Adium – The Ultimate Instant Messaging App [Mac]

Ads by Google

adium icon   Adium   The Ultimate Instant Messaging App [Mac]Start 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:

adium supported   Adium   The Ultimate Instant Messaging App [Mac]

  • 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.

Ads by Google

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) :

adium main   Adium   The Ultimate Instant Messaging App [Mac]

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.

adium tray   Adium   The Ultimate Instant Messaging App [Mac]

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

adium chatting   Adium   The Ultimate Instant Messaging App [Mac]

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.


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 You’ll need to drag the one icon to another, but don’t worry; it’s not hard:

adium install   Adium   The Ultimate Instant Messaging App [Mac]

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 or Matt’s comparison of Adium to Trillian for Mac.

Ads by Google

23 Comments - Write a Comment


Nicolas Loots

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

Justin Pot

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…


Donna Steinhorn

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

Justin Pot

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


Márcio Guerra

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



Abhay Pathak

Not really cool stuff.


Yannis Vatis

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.


Douglas Mutay

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

Justin Pot

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

Douglas Mutay

Ok, thanks.

Gustavo Costa

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

Douglas Mutay

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


Adam Campbell

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

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

Justin Pot

I don’t see anything about hating Linux…

Gustavo Costa

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. :-)~


Easton Wiki

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


Robert Szubarga

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


Gustavo Costa

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

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


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..


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.

Your comment