Why does iChat suck so much?

Brian Haworth

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 19, 2004
Santa Rosa, CA, USA
I'm serious, it's so damn buggy...

I leave an IM window with my girlfriend open most of the time, and usually don't close it until I go to bed. Why is it that nearly every day we have to deal with not getting each other's messages? It seems to happen in conjunction with one or both of us having been told that we have "left the chat", though we have done no such thing. If one of us tries to send a message, it appears to go through, and we can sometimes see messages coming in, but our messages aren't being received. We often have to disconnect and reconnect in order to reestablish contact, and sometimes the app must be relaunched.

This does not happen with anyone but her. What's the deal?

Last night we had a very long and very important conversation. I wanted to read through the log today, but found that unlike most of the other many hundreds of logs I have, iChat did not save it. Hoping that iChat would save it when I quit the app, I closed all my active windows and issued the quit command. iChat informed me that, despite there obviously being no windows open, I had unread messages. Pressing Review appears to do the same thing as Cancel, nothing, so I quit. iChat did not save the log.
I thought, "okay, it's just screwing up again. I'll get the log from her later today."

But no. Apparently someone or something decided that we weren't supposed to read that log again, as her computer, also running iChat, did not save the log either.

Does anyone know where this log might be saved, if anywhere? Does anyone know why iChat is doing this to us?

I've tried switching to a different IM client, but alas, iChat does do one thing well: when it works, it's the absolute best, unmatched in form and function. Everything else I've seen is clunky, ugly, and slow.


macrumors 6502a
Jun 20, 2004
Berkeley, California
seriously, if you have such serious issues with ichat, just use a different chat program... I use Adium, but there's also Fire, or Skype for voice chatting. All of them are good, with few bugs, so just try others out.


macrumors 6502
Jul 14, 2004
iChat is total junk malarkey. Adium completely rocks it once you customize every nook and cranny and have a super beatiful set up. For some reason though Adium has takent to perodically not being able to log in to the MSN network (although I blame this more on the network).

Brian Haworth

macrumors member
Original poster
Apr 19, 2004
Santa Rosa, CA, USA
I tried Adium. It seems at first glance to be promising, but after spending a few weeks with it, I found that it had some behaviors that were far too annoying.
At this point I'm not looking for a new client, I'm trying to find out why iChat does this with only one specific buddy, and why it's doing it in the first place.


macrumors 604
Mar 17, 2004
Melenkurion Skyweir
I don't have the problems you have, but I do agree with you that iChat is one buggy program. For me, I always have problems with directly connecting - if the other party (on AIM) doesn't accept the connection quick enough, it all goes to hell. Also, I noticed that if someone on my buddylist who is using iChat himself, has a long away message, it gets cut off. If I quit and restarted the app, I can see the whole message, but it eventually gets cut off after a while. Never happens with AIM users. Finally, sometimes the menubar screws up, and doesn't show the "who's on" list. Restarting and deleting preferences doesn't fix it, only time will (yes it somehow fixes itself after a while).

Buggy as hell, yes. But I still use it, because I love the menubar feature. I'm counting on Tiger to cure all that and more.


macrumors G5
Dec 22, 2004
Chicago, Illinois
Honestly you guys, I've never had any of these problems and I use it daily. Do you think it might have something to do with which version of 10.3 you use? I use 10.3.7.

Ja Di ksw

macrumors 65816
Apr 9, 2003
I use only iChat, all day every day. With the exception of it not actually sending out my away message, and not having a profile (found something to fix this second one), I've never had a problem with it.


macrumors 65816
Feb 10, 2003
Buckeye Country, O-H
first off, it sucks because you don't have tiger yet... once you do i'm sure you'll see a better improvement once it is updated with tiger.

second, i only run into problems with those people who are using Adium. for some reason i can't see them half the time when they are on/away, or it keeps telling me they are away.


macrumors 6502
Feb 15, 2005
I'm going to add a vote that iChat does not suck. I use it daily. I love the visual interface and just about everything about it. It may not do everything that AIM can do, but neither can AIM do everything iChat can do. I've only experienced one bug problem....sometimes when a person types I don't see it. There is just an empty space inside the bubble. It's not a major problem, though. It rarely happens, and when it does I just close the chat window and reopen it. All is A-OK then. ~Josh

EDIT: Ahhhhhh.....a "macrumors member" at last... :)


macrumors newbie
Mar 10, 2005
I agree, it sucks

iChat has some serious issues, even a few UI-related ones, which is surprising considering it's a whapple product. I'd use some other program too, but iChat is the only one that properly handles drag-and-drop of images (will even animate animated GIFs), even through double-NAT-obscured connections, and saves all those images in the chat logs (vital when you're trading screenshots with QA people).

Here's a pair of suggestions to cut down on the iChat madness, for now: Create a second logfile folder and move most of your old logs into it. iChat won't have to parse a 2300-entry list every time it renders a filename for saving the log. Also, iChat only saves logfiles when you or it closes a given chat window. Every time you get nervous about saving a log, just close the window. iChat will start a new logfile at the next message.


macrumors G5
Jun 6, 2003
Solon, OH
Here's my iChat experiences:

Overall, iChat is good. However, I have encountered problems using it:

1. Sometimes, especially when I'm away for a while, iChat randomly disconnects me from AIM.
2. Video chatting is unpredictable. Usually, it's fine, but sometimes I experience synchronization issues, audio feedback (sounds like a screechy echo), and loss of audio.
3. Direct connections completely fail to work.
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