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How To Setup Facebook Chat in Messages or iChat on Your Mac

How To Setup Facebook Chat in Messages or iChat on Your Mac

It seems like everyone is on a different messaging platform these days.  While all iOS owners probably use iMessage in some form or another, all those Android-types may be using Google Hangouts (especially in the newer Android OSes).  Another popular messaging platform, though, is though Facebook.  So much so, actually, that Facebook has a separate app just for messaging on both Android and iOS, as well as a desktop version for Windows PCs. But what about on a Mac?

A quick search of the Mac App Store reveals no less than 15 separate third-party apps that claim to offer a non-browser based IM system for Facebook. Some of them aren’t terrible – but sometimes the simplest solution is the one that comes straight from the source.  According to Facebook’s site tour, you can actually use Facebook Messenger straight from Messages.app (and even iChat). How, you ask? Join me on the journey below.

First things first – You’ll need a Mac. Regardless of whether it’s iChat or Messages, the setup is (roughly) the same, so you don’t even need to be on the newest version of OS X (in fact, I’m using it on a Mac with OS X 10.5/Leopard). You’ll also need a Facebook profile (DUH!), and you’ll want to know your Facebook Username.


To get started, you’ll need to open Messages or iChat.  From there, head to the menu bar and choose your respective program name, and click “Add Account.”  You should see a pop-up asking for an account type, a username, and a password.  Starting with the account type, select “Jabber” from the drop down list. The form should change a little bit, but we’re still going to stick with just using a username and password.  Your username is your Facebook username, with “@chat.facebook.com” (without the quotes) appended to the end (my username, for example is “ian.fuchs”, so I’ll use “ian.fuchs@chat.facebook.com”).  In the password field, you’ll enter your Facebook password.


By leaving the server, port, SSL, and Kerberos rubbish at the bottom untouched, Messages will auto-identify the details when you click “Create.”  Once you have everything entered,  you should see a new contacts list connect.  The beauty of Facebook working through Jabber is that your Facebook friends actually show up on the list, with their online/offline status.

From there, just initiate a conversation like you would any other, and you’re off to the races, with Facebook Messaging sitting alongside your iMessages, AIM messages, etc.  Pretty cool, huh?


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