Windows?
Yes, with iChat you can chat with an AIM user via text, and you can use two-way video conferencing (with iChat v2.1 or later). With Mac OS X v10.4 or later, you can perform an audio conference with the latest available AIM client, as well as a two-way video conference.

In an audio chat on my portable Mac, I only hear sound from one speaker. Why?
See iChat: Only right speaker makes sound during audio or video chats.

Do I need to do something to use iChat with a firewall or a NAT router?
You might need to: See Using iChat with a firewall or NAT router.

What can I do if video or audio "skips" sometimes when I'm on a wireless network?
See iChat: Intermittent video or audio issues with a wireless network.

My camera's picture-in-picture and video snapshots are "mirrored"?
Others will see you the way you'd expect. See iChat's picture-in-picture and Snapshot is "mirrored."

My friend is using AIM but can't chat with me.
Your friend may need to install a newer version of AIM.

I hear a beep when I try to send a file to a buddy. How can I send the file?
Simply send your buddy a text message first.

I receive this alert: "Your camera is in use by another application".
See "Your camera is in use by another application" message.

Why can't I chat with people in my buddy list when their name is dimmed (grayed out)?

That means the person isn't logged into iChat or AIM; they have to be logged in and not invisible before you can chat.

If you try to send a direct Instant Message to an AIM user who isn't logged on, iChat will state "AIM error: The person is not currently online".

Also, you might have Privacy settings enabled.

Additional Information

Check out Apple iChat Discussions for more tips and information.

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Last Modified: Aug 2, 2014
  • Last Modified: Aug 2, 2014
  • Article: HT2008
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