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10.5: Send messages to offline contacts in iChat Apps
I've checked iChat's built-in help, as well as Apple's site and couldn't find anything that has mentioned this. In Leopard, iChat has a sort of built in "answering machine" that I hadn't noticed before. It works like this:

Find a person on your Buddy List who is currently offline. Double-click on their name to initiate a new text chat. Whatever information you send to them will be presented to them at the time of their next login. In previous OS versions, attempting to instant message someone who is offline would result in an error message. However, 10.5 allows you to "leave a message" without a problem.

I tested this using AOL Instant Messenger accounts, and going from Mac-to-Mac (using iChat as the only client on both computers). I have not tried this using other IM accounts such as Jabber, GTalk, or .Mac, and have not tried this with any other IM software on either Macs or PCs.
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10.5: Send messages to offline contacts in iChat | 8 comments | Create New Account
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10.5: Send messages to offline contacts in iChat
Authored by: stokessd on Jan 31, '08 07:49:49AM

I've done this with jabber and gmail accounts with my parents. It confused them at first when they logged in and a message from me showed up. It only took a second for them to see the date and time above the message and realize it was a turd stuck in the pipe that just got delivered.


Sheldon



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10.5: Send messages to offline contacts in iChat
Authored by: shoobe01 on Jan 31, '08 10:01:19AM

This works (for me) in most chat clients, and platforms, just unreliably. Some interop issue, I presume.

Its nice when it works, but not so regularly that I trust it to get the message across. At which point, I guess it is sorta like voicemail. No one seems to listen to their voicemail much either.



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10.5: Send messages to offline contacts in iChat
Authored by: nosugrefneb on Jan 31, '08 10:26:44AM

Can non-Leopard users be left messages too, or does the recipient have to have 10.5 as well?



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10.5: Send messages to offline contacts in iChat
Authored by: mindsnare1349 on Jan 31, '08 11:45:10AM

Tiger users receive offline messages from Leopard iChat just fine.



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10.5: Send messages to offline contacts in iChat
Authored by: ljharb on Jan 31, '08 03:04:22PM

I'm pretty sure this is an AIM feature and not an iChat feature. The same functionality is in the regular AIM client on Windows.



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10.5: Send messages to offline contacts in iChat
Authored by: MJCube on Jan 31, '08 09:55:01PM

I preferred the error message. Nothing left hanging. I haven't yet had a situation where a line I type now is something I still want said an hour or ten later. We have e-mail for that. When somebody missed something, copy & paste is just fine. Several times in iChat 3 I have even deliberately sent myself a ‘silent' last IM after a person signed off, to save it in my chat file for my own information.

As an AIM user for over 9 years now, I use instant messaging only like it says: for immediate communication. I would want delayed delivery only if I could choose it case-by-case. (In case anyone at Apple is listening.)



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10.5: Send messages to offline contacts in iChat
Authored by: robogobo on Feb 01, '08 11:00:34AM

That's a really good idea to have it optional. Jotting down notes in the message window after a person logs off is a smart way to keep track of conversation followups when you regularly refer to chat logs. Or even better would be to integrate a "notes" option within the chat that gets written to the log but doesn't get sent to the other participants, so that you can keep notes following a chat even if they don't log off.



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10.5: Send messages to offline contacts in iChat
Authored by: giaguara on Feb 08, '08 04:53:44PM

This is not limited to iChat of 10.5 or to Mac OS X only - it works with any recent AIM and Jabber clones, irregardless of OS.
Therefore even when not intending to, I end up using the feature daily on Pidgin.



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