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free instant messagingStart using the best instant messaging client out there for Mac. It’s called Adium, it connects to everything and there’s no reason for not using it.

Okay, there’s one reason – Adium does not support Facetime. But if that’s not an issue for you, Adium is a piece of software you should install. Combine all of your conversations into one great interface, then customize that interface to work exactly the way you want it to.

We’ve somehow managed to run a technology website this long without reviewing Adium. It’s insanity, but it ends now – here’s a rundown of reasons you should be using this program.

It Supports Everything

Let’s begin by pointing out the main advantage of Adium over iChat/Messages – it supports everything. Whereas Apple’s default chat client supports AIM, Yahoo and Jabber, Adium comes with built-in support for a long list of clients:

free instant messaging

  • XMPP (“Jabber”), a protocol used for:
    • Google Talk
    • LJ (LiveJournal) Talk
    • Facebook Chat
    • Gizmo5
  • MSN Messenger (soon to stop existing, replaced with Skype)
  • AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), which is used for:
    • MobileMe (formerly known as .Mac)
    • Yahoo! Messenger, including
    • Yahoo! Japan Messenger
    • ICQ
  • Bonjour (compatible with iChat)
  • Twitter
  • IRC
  • MySpaceIM
  • Gadu-Gadu
  • IBM Lotus Sametime
  • Novell GroupWise

You’ll note that Skype is not included in this list. You can install an Adium extension for Skype, but you’ll need Skype running in order to use it. Still, if you’re looking to combine all of your chats into one program, it works well.

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Beautiful Interface

But support for almost every chat platform out there isn’t all Adium offers. This program is basically beautiful. Everything works the way you’d expect. The main window includes everyone online from all of your added services (I’ve blurred everyone to protect their identities) :

mac instant message app

Click anyone to start chatting. You can combine duplicates (the same person logged into two services) by dragging one entry into another.

Do you not want to open a window? You can also quickly start a conversation from the system tray; all of your contacts are listed in the drop-down menu.

mac instant message app

And when you open a window you’ll see a clean, tabbed interface for chatting:

mac instant message app

As you can see, there’s not a lot of wasted space, especially if you use the proper theme. But if you like wasted space that’s possible too – there are many ways to customize Adium.

Customizable

But wait…there’s more. Head to AdiumXtras and you can browse tweaks for Adium to make it better. Here are a few highlights for me:

There’s more than customizations offered, however. There are many themes for the main window and the chat window – you can basically make everything look however you like. Explore the Xtras and you’ll quickly learn why Adium is revered by fans of customization.

Download Adium

Are you ready to get started? You won’t find Adium in the Mac App store, but you can find it at Adium.im. You’ll need to drag the one icon to another, but don’t worry; it’s not hard:

free instant messaging

What Do You Think?

Are you a Mac use who doesn’t use Adium? If so, why? I’d seriously love to know, because it’s among my most-used programs. I wish I could use it on other operating systems.

Are you curious about the competition? Read Tim’s writeup of Messenger Bye Bye iChat: Getting Started With The New OS X Messages App [Mountain Lion] Bye Bye iChat: Getting Started With The New OS X Messages App [Mountain Lion] As the dust surrounding Apple’s OS X Mountain Lion release settles, it’s time to evaluate whether those killer features announced earlier this year are really that good. For me the most exciting addition when I... Read More or Matt’s comparison of Adium to Trillian for Mac Trillian For Mac - A Real Alternative To Adium? Trillian For Mac - A Real Alternative To Adium? Read More .

  1. Gustavo Costa
    November 20, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    What I wasn't happy with this application is the iCloud or iMessages account because I couldn't enter with iCloud account into MobileMe, like i entered into the Messages. I wasn't happy with the plugin of Skype either because when I start the Adium, the plugin forces me to open and log in the Skype.

    • Justin Pot
      November 20, 2012 at 10:35 pm

      Yeah, sadly Skype and iCloud are both shut off to third party programs. Wish that would change.

    • J.Rotten
      April 4, 2013 at 7:04 am

      imo allow skype according to website... was looking for a bit more comparison between imo and adium. i currently use Adium on mac but would be nice to integrate skype and have OTR chats..

    • justinpot
      April 4, 2013 at 11:18 am

      Well, IMO is web-based on the desktop – there's no Mac version of the app. And it supports Skype, yes, even for video calls. Interesting.

  2. Robert Szubarga
    November 20, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    best for me. gadu-gadu (polish im) works great.

  3. Easton Wiki
    November 20, 2012 at 11:33 am

    hmm i just use Messages to connect to my facebook and google chat and all. Then also get the added bonus of iMessage.

  4. Adam Campbell
    November 20, 2012 at 3:12 am

    I use Adium on my macs and Pidgin on my Windows, Adium is way more sophisticated and user friendly, not to mention a great UI

    • Gustavo Costa
      November 20, 2012 at 10:29 pm

      Did you know Pidgin came from Linux that you hate? LOL

    • Justin Pot
      November 20, 2012 at 10:36 pm

      I don't see anything about hating Linux...

    • Gustavo Costa
      November 20, 2012 at 10:38 pm

      It's a stereotype of Mac and Windows non-expert users because they always claimed and said Linux was complicated and they had to use the commands lines. :-)~

  5. Douglas Mutay
    November 19, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Is there any version of Adium for Windows? Not talking about similar but same!

    • Justin Pot
      November 19, 2012 at 3:06 pm

      Nope! Nothing. Pidgin and Adium are based on the same core (libpurple), but are not the same.

    • Douglas Mutay
      November 19, 2012 at 3:13 pm

      Ok, thanks.

    • Gustavo Costa
      November 20, 2012 at 10:29 pm

      Adium is a Pidgin-bsaed for Mac, and Ipdigin is based on linux, but Pidgin was developed for Windows too.

    • Douglas Mutay
      November 21, 2012 at 6:43 am

      I have used Pidgin on linux, yes, quite good!

  6. Yannis Vatis
    November 19, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    It does not support Tencent QQ, which is the most popular chat network in China. Probably not so relevant for most people reading this website but there is a small number of foreigners who live in China (like myself as you probably guessed) and make use of QQ.

  7. Abhay Pathak
    November 19, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Not really cool stuff.

  8. Márcio Guerra
    November 18, 2012 at 2:20 am

    Need to try also... Not my mac, not my stuff... It is my girlfriend's mac... Respect, ehehehe!

    Cheers!

  9. Donna Steinhorn
    November 17, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    I like IMO. Adium and Trillian both gave me problems, IMO rarely does.

    • Justin Pot
      November 19, 2012 at 2:42 pm

      Web based is cool, and IMO is a great example of that. So enjoy.

  10. Nicolas Loots
    November 17, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    I've been using Trillian for a while. Still no need for another Instant Messaging client.

    • Justin Pot
      November 19, 2012 at 2:43 pm

      Used it on Windows in 2004 or so, but have been Adium so long as I've owned a Mac. Syncing with Android/iOS looks cool, so maybe I should look into this...

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