3.5 star rating

Adium Review

Pros: Supports all major IM services; Plug-ins add functionality; Tabbed chat windows;
Cons: No audiovideo chatting; Mac OS X only;
The Verdict: This Mac-only app combines your instant messaging services into one attractive software program but skimps on some features.



Before the Web 2.0 revolution made contacting friends and colleagues via social networking sites infinitely simple, there was another method of keeping in touch: instant messaging. It has allowed us to chat and videoconference with others at virtually any hour from virtually any location, but its one limitation has been the lack of interoperability between different chat clients. Adium, a Mac-based instant messaging service, consolidates several of the most popular (and some of the more obscure) services into one sleek interface. It may not be as feature-rich as other IM clients, but there’s plenty to like.

Article Continued Below

Chat with Virtually Anyone

Downloading the 20.8MB file from Adium’s Web site took a relatively long 3 minutes using our Wi-Fi connection, but setting up our contact lists was far swifter. After we began the installation process, Adium prompted us to key in our various instant messenger usernames and passwords, and we were immediately logged into each service. Adium supports just about every messenger client around: AIM, Apple Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, Google Talk, ICQ, Jabber, LiveJournal Talk, Lotus Sametime, MobileMe, MSN Messenger, MySpace IM, Novell Groupwise, QQ, and Yahoo. If your contacts have more than one IM account, their handles can be merged together into a single entry. Mousing over a contact launches a pop-up window that shows all of their IM clients, the ones they’re signed into, and an enlarged buddy icon.

Easy to Use, but with Limitations

Contacts appear on a single, highly customizable buddy list, for which users can select from a number of skins, the window layout, menu bar icons, status icons, service icons, emoticons, and opacity level. When an IM is received, the cute Adium duck icon, which resides in the OS X dock, flaps his wings to grab your attention and displays the number of unread messages (you can turn the animation off if it becomes annoying). Conversations appear in a tabbed window, and you can toggle through them by holding the Apple key and pressing the left and right arrow keys.

While you can send files and links to contacts, we would’ve liked the ability to send e-mail or check our Facebook pages directly from the chat client, as you can with Digsby, another IM aggregator (which isn’t yet compatible with Macs). Adium does not currently support voice or video chatting either, but according to the company’s Web site, it’s in the works. It does, however, offer Off-the-Record Messaging, which encrypts conversations with a password, so no one else can read your exchanges. In addition, numerous plug-ins such as Adium Time Zone (which let us specify a time zone for each contact) and Skype (which let us chat using the popular VoIP service, so long as Skype was running) give Adium extra functionality.


If Web conferences are essential, we recommend Meebo, a rival multi–IM chat client that’s also available for Macs, and one that makes use of a notebook’s webcam and mic. Otherwise, Adium is a cool, basic way to stay in touch with buddies online. Its laundry list of compatible IM clients separate it from the competition, and it is a useful tool for those looking to communicate with friends, family, and colleagues.

Tags: Adium, messaging software, Software, reviews

Technical Specifications

Software TypeChat & Messaging Service
Required ProcessorN/A
Software Required OS:Mac OS X 10.2 or greater
Required RAM50MB RAM
Disk Space20.8MB
All Product Types Accessories eReaders Laptops Networking Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS AVADirect Averatec BeagleBone BenQ CTL Corp. CyberPowerPC Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Eurocom Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Google Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo Maingear MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Razer Sager Samsung Sony Sony PlayStation Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv Vizio VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating Editor's Choice 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 21 4 5 6 7 8 9
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1136 x 768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1792 x 768 1900x1080 1920x1080 1920x1200 2560 x 1440 2560 x 1600 2560 x 1700 2880 x 1620 2880 x 1880 3200 x 1800 3840 x 2160 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options