Ralph Johns

iChat Information Pages


These iChat Version 1 pages are coloured Blue and have the iChat 1 icon on them that was in use at the time so that you know where you are.

iChat Icon

iChat (Version 1) Functions

What Can It Do.

iChat (version 1) can IM other AIM based/compatible IM clients. This means you can Text chats to Buddies who have valid AIM screen names that include @mac.com Email IDs whether they are Full and Paid for or Trial accounts (that work after the 60 Days ) or lapsed (full account no longer paid for) ones. That means you can have an AIM name or an @mac Name and text Chat to anyone with a valid AIM ID

It uses Rendezvous (Apple's own Zero Configuration Networking) to do the same to other Macs on your LAN. It does this with another Buddy List which adds Buddies, if they are running iChat, automatically. It uses their own Address Book to show you the Buddy's Name.

Botto of Buddy List

Starting a Text chat is as Simple as Double clicking on the line with the Buddy's name in the Buddy List or the Button as the bottom of the Buddy List (looks like a Speech Bubble with an exclamation mark in it - like the icon has to the top right of this panel).

It can send and receive Files and send Pictures as part of the Text chat. It can join Group Chats (or "Rooms").

Chatrooms follow two basic Formats. Predetermined, almost permanent Rooms dedicated to something like a Celebrity or Interest and ones created on a more Ad-hoc basis for a group of friends or Buddies. This determines how the Room or Group chat is named.

Sending a file whilst Text Chatting or Sending a Pic in the Chat changes the Chat from an everyday Text Chat into a Direct Chat. This changes the Protocol that iChat uses over the Internet from TCP to UDP. This can be important to some Routers and Modems not only in iChat (ver 1) but the later versions as well.

iChat 1, Pictures and How-tos

Formatting Chats

This is different in iChat 1 compared to other versions. When sending Text there are some simple options to format the text is provided by buttons at the bottom of the Chat window as can be seen in the picture on the right - as well as from the Format Menu.

iChat Format Menu

Using the Format Menu you can change the Font and the Colour or Text either before you type it or by highlighting individual letters or words

iChat Version 1

File Sending/Attaching Files

There are also buttons for the Smilies and attaching Files. You can also drag files to the Text Entry point and after clicking in the text field so it is not highlighted the file will then be sent when you next hit the enter key. This means you can add text with the File or picture.

Sending files can also be done by dropping the File on the Buddy's Name in the Buddy List.

Files are anything on your Mac including Movies and pictures. See the Right Panel for the variant on sending Pictures.

Files cannot be sent in Group chats other than dropping them on individual Buddies in the Buddy List one at a time.

Pictures as Files

Placing a picture in the actual window will make it a Background. I mention this as it is an easy mistake to make.

(ichat 4 pic to demonstrate)

Background Example

Placing in the Text Field and hitting enter after releasing it (click in the text field so the file is not Highlighted) will send it like a file but it will be displayed in the Chat. Dragging the window bigger will expand the picture until it is full size if your Screen is big enough.

Pic in Chat

(iChat 4 pic again for demo )

Displaying Info In Chats

From the View Menu when the Chat window is the Front window you get several options on what is displayed about yourself and your Buddy, (greyed out in this pic).

View Menu Dropped

This can be Buddy Pic only, Name only (as Displayed in the Buddy List) or both Pic and Name.

The pictures from iChat 4 in the panel above show my "Sig pIc" picture which is my Buddy pic. Your side does not bother with your Name under the Buddy pic like the incoming ones do.

Start Up

If you have not already done so, run the Application for the First time to get the Start Up Screens. You will have less choices in iChat 1 than the range shown in the Start Up Pictures but these should give you an Idea of what you will see.

If you have an @mac ID entered in your Address Book on your My Card the Start Up Screens will be pre-filled with this Info. The same is true if you have an AIM one in the Address Book. Otherwise get one first.

Adding Buddies.

It is required if you want to initiate Chats with your Buddies that you either Add them to the Buddy List or use the Go to Chat item in the File Menu.


These are pictures/icons that are held in the iChat app that then replace certain keystrokes when you type them.

For instance typing the text based :-) produces Smiley in the text at your end and is displayed by the Buddy the same way. (the :-) is still sent as Text, it is the the iChat at either end that displays it as an icon.)

In the View Menu there is an Option not to Display (Hide) them.

Range of Smiley pics in iChat 4

Smiley options

There are less in iChat 1 but you can see Angry pic is highlighted and the text equivalent is shown below. It should be enough for you to ge the idea.

Saving Transcripts

iChat1 Account  Prefs

There is an Option in the Messages Preferences to Save Transcripts of the Text chats you have had. This option has to be set before they are saved.

They are saved in your own Users Folder/Documents/iChats by date and time and Buddy's Name.

In the File Menu the option to Open will allow you to review these and Open Recent Opens old Transcripts you have Opened before (not a new Chat).


iChat can join the AIM service with an AIM valid name from either AIM itself or from @mac.com (or it's newer replacement MobileMe Names).

It can chat to other Macs (Buddies) over Rendezvous on your LAN.

It can send FIles in Text chats as well as "loose" by dropping them on Buddy's name in the Buddy List.

It can send Picture as Files by dropping them on a Buddy or have them displayed in the Chat.

Text can be changed as to Font and Colour as presets or by altering the text you are about to Send.

Sig Pic

Created 3:19 PM Monday; August 25, 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

This page describes briefly about iChat's (version 1) Functions

Formatting Text Chats

File Sending Including Pictures in Chats with reference to Setting the Chat Background at your end.

Deciding whether to Display Names, Buddy Pics or both in Text chat.

Brief reminder about the Start Up Screens

Pointing to the How-to on Adding Buddies.

A small piece on Smilies followed by the pic of the range in iChat 4 which included Thumbs Up and Down not in other versions



"AIM" can be used in such a fashion that it seems interchangeable. This is not always the case.


AIM For Mac - I will normally say when I mean this App. The latest (and last but current) is AIM 4.7

AIM on a PC - Several versions are in use:-

  • AIM 5.5 Current about iChat 1
  • AIM 5.9 Current from iChat 2 and remains in use.
  • AIM 6.1, 6.5 & 6.8 Current from iChat 3 onwards 6.5 and after are somewhat Vista centric.

Buddy List

AIM - as in the primary function and Login of iChat. iChat version 1 was primarily a AIM IM Client. Whether you use a Name gained from AOL/AIM/Netscape or other AOL company or from Apple the server the Buddy list logs into is the AIM one.

In later versions the distinction between the AIM Buddy List and the Jabber one becomes more important. In iChat 1 we are concerned with just an AIM Buddy List and the Rendezvous/Bonjour one
(Rendezvous became Bonjour at Tiger (10.4) )

Screen Name

AIM - as in the Screen Name that you have in use as opposed to an Apple one.
(Apple have in July 2008 changed from using the .mac and @mac.com names and moved current @mac.com accounts to MobileMe. New MobileMe Screen Names come as @me.com suffixes if you did not have a @mac name before.)

.Mac, @mac.com and @mac

As with "AIM" these terms can mean different things at different times.

Screen Names

As with AIM the most common spread of usage is about the Screen Names of you and your Buddies, with questions on the Apple Discussions Boards being "Do you/they have an @mac.com/.mac account ?" or "Are you/they using an @mac Name ?"

Buddy List

It does seem odd after 5 years on iChat through version 1 - 4 but some people still seem surprised that iChat logs into the AIM servers with an @mac.com Screen Name.
So again questions like this, using one of the terms, tend to get asked on the Apple Discussion Boards.


There is not a @Mac/.Mac IM application.

There is however an Preference Pane in System Preferences that is labeled .Mac (Until the MobileMe update) that has links with many Apple Applications such as iChat, the Address Book, possibly iTunes and in later OS versions iWeb


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.