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Set custom auto-away messages and timeout in iChat Apps
iChat currently has an automatic auto-away feature that automatically sets your status to away upon being idle for 45 minutes. However, there isn't any apparent way of customizing the auto-away message. You can, however, set a custom auto-away message by setting the AutoAwayMessage default in iChat's defaults.

For example, running defaults write com.apple.iChat AutoAwayMessage "I went away" will set your auto-away message to "I went away." You may need to restart iChat to force the defaults to reload.

The auto-away timeout is also customizable. Although it defaults to 45 minutes, you can set it to any value greater than iChat's default idle timeout, which is 600 seconds. Running the command defaults write com.apple.iChat AutoAwayDelay 600 will set the auto-away timeout to 600 seconds, or ten minutes.

You can also completely enable or disable auto-away with the AutoAway default (defaults write com.apple.iChat AutoAway -bool NO to disable, or YES to enable).

Note: I have been using some of these settings in Chax (I'm the developer) for some time, but I haven't seen anyone mention them anywhere else.
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Set custom auto-away messages and timeout in iChat | 15 comments | Create New Account
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Set custom auto-away messages and timeout in iChat
Authored by: cougar718 on Mar 07, '06 10:48:33AM

Let me get this straight, there is no way to set the value of these 'features' using iChat's interface? Why? I for one did not know about this and my iChat never automatically sets me as being away if I leave it idle. Grrr!

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Rick alias cougar



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Set custom auto-away messages and timeout in iChat
Authored by: cougar718 on Mar 07, '06 10:56:38AM

Hell my iChat's plist did not even have those variables. Had to manually add them using the defaults write command. Hmm, makes me wonder what else iChat has but does not document.

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Rick alias cougar



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Set custom auto-away messages and timeout in iChat
Authored by: salvo on Mar 08, '06 12:38:28AM

There are lot's of undocumented settings in all Apple Applications.
Programs like Chax, Pith Helmet and iDVD Companion are necessary for Powerusers to access features which may confuse novice users.



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Set custom auto-away messages and timeout in iChat
Authored by: pub3abn on Mar 07, '06 03:01:42PM

Another option is to use the excellent Adium application. It doesn't do everything, but if you mainly use iChat for text chatting, it is a major step up IMO. It can handle custom away messages and much more. It includes support for the iChat protocol, so you can keep all your existing contacts.



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Set custom auto-away messages and timeout in iChat
Authored by: rlinsurf on Mar 08, '06 12:27:37AM

Um. Open the iChat Buddy Window. Select the Status (e.g. "Away") Popup Menu. Select Custom under Away. This opens a field where you can type any message you like. Or you could choose Edit Status Menu from the bottom of the Status Popup to add as many custom Away (or Available) messages as you like, so they all appear under that menu in the future for easy access.

Go to Preferences-->General. Check the Auto-Reply with my Away Message checkbox.

Done.



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Jeffrey



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Set custom auto-away messages and timeout in iChat
Authored by: ksuther on Mar 08, '06 08:26:01AM

This will enable a default auto-away replay, yes. However, when you automatically go away after a certain period of time, iChat will set your status to a generic "Away," not to any of your custom away messages. This allows you to set your auto-away message, not your auto-reply message.

Kent Sutherland



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Set custom auto-away messages and timeout in iChat
Authored by: dave1212 on Mar 10, '06 02:13:12AM

Cheers to the generous dev for sharing this info with us! :D



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Set custom auto-away messages and timeout in iChat
Authored by: rocteur on Oct 14, '06 04:38:54AM

How does this IN ANY WAY set the number of minutes before you are auto away ?????????



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Set custom auto-away messages and timeout in iChat
Authored by: rocteur on Oct 14, '06 04:41:59AM

This comment was about another comment not the hint Sorry



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Set custom auto-away messages and timeout in iChat
Authored by: marcel69 on Mar 08, '06 01:29:26AM

BTW: did anyone figure out how to get iChat automatically connected online, when starting your machine / logging into your user account on the machine?
It is quite annoying, that one always has to get into the menu bar first to set the iChat status to "online" manually. If I want to chat with some of my collegues that are not using iChat regularly I always have to give them a phone call or write an eMail to get them activating their iChat online-status...



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Set custom auto-away messages and timeout in iChat
Authored by: cougar718 on Mar 08, '06 10:53:07AM

This option should be under Accounts => Account Information... Make sure the check box, 'When iChat opens, automatically log on' is checked. Then add iChat as a login item. Works for me and I've been doing this ever since.

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Rick alias cougar



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This hint does not work for me
Authored by: TigerKR on Mar 08, '06 08:32:55PM

Mac OS X 10.4.5 w/ all updates

This hint did not work for me.

I set the idle for 15 minutes, and it never sets iChat as away. I even have iChat set to keep "away" if I return from being away, but I've left iChat idle for longer than 15 minutes twice today, (this is after a restart of my computer, never-mind a restart of iChat).



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This hint does not work for me
Authored by: TigerKR on Mar 08, '06 08:38:22PM

Though, its been an odd day, so I'm going to re-run the commands

defaults write com.apple.iChat AutoAwayMessage "Having a short attention span means never having to say "
defaults write com.apple.iChat AutoAwayDelay 900
defaults write com.apple.iChat AutoAway -bool YES

I have a nagging feeling I missed one earlier.



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This hint does not work for me
Authored by: TigerKR on Mar 09, '06 01:39:02AM

Nope, the hint appears not to work for me.



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This hint does not work for me
Authored by: cougar718 on Mar 08, '06 11:48:26PM

OKay, this hint works. But you won't see iChat set you as being automatically away. in iChat, it will show you as being Available. But if anyone message you, iChat will auto-reply with your auto-away message *IF* 'Auto reply with Away message' is checked under General of iChat preferences.

Good luck!

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Rick alias cougar



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