6 Alternative Chat Applications for MSN on Mac OS X

Wez Pyke 11-04-2008

If you are a user of Mac OS X you’ll probably know that the MSN application that Microsoft has developed for OS X isn’t really that amazing. For starters you can’t have a video chat with a friend or talk via a microphone using MSN on OS X. Also the interface for the application doesn’t look all that amazing.


So I have decided to make a list of five alternative chat MSN applications out there for Mac OS X that have better functionality and allow you to customize the look and feel of the application.

(1) Adium

adium Many Mac users will most likely have heard of Adium. Adium is probably the biggest multi-protocol instant messaging application that there is for Mac. It can connect to AIM, MSN, Jabber, Yahoo and several others. Adium uses the libpurple library for most of its functionality so it is very stable. Adium allows users to customize almost anything within the application such as the buddylist window, chat window, sound sets, dock icon, status icons, plugins, apple scripts and so on.

The only downside to Adium is that, like MSN Messenger OS X, it doesn’t support video chats or chatting with a microphone. Overall however Adium is probably the most stable and most customizable messaging application there is out there for MSN on Mac OS X.

(2) Proteus


Proteus Proteus is a Cocoa application so it runs at native speeds on OS X. Proteus doesn’t just support MSN – it also supports AIM, ICQ, Yahoo and Jabber. Just like every other MSN client in this application so far, Proteus also allows customization of the contacts list, messaging window, sound set and status icons.

Proteus also allows for SMS forwarding in case you’re away from your computer and waiting for an important message from someone. I really like Proteus and think that it has some nice effects that finish the application off nicely and make it a nice application to have open. A downside to Proteus though is, just like Adium, it doesn’t support video chat.

(3) Fire

fire Fire is identical to Proteus as it is also a Cocoa application. So it also runs at native speeds on OS X and supports many IM clients (7 in total), not just MSN.


Fire is quite a nice application and lets you customize the sound sets, add feature plugins and choose between visual themes. It’s also open source so if there’s a feature which you would like to add to it and you know your way around XCode then you can.

(4) Mercury Messenger

mercurymessenger Mercury Messenger is a Java based MSN application and because it’s Java, it also works with Windows and Linux.

A great feature about Mercury Messenger is that it supports video chat. Just this feature alone makes Mercury Messenger an essential application that you need on your Mac if you want to video chat to your friends and clients on MSN. You can also stream video files over your webcam stream which is a really cool feature. Mercury Messenger is customizable but not to the extent that you can customize Adium. With Mercury Messenger you can add plugins, change the skin and add custom emoticons to friends but that’s as far as customization with Mercury Messenger goes.


A nice thing about Mercury Messenger is that it is portable 100 Portable Apps for Your USB Stick for Windows and macOS Portable apps let you take your favorite software anywhere via a flash drive or cloud storage. Here are 100 of them to cover your every need, from games to image editors. Read More and can run from a USB memory stick. So you can load up Mercury Messenger and use it from any computer with the internet access.

(5) aMSN

amsn aMSN is much like Mercury Messenger because it’s Java based and it runs on Windows and Linux as well as OS X. aMSN also supports video chat just like Mercury Messenger. Additionally is also supports video conferencing (unlike Mercury Messenger).

aMSN comes in about 40 languages worldwide so if you don’t speak very good English then download the version of aMSN in your own language. A nice feature about aMSN is that it allows you to send and receive voice clips just like Windows Live Messenger for Windows. With aMSN you can also sign into more than one MSN account at once without having to open up other MSN clients.


Just like Adium and Mercury Messenger, aMSN also has tabbed windows to keep all your current messaging windows together and organized. Plugins and skins are also supported with aMSN so you can customize the application up a bit.

6. Honorable Mention (Pidgin)

pidgin Pidgin was originally compiled for Windows and Linux but if you do a little bit of searching around Google you can find ways how to port Pidgin over to OS X in just a few minutes. Pidgin is a very nice application and definitely worth checking out. If you’re interested check our post on Pidgin Tips Pidgin - Tips and Tricks Read More here.

Related topics: Chat Client, Instant Messaging.

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  1. ricardo
    January 17, 2010 at 7:40 am

    amsn is not java based, rather, is TCL/TK app.

    I think Im gonna try Fire. Thanks for this list!

  2. hgfhh
    January 12, 2010 at 1:51 am

    Aimersoft Video Converter for Mac is the optimal Mac Video Converter for portable players. With this best Mac Video Converter, you can easily convert your favorite videos for iPhone, iPod, PSP and other players on Mac OS X.

  3. David
    December 3, 2009 at 9:42 am

    What was the point of listing 2 of the packages that dont work with MSN? anyways aMSN does suck but use it if you need cam support otherwise stick to Adium.

  4. Fizzlers
    September 1, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    I just logged in to say a BIG THANK YOU to CERI and his comment below!! I have been trying for WEEKS to get my msn back working again, and he gave me the solution!!
    Dude(?), I dont know you, and i dont know if you'll read this, but from my heart...THANKS!!
    and to this site too..THANK YOU!!! :) God bless you guys!! :)

    Hi are you running Peer Guardian on your mac that was my problem… If so on the start bar top right hand corner of your display there will be a peer guardian icon on mine it Displays PG right click it go to Lists, if Microsoft is ticked un-tick it & you should then be able to log in your IM programmes, Enjoy!"

  5. Annie
    July 23, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    I've just downloaded aMSN on my mac the other person is on a PC we don't seem to be able to connect... Is this POSSIBLE.. can anyone help before I'm driven to complete craziness..

  6. jon
    June 4, 2009 at 4:58 am

    hi can you download aMSN which aparently has video and msn which does also in corperate mode whats that?

    At the moment I have yahoo messenger,ichat,adium,aim and msn!
    i will download aMSN if it wont interfere with msn!

  7. David
    May 24, 2009 at 1:10 am

    sip communicator supports audio an video

    aMSN video unstable

  8. Roy
    May 14, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    aMSN sucks.... I use it only coz it allows me to see and use my cam, but it's so slow, everytime i use it, it really gets in my nerves....

  9. Emin
    April 13, 2009 at 7:32 am

    Hi guys,

    Just a quick question:

    Any of those clients support MSN voice chat ? forget video, i want voice at least.. :(

    Thanks in advance

    • Wez Pyke
      April 13, 2009 at 8:01 am

      I'm not sure. Why not just use Skype?

  10. josh
    April 8, 2009 at 7:55 am

    im using a MSN on my mac so i can webcam with friends on msn.
    it doesnt allow me to connect to msn users because msn users cant do audio, is there a way to fix this problem so i can webcam with msn users?

  11. Doois Tecnologia
    April 3, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    There is no way i can make Adium connect to MSN. I am using version 1.3.3 under Leopard 10.5.6.

    Any sugestion?

  12. Gig
    March 30, 2009 at 7:22 am

    i have a problem with aMSN when i send invitation to use the webcam the other cannot see my invitation so... :S
    could someone help? thx

  13. S
    December 8, 2008 at 12:05 am

    the only one who can make video call and video&call with msn users is the amsn isn't it?
    why is this not your option?


    • Ed.
      January 30, 2009 at 6:42 pm

      I'm with you, AMSN is provably not the best but is the only one who make video calls, for me it's all matter...

      • valentina
        September 11, 2009 at 8:29 pm

        I have mac and my mam has PS.How can I talk whith video call onMSN,becaus she can see very well to read.I need somthink to work whith Only MSN. Please help me.

  14. brad
    November 11, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    no msn except web messengers will log in on my macbook.

    could someone help please?!

    • Ceri
      February 6, 2009 at 6:28 pm

      Hi are you running Peer Guardian on your mac that was my problem... If so on the start bar top right hand corner of your display there will be a peer guardian icon on mine it Displays PG right click it go to Lists, if Microsoft is ticked un-tick it & you should then be able to log in your IM programmes, Enjoy!

  15. michelle
    October 24, 2008 at 9:52 am

    how to put my pics here?

  16. daniel Wise
    August 15, 2008 at 2:29 am

    Its better use iChat to chat trougth jabber with .mac, google, msn, yahoo and icq in the same program with different or one window....

  17. Anthony
    May 16, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    ya i do as well, its because mac is not made to go with msn

  18. lot
    April 28, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    when i press msn on the dock of my mac it bounces once then freezes- anyone else have the same problem?

    • Wez Pyke
      May 18, 2008 at 8:50 am

      I had that problem a while ago, try completely removing it and then installing it again.

  19. D-Zid-816
    April 16, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    Sweet, i just got my first mac (a macbook!), and this has been a huge help!! thanks for bringing these to my attention!!! :3

    • Wez Pyke
      May 18, 2008 at 8:52 am

      I'm glad to have helped :).

  20. Dan
    April 11, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    I Use Adium. In addition to MSN it allows for a lot of customization.

    Check out 5 Must have extras for Adium!

  21. Ashutosh Mishra
    April 11, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    There was no need for a separate mention of Pidgin - their home page itself recommends Adium for OS X.

  22. Ben P
    April 11, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    doesn't Adium = Pidgin? or do they both just use libpurple...

    • Aibek
      April 12, 2008 at 4:30 pm

      Adium = Pidgin for Mac

    • michelle
      October 24, 2008 at 9:51 am

      im just a new user of mac. i need to have msn. what do you think guys is the best alternative? thanks