Users of (NYSE:AOL) Instant Messenger (AIM) on Mac OSX 10.7.1 and below may have to finally upgrade to a newer version of Apple Inc.’s (Nasdaq:AAPL) desktop OS in order to continue using the aging instant message protocol with iChat.
According to support documents published by Apple on Monday, the Cupertino, Calif. based technology company will begin phasing out support for Mac OSX users that continue to use Mac.com or Me.com accounts with built-in iChat messaging software and the AIM messaging protocol. Text messaging, video chats and screen sharing through AIM and Mac.com or Me.com accounts on Mac OSX 10.7.1 and earlier will no longer function starting June 30, 2014.
If you’re still running an older version of Mac OSX such as Snow Leopard, Apple highly recommends updating to Mac OSX Mavericks to continue receiving AIM service on Me.com or Mac.com accounts through the Messages app, which replaced iChat in Mac OSX Mavericks. For those still running Mac OS X Leopard, Apple recommend that users check if Mavericks is supported on their Mac hardware before purchasing a copy of the latest Mac OSX version.
For users not looking to upgrading Mac OSX, Apple recommends that users create a standard AIM account through the AOL website to continue using AIM through iChat.
Jabber, Google Talk and standard AIM accounts created through AOL.com are unaffected by Apple’s end of support for iChat on 10.7.1 and below.
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While the end of iChat AIM support for Me.com and Mac.com accounts may be a nuisance for some users, it may only affect up to 19 percent of Mac OSX users according to Net Applications’ Net Market Share data cited by ZDNet.
For detailed instructions on how to upgrade Mac OSX or create a standard AIM account, take a look at the Apple Knowledge base article here.