5 Replies Latest reply: Apr 11, 2013 12:20 PM by Ralph Johns (UK)
jsmith2197 Level 1 (0 points)

I had iChat, worked great.


I upgraded to mountain lion.  10.8 replaced ichat w/ iMessage (no warning).  iMessage will not allow me to send chats, text or otherwise to contacts that are not "registered" with iMessage.  I am having to use AIM in order to chat at the moment.  Did apple really intend on forcing everyone to register???


Anyway, I have many business colleagues that have iChat that I can no longer chat with through iMessage.


Does anyone know how to get back to iChat or a way for you to send messages to unregistered people?

MacBook Air, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)
  • Ralph Johns (UK) Level 9 (70,485 points)



    Messages is iChat+

    The Plus bit is the fact it now does iMessages.


    iMessages enables you to use Apple IDs or iPhone Numbers to iMessages iOS devices.

    It can also display (sync) all iMessages across all devices you have.

    It also enables you to send as if from your iPhone Number from within Messages  (At OS X 10.8.2 and iOS 6)


    The AIM Buddy list(s) work just the same way as they did in iChat, as do the Jabber and Yahoo options.

    The Bonjour option to chat to Macs on your LAN also remains.


    Buddy lists can be shown on the Desk top via the Window Menu > Buddies.

    By default this is a combined list. They can be separated via the setting in the General Section of the Preferences.


    Working this way the main Messages window becomes a Tabbed Chat window in effect.


    As with AIM, Jabber IDs and Yahoo IDs iMessages requires you to register which is like every other Messaging service such as those mentioned and MSN/Live, Skype, ICQ and Gadu.



    9:49 PM      Wednesday; December 5, 2012

    Please, if posting Logs, do not post any Log info after the line "Binary Images for iChat"


      iMac 2.5Ghz 5i 2011 (Mountain Lion 10.8.2)
     G4/1GhzDual MDD (Leopard 10.5.8)
     MacBookPro 2Gb (Snow Leopard 10.6.8)
     Mac OS X (10.6.8),
     Couple of iPhones and an iPad

    "Limit the Logs to the Bits above Binary Images."  No, Seriously

  • BrucerK Level 1 (0 points)

    I have the same issue/question.  Unfortunately, while Ralph's response probably makes sense, I can't understand it, as not familiar with much of the jargon.  I just want to text whoever I choose to from my iMac, same as on my iPhone (no one needs to be registered there!).  No idea why Apple would make this cumbersome - but is there an easy way to accomplish exchanging texts to "unregistered" users from iMac??

  • Ralph Johns (UK) Level 9 (70,485 points)



    I am not sure myself there is any jargon as such in the post.


    However I will try to explain things another way by explain the History of iChat which will explain how we get to Messages today.


    There are several major messaging services out there.






    When Apple developed iChat (version 1) they elected to make it an app suitable for the AIM Service. (A so called Client App)

    They also made an Agreement with AIM that the then Apple IDs issued by Apple (ending @mac.com) would be recognised as Valid AIM Screen Names.


    Contacting Buddies was essentially through a Buddy list.


    iChat 2 made things A/V (Video and Audio Chats)


    iChat 3 added Jabber abilities.

    Google run a Jabber server for their Google Talk services.

    Jabber allows different servers all over the place to join the services so it is decentralised compared to AIM.

    This means the Buddies ID also has part of the server name as part of their ID.

    This gave you two Buddy lists.

    Buddy lists are separate at this time.


    Buddy lists.png


    iChat 4 allows multiple Jabber and AIM logins (multiple accounts or each type meaning many Buddy lists)


    Multiple Buddy lists.png


    Basically at this point you have AIM and AIM Valid names and Jabber IDs forming "Accounts" in the list in the App menu > Preferences > Accounts.

    This example pic is from Messages and the iMessages account is to of the list.

    Accounts with Buddy lists.png



    Then we add in iMessages in the changed name app now called Messages.


    iMessages comes from the iPhones and iPads.

    On an iOS it can tell if it is calling another iMessages registered ID (Apple ID or iPhone Number) and if it is not It sends an SMS  message.

    It uses the same balloon style to the Messages that iChat has.  (Actually iChat has options on this front).

    It was added to iChat as an Account you can have to message/Text direct to people's iPhones (iPads and iPod Touches get included).

    It does not have a Buddy list.

    You get a new interface window that also serves as a tabbed chat window.

    From this Interface window you can access the Contacts List to select who you will iMessage.

    Messages window2-2.png



    iChat was an AIM Client app (could login in to the AIM Service)

    Later Jabber was added so it became  a Jabber and AIM client app.

    Later still came the ability to login more than one AIM and one Jabber Buddy list/Account.


    Most recently Apple have added the ability to use the iPhone and iPad messaging service called iMessages.

    This does not add a Buddy list to select who you contact but uses the Main Messages window as a interface to access the Contacts list for iPhone Numbers and Apple IDs  (that have been registered for iMessages)


    From earlier

    On an iOS it can tell if it is calling another iMessages registered ID (Apple ID or iPhone Number) and if it is not It sends an SMS  message.


    The iPhone does not make it plain if people are registered for iMessages or not it just sends SMS if it can't IMessage the phone number.

    The only way to tell is if the Conversation is using blue or green Balloons for the text messages.


    So in more general terms iChat was a Messaging app that could work with AIM and Jabber  (Actually at iChat 6 Yahoo was added)

    At the change of name for Mountain Lion the iMessages ability of iOS devices was shoe-horned into iChat creating what is effectively iChat+ and it is given the name Messages.


    Like the Messages app on the iPhone the Mac iMessages side can invoke FaceTime to Video to those same contacts.

    The other accounts/Buddy lists retain the ability to Video or Audio only chat as if in iChat, which can be upto 4 people including yourself in Video and 10 people in Audio Only chats.


    I have kept away from Screen Sharing and iChat Theater that the Buddy list side can do when contacting Buddies.


    A Starting Point if you want More



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    10:04 PM      Wednesday; January 9, 2013

    Please, if posting Logs, do not post any Log info after the line "Binary Images for iChat"


      iMac 2.5Ghz 5i 2011 (Mountain Lion 10.8.2)
     G4/1GhzDual MDD (Leopard 10.5.8)
     MacBookPro 2Gb (Snow Leopard 10.6.8)
     Mac OS X (10.6.8),
     Couple of iPhones and an iPad

    "Limit the Logs to the Bits above Binary Images."  No, Seriously

  • chitty73 Level 1 (0 points)

    Ok, I kinda get that...BUT it still doesn't fix the problem. 


    I have just got  a new mac out of the box that has imessage.  I have a brother who uses ichat.  I put in his email address (the one he uses for his ichat) and tried to send him a message, but it says that it cannot be sent because he is not registered to imessage.  What do I need to do so we can communicate?


    (on a side note - I can't even figure out how to get it so my "add a buddy" option isn't greyed out.  From what I gather of what ralph has said, buddy lists are used in imessage as you just have ongoing lists of conversations like in the iphone?)

  • Ralph Johns (UK) Level 9 (70,485 points)



    Yes new Macs with OS X 10.8.x installed (Mountain Lion) have the Messages App.

    The Messages App  is not in itself iMessages.

    The two words are not really interchangeable and mean two different things.


    One of the accounts you can set up in Messages in the iMessage account.

    Generally this is the thing your have to do first when running the Messages app for the first time.


    Open the app and go to Messages Menu > Preferences > Account and Press the + button under the list of accounts  (You should have at least iMessages and Bonjour in the List)

    In this new pane the top item is a drop down.

    It will list AIM, Google, Jabber and  Yahoo with lines between AIM and Google then Jabber and Yahoo.

    This is to indicate Google is a Jabber account.



    Your iMessages account is created by listing your Apple ID.

    This could be an iCloud ID (ending @me.com or @icloud.com) or and Older @mac.com Apple issued ID.

    Alternatively your Apple ID could be any email  that you registered at Apple.


    Essentially an Apple ID is an email whether issued by them or using an external one.

    Meaning that iMessages uses Email Addresses Or iPhone numbers.



    From iChat.

    AIM names can be gained from here

    You will see if you visit this site that it suggests the name will have @aim.com added to it.

    Screen Shot 2013-04-11 at 19.42.16.png


    It used to be that this page would tell you you could use an existing email (similar to using any email at Apple).

    (*At present the page will not create a name with two @ symbols in it)


    Previously the page also did not add the @aim.com and you used the Username part on it's own.


    Apple also have an Agreement with AIM that any ID they have issued is a valid AIM Screeen Name.

    This includes all the @mac.com ID there have ever been (Paid for accounts, Trial Accounts and Lapsed Accounts)

    The MobileMe @me.com account converted to iCloud will work.

    @me.com IDs/Accounts issued by iCloud will work as will the more recent @icloud.com

    For some people who had .Mac (@mac.com) accounts and then updated to MobileMe and then to iCloud may in fact have three IDs

    These are regarded by AIM as three Separate Screen Names even though Apple will regard them as one.



    Your Apple ID can be used in the iMessages Account AND it can be added (again) as an AIM account (use the + Button).


    If your Apple ID is based on an email not issued by Apple (like a Yahoo or MSN email) then these will not work as AIM valid names (only the ones issued by Apple)

    If you have added an AIM account the list should look a little like this:-


    Accounts Prefs-2.png


    Of course the same can be said for your Buddies.

    It is more likely to be an AIM account with their ID if they are using iChat (as it does not have iMessages abilities).


    At this point you can hopefully see that an AIM valid Screen Name may also be an email.

    In some cases it may also be an Apple ID.



    You can Chat AIM to AIM  or iMessage to iMessage but not across services.

    This is a very broad brush statement but is generally true.

    However by the time you get to discussing Jabber and Yahoo accounts there are ways of having AIM Buddies appear in Jabber Lists etc.

    AIM offer links to add your Google Buddies to an AIM List,  Google do similar for AIM just to make life interesting.


    This means though that your Brother's email used in iChat is likely to be registered or usable with AIM if it is his Apple ID as well.

    However you need to create an AIM valid Account in Messages to be able to Chat to him.


    8:20 PM      Thursday; April 11, 2013


      iMac 2.5Ghz 5i 2011 (Mountain Lion 10.8.3)
     G4/1GhzDual MDD (Leopard 10.5.8)
     MacBookPro 2Gb (Snow Leopard 10.6.8)
     Mac OS X (10.6.8),
     Couple of iPhones and an iPad

    "Limit the Logs to the Bits above Binary Images."  No, Seriously