Apple turns off legacy AIM access and inadvertently kills it for everyone

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Date: Wednesday, July 9th, 2014, 08:54
Category: Apple, Mac, Mavericks, Mountain Lion, OS X, Social, Software, Yosemite

AOL_TrashIcon-macosxWell, I say “inadvertently”, but no word on whether it was in fact so, or if it was intentional…or maybe Apple just doesn’t care enough to make sure it was functional for Mountain Lion, Mavericks, and Yosemite users (granted, Yosemite is still in beta). As it was foretold many months ago by messages from Apple itself, as of July 1, 2014, Apple was discontinuing support of iChat for AIM users with legacy IDs created with mac.com, me.com, or icloud.com addresses for versions of OS X (and iChat) earlier than 10.7.5. The support article regarding the change can be found on Apple’s web site.

AppleInsider reported that it had confirmed operation in Apple’s Messages app for both Mavericks and Yosemite has been rendered unusable, however, a solution has been discovered by members of Apple’s support community. For OS X’s Messages app, switching the connection to SSL seems to solve connection issues.

AOL-MessagesSettings

(please excuse the interface hack via Flavours)

The bad news is that 3rd party messaging apps like Adium and even AIM for Mac, cannot connect with the service using the legacy IDs. A note on Adium’s web site (I can’t find it now) reported that they were looking into the problem, but no solution was in sight. This is likely because the process for using the legacy IDs, which are connected to your Apple ID, involved a type of two-factor authentication through Apple’s servers that may no longer be available to 3rd party apps. Apple recommends creating a new AIM account if you wish to continue using iChat on older systems, but some additional bad news is that there appears to be no way to export your buddy lists from Messages as you could with AIM for Mac. Your only recourse seems to be re-adding buddies manually or from your Address Book/Contacts app.

I had stopped using AIM regularly as most of my contacts have migrated to GTalk or Facebook Messenger, but this issue brought to my attention the fact that I had a lot of former contacts that were only connected with AIM (oops). It also prompted to me to update my backup AIM account, but I still cannot migrate my buddy lists. Even if you are on 10.8 or 10.9 and still connected with Messages, it might be a good idea to be proactive and create a new AIM account and duplicate your lists while you can still refer to your current setup and give people a heads up on your switch-over, in case Apple ever decides to cut support entirely.

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