Set up iChat

Set up iChat
Mac Tip #277/21-Feb-2007

If you followed last week’s Tip, Chat around the World, and signed up for an AOL screen name you’re ready to chat. Every new Mac comes with iChat in the Applications folder.

The iChat Setup Assistant

iChat Setup Assistant

iChat Setup Assistant

Start up iChat. If you’ve never used it before a Setup Assistant appears to help you through the set up process.

Read the information and click Continue.

Enter your screen name

iChat - enter the screen name you signed up for

iChat - enter the screen name you signed up for

On the next screen enter your name, choose AIM as the Account Type, enter the screen name you signed up for and the password you chose, then click Continue.

Ignore Jabber (unless you know what it is)

iChat - the Jabber screen

iChat - the Jabber screen

Unless you know what Jabber is, ignore that screen for now and click Continue.

Bonjour messaging

iChat - the Bonjour screen

iChat - the Bonjour screen

Bonjour messaging is useful if you have other computers nearby, as the next screen explains. Make a choice and click Continue.

iChat — the camera screen

iChat - the camera screen

iChat - the camera screen

If you have a modern Mac with an iSight camera above the monitor then the next screen may take you by surprise as you should suddenly see yourself. A green light beside the camera will be lit too.

Ready to chat!

iChat - ready to chat!

iChat - ready to chat!

A final screen tells you how you can get underway and how to change the settings you’ve just chosen. Click Done to quit the Setup Assistant.

The Buddy List and the Bonjour List

iChat - the Buddy List and the Bonjour List

iChat - the Buddy List and the Bonjour List

Two windows appear: the Bonjour window shows computers nearby that have chat available, while the Buddy List shows a list of people whose chat address you have saved on the Instant Messaging server.

Add a Buddy manually

iChat - find a name in your Address Book

iChat - find a name in your Address Book

To add a new buddy make sure the Buddy List window is active (click on it once, if necessary) then go to the Buddies… menu and choose Add Buddy…. A window into your Mac’s Address Book appears.

If your new buddy is already in your Mac’s Address Book select their name from the Address Book list. Otherwise, click New Person, choose their Account Type, enter their screen name, then click Add. Their screen name is added to your Buddy List. The name is dimmed in your Buddy list if they’re not online, or are online but don’t have their chat software running.

If they come online and start up their Chat software their screen name will appear in black in the Buddy List. Double click their name and you can start chatting.

See also: Chat with iChat.

Tags ,

Related posts

[wpzon keywords="pressure cooker" sindex="PCHardware" snode="1232597011" sort="salesrank" listing="8"]


  1. Michi said:

    I got the new iMac this morning for christmas, but no matter where i look, i can’t find ichat.

  2. Lacey said:

    thank you for your instruction, but I can’t find what I need to fix my ichat. I guessed I set up a while ago but I couldn’t remember my password and I can’t removed old screen name and set up a new one. How can I do that? When I open ichat, it kept trying to log my old but wrong password. How can I stop that and get a new account? Many Thanks!

  3. pris said:

    The iChat assistant doesn’t come up…probably because when I got my Mac, I just click away to see how things worked…how can I bring it back?? thank you

  4. Miraz said:

    Karen, you need to talk to the helpdesk of the service that holds your password. Presumably that’s AIM or even .Mac, or perhaps Jabber etc.

  5. karen said:

    I forgot my password so when I go to retrieve my password it asks for the last 4 digits of my previous payment. I haven’t made a previous payment so what do I enter in this field.

  6. wes said:

    hi, how do i delete and old username? i want to delete my last one and add on my new aim account.

  7. Bill Macklin said:

    I too have skipped over the iChat setup page and after registering for GMail have tried to get the iChat setup pages back. They do not appear to be accessible under any of the non-grayed out commands in the dropdowns. How does one get the setup back and why is Apple so absolutely stupid about custeomer relations as to allow this sort of thing to happen with no instructions?

  8. Anushree said:


    How do I change the email address I used to log into ichat on my iMac? I used a gmail acount to use gtalk with jabber, but now I want to log in using another gmail account.

    How do I do it? Please help.

  9. Natasha said:

    Hey. Um well i have a mac computer and i have ichat but i havent set it up yet.
    Well my sister clivked onto t nd then closed it and i dont no what she did but the account settings to fill in my aim name now dont come up is there any way i can put these settings in another way, PLEASSEEE HELPPP!
    Crazy And Confuesed,

  10. Haley Crew said:

    I have been fidding with ichat for hours and I am finally available online but the buddy menu list is dimmed and i can not add buddies. My boyfriend sees that i am online and had added me and started a chat but i am not getting his messages because i don’t have him added. There is no ‘+’ sign at the bottom of the Aim Buddy list either. I don’t know what i am doing wrong ??

  11. Pingback: Chat around the world — Mac Tips

  12. Miraz Jordan said:

    Doug: are you actually online when you try to add a buddy? I notice that everything in the Buddies menu on my machine is dimmed until iChat has actually completed its online connection. Then Add Buddy becomes available.

    Most of the other items on that menu are only available once you select a buddy in the Buddy List.

  13. Doug Engel said:

    New to ichat. Have version 4.0.5/ Don’t understand how to add buddies. Everything is dimmed in the pull-down menu under “buddies” so I can’t access any of the features. What am I doing wrong??

  14. H.Peet said:

    Solved! Delete this: “”
    But now i have a another probelm.
    I can delete the appleu3test03 AIM from my buddy list?
    When i delete it’s always disappears and after always coming back.

  15. H.Peet said:

    So I’m trying to add a buddy. When i do, his name will flash three times, then stop. About 3 seconds later, his name disappears completely from my list.

    Now we can IM each other fine, so I don’t know what the problem is.

  16. Stephen Chape said:

    Just started trying iChat. No prob with chat, but cannot connect using audio or video. When either my friend or me accept a call from each other it stops and gives a message (can’t recall what it says right now).

  17. Livy said:

    When I set up the ichat I accidently skipped the step where I could sign up for an imac name or jabber account. Now I can’t seem to get back to it?

  18. Miraz said:

    Joyce, go to the Window menu and choose to display the AIM Buddy List. Then click the + at the bottom of that window to add a buddy.

  19. Joyce said:

    I have anew Imac with Leopard and am trying to use Ichat. My account is set up and when I open Ichat the top of the window says Bonjour, it shows my name and picture and says “available” like it should. Now, how do I add a Buddy? When I click the Buddy tab at the top of the page all my choices are grayed out so I can’t select them. Any ideas? No matter what I try, I can’t seem to add any Buddies.
    Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.

  20. Miraz Jordan said:

    Richard, if you have a modem that suggests you’re on dial-up. Video may not work.

    Look in iChat preferences under video and see what the Bandwidth limit is set to. Perhaps changing that would help?

    Otherwise try the Apple support forums. Start here:

  21. Miraz Jordan said:

    Michael: try showing the Buddy List and click on the triangle below your username. Choose Edit Status menu.

    You’ll probably find something in there.

  22. Richard Smith said:

    my daughter and i have set up iChat but can not get audio or video. Neither of us are wireless and both have the same type modem. We have checked all of the settings sound on etc. but still can not get either of the above. Any suggestions and help would be appreciated.

  23. Michael said:

    Great tip!
    I have a question. I set up my jabber account in ichat and was able to import all of my MSN friends. Above my online status, my name appears as I would like it to be. However, when I am typing to friends, they see the yahoo email account name that I used to set up the jabber. I can’t seem to get this email account name to go away so that my friends just see my name when I type to them. I have tried everything! Any suggestions? Thank you!!

Comments are closed.