Chapter 20. Messages

Somewhere between email and the telephone lies the joyous communication tool called instant messaging. Plenty of instant messenger programs run on the Mac, but Mountain Lion comes with its very own instant messenger program called Messages. (It used to be called iChat.) It’s built right into the system and ready to connect to your friends on the Yahoo, AIM, Jabber, Facebook, or Google Talk networks.

This chapter covers how to use Messages to communicate by video, audio, and text with your online pals.

Welcome to Messages

Messages does seven things very well:

  • Instant messaging. If you don’t know what instant messaging is, there’s a teenager near you who does.

    Instant messaging combines the privacy of email and the immediacy of the phone. You type messages in a chat window, and your friends type replies back to you in real time.

    In this regard, Messages is a lot like the popular standalone messenger apps from AOL and Yahoo. But Messages lets you type back and forth with anyone from the AOL, Yahoo, Google Talk, and Facebook chat networks, all in a single program, which is a huge advantage. And Messages’s visual design is pure Apple.

  • Unified chat/text messages with phones (iMessages). This is huge. If you and your conversation partner both have iCloud accounts, then you can move freely from phone to tablet to Mac. Your conversation is auto-synced between gadgets. If you started texting someone on the train home, you can sit down at your Mac and open Messages—and pick up ...

Get OS X Mountain Lion: The Missing Manual now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.