Adium – The Ultimate Instant Messaging App [Mac]

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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.


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:

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

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This article may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

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