App Review: IM+ with Push for iPhone

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IM+ Forum Review by llofte. For more Forum Reviews, see the TiPb iPhone App Store Forum Review Index!

IM+ is an IM client with push notification support for 10 networks, including Twitter. I use AIM, Facebook, and Twitter, so these are the only networks that influence this review.

Design and Use

The design of IM+ is nice and intuitive. The bottom toolbar has tabs for contacts, inbox, favorites, status, and more. Under the contacts tab you will find find a list of your contacts organized by account, group name, or no group (selected in settings). If no group organization is chosen, then your contact list will by organized alphabetically based on availability. So, the top of your list will show available contacts, then idle or away contacts. At the bottom, offline contacts are treated as a separate group. There is an option to have offline contacts hidden.

Tapping a contact will open a chat window with that contact. If there is a previous conversation stored on IM+, then the window will include that conversation.

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To the right of of every contact, there is an "i" to find more information. Tapping this will display the status of the contact, their user ID, as well as the ability to add to favorites, rename, and delete (provided that the IM service associated with the contact allows).

The inbox contains all current and past conversations. If a twitter account is enabled, then @replies and direct messages are treated as their own separate conversations. It is not possible to have twitter conversations treated as a conversation in IM+; only incoming messages are shown in the @reply and DM threads. Conversations can be easily deleted from the inbox with a tap of the edit button.

When writing a message, there is a smiley face on the left and a keyboard on the right of the text field. Tapping the smiley gives a list of symbols (mostly smileys) that you can insert into the message. Be careful with these though, if the receiving client doesn't recognize a symbol, it will be displayed in text form, or worse, a smiley face with some symbols attached.

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Tapping the keyboard symbol collapses the keyboard and the smiley face converts to an upload symbol. From here you can send your location, a picture, or voice message. You have to be careful with this too because once you make a choice, it sends without confirmation. This is a major problem, in my opinion. I attempted to send a DM tweet with my location and IM+ ignored the text and sent my location as a public tweet! I'm just glad I was at Starbucks and not my house! This also means that text cannot be included with any media type. All media gets sent as a link. Pictures and voice memos are hosted by IM+ and GPS locations send a link to GPSed.com. It would be nice if the link launched Google maps on an iPhone so the recipient could quickly get directions, but it doesn't.

All links are opened in the built-in browser of IM+. This browser is very cool as it not only allows for reading and navigating through websites provided by links, but you can use it to visit any site by typing the web address into the text field at the top. This is very convenient for those times someone starts an IM conversation when browsing Safari. Just copy the URL before exiting Safari, launch IM+, paste the URL into the browser and quickly tab between conversation and browser. When your conversation is over, just tap the globe at the upper right of the browser to open the current page in Safari. Awesome.

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Next is the favorites tab. This is simply a list of contacts that have been marked as favorites. You can add or delete contacts from this list and see more information about them, just as in the contact list.

The status tab is where you can choose your status message (for supporting networks). There are 6 options, Online, On iPhone with IM+, I am here (with link to GPS location), Away, Invisible, and Offline.

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The more tab gives access to your accounts, settings, and in-app web browser.

Twitter

IM+ is not intended to be used as a primary Twitter client, but makes for a great secondary client. It's convenient to be able to access twitter while holding an IM conversation without having to go back and forth between two apps. Reading tweets on IM+ goes against the conventional style of most recent on top, but this doesn't bother me because I find uniformity within an app to be important and it doesn't make sense for normal IM to read like Twitter.

What makes Twitter so great on IM+ is of course push notification. All DMs and @mentions get pushed within 4 minutes of being sent. Ideally, they would arrive faster, but 4 minutes isn't too bad. The problem with Twitter push on IM+ is that there is no way to choose what you want pushed. It is also a little glitchy and randomly pushes tweets from your timeline that aren't directed at you. It's not horribly intrusive as I've probably only had at most 5 in a day get through, but it needs to be fixed.

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Conclusion

IM+ is very well designed. Although the implemenation of Twitter push is not perfect, it's a decent first attempt and I trust it will only get better with updates. The advantage of using IM+ is that you can use twitter, hold multiple IM conversations, and browse the web all within one application. At $9.99, IM+ is not cheap, but competive with Beejive. Version 3.2 has been submitted and is in review with Apple, so SHAPE Services has decided to lower the price to $4.99 until release; so if IM+ is something you're interested in, snatch it up quick and let us know what you think!

Pros

  • Push notification for Twitter
  • Support for 10 networks
  • Basic IM push is flawless
  • In-app web browser
  • Favorites

Cons

  • Twitter push
  • Cannot name accounts
  • Not all avatars show
  • Only one twitter account is supported
  • GPS links don't launch google maps

TiPb Review Rating

TiPb Forums Review: 4 Star App

IM+ is available for $4.99 from the iTunes App Store.

Leanna Lofte

App and Photography Editor at iMore. Mother, wife, and math instructor. Follow her on Twitter @llofte and send her apps to consider for review at iosapps@imore.com

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There are 48 comments. Add yours.

Truth says:

A quick reply in the push notification would eliminate having to return to the app.
They really half assed the who PN thing.

michael says:

This application is horrible. It is great on the surface but not reliable. I have had this app about 2 weeks and I have finally stopped using it. This application quite on me numerous times in a single setting over about a period of 30-60min. If this app was stable, it would be terrific. I would get ready to send a text and out of the blue it would crash. Every time it crashes you can send a report. Their report says you will here back within 48 hours. I have not once ever heard from anyone.

Gar says:

I love this app but it crashes constantly when trying to send IMs on my 3G, i even restored and reloaded the ap. I have been emailing all occurences to tech support. They say they are working on it.

llofte says:

Really? Not once did it crash for me. I'm wondering if an iPhone 3G is more prone to crashes than an iPhone 3GS. I'm on a 3GS and IM+ is very stable for me.

laleshii says:

The first version with push 3.1 is a little buggy but the app is really well made. Waiting for the next version which fixes the crashes ... About the custom status it can be set. At least on Yahoo network.

Rene Ritchie says:

Didn't crash on me either, beta or release version, on iPhone 3GS.

icebike says:

The 3.1 release of IM+ is still a bit buggy.
They must realize that, because its still on sale, but 3.2 is in the app-store pending review. So grab this while it is still cheap.
There are crashes.
There are connection problems. It will some times just grind away trying to restore connections. You can tell by the screen which connection it is having problems with. (In my case, usually skype).
But the push is indeed nice, and usually instantaneous.
MSN (Windows Live) Yahoo, and GoogleTalk are greased lightning.
Some services are slower as LLofte points out, but that seems to be service dependent, and nothing to do with IM+ itself.
Skype can not remain logged in for more than an hour after you close the app, but they are working on this.
I've sent problem reports, and gotten fairly prompt replies.
Authorizations do not seem to work for some services.
(Someone adds you as a contact. You have to authorize them to see your status. A pop up asks if this is ok, you reply YES, but you will get asked again next time you launch).
Authorize from your desktop and this is not a problem again.

icebike says:

Cardfan:
Checkout the texting rates to Europe some time.

nick says:

Mine crashes all the time with my 3G, I have reported the problem many a time but never get a reply :(. Hopefully the next version will fix it. You can set a custom status if u hit the edit button on the status tab.

desjones4ever says:

@ Truth. We are on the same page. That was what I thought would be implemented in Push Notifications. I absolutely dislike having to constantly go into the app to do what I need to do. I just want to keep going on about my day without having to keep going back into the app. This is terrible. I really think this is incomplete.

Terence says:

You are mistaken about the custom statuses. It has an edit function like most other apps.

Max says:

@Terence, You're absolutely right. The option to add custom status is there. I don't understand how that could've been missed by the reviewer.

manolopzo says:

You can edit your status (MSN, Gtalk, Y!). Pushes come fast, so no complaints on that issue -except for FB-. I've seen two bugs: 1) when trying to switch between regular/landscape view, the screen gets cut in half, leaving at the bottom side a black empty rectangle -has happened like 5 times-; 2)some connections issues, but since update to 3.1, I've had only two... and I had to reboot phone so I could connect.
However, these are minor issues (given the really low frequency of the bugs). I hope they get fixed in 3.2.
For $4.99, it is a GREAT deal. Besides, everyone is bitching about every single IM app with PN (doesn't do this, doesn't do that), so until then, if you want to get one, I'd recommend IM+.

stulaw11 says:

@ Terence. Yeh Ive seen reviews say there's no custom statuses but there is, you can edit the ones there or add them.

iRoc says:

I've been using this app since pre push and have not had it crash once.
I don't understand the whole "hate that to reply have to go into the app" thing. Namely because when I get a text I have to do the same thing. Is there an IM client that let's one reply right from the springboard?

llofte says:

Wow! I can't believe I made that mistake... quite embarrassing. Fixing!

icebike says:

HEADS UP:
IM+ 3.2 JUST HIT THE APP STORE!!!

Joe McG says:

@ iRoc
see BiteSMS. The quick reply / quick compose is DA BOMB

m' says:

simply put, should i get this or beejive? i don't use twitter and only occassionally use skype. is beejive really worth $5 more? i have a 3GS so i shouldnt have to worry about the app crashing.

icebike says:

@M':
Its really up to you.
I use skype a lot (I have people I work with scattered on various continents). It was useless on the iphone until Push Notifications came along.
So far I see nothing BeeJive does that this app does not do. Its on sale for 4.99, so if you want it get it quick, because if 3.2 solves all the crashing problems (too soon to tell) the price will likely revert to the 9 dollar area.

m' says:

thanks icebike,
i agree, beejive has no huge advantage over IM+.
i'm setting up my IM+ now =]

cyberbob says:

I may be missing it but I don't see a landscape mode for the messaging. With Beejive, you can use landscape.

icebike says:

@Joe McG:
BitSMS requires a Jailbreak, which not everyone is willing to do just to see how something works. Perhaps you could post some screenshots somewhere.

icebike says:

@EviilHomer:
Yes you are simply missing it.
IM+ does landscape.

DJ Josh 16511 says:

Ironically enough I purchased this app earlier today before I even read this.
I like it, alot. I'll leave it at that.

  • Landscape IM
  • Push Notifications
  • AIM, Yahoo, Facebook, and Skype being the 4 networks that I use, It's perfect.

Best app I've bought thus far.

J.L. says:

any one with a jailboken 3gs having problems with push?

Zuleika says:

I love this app and find it very convenient, but it's so slow! It takes almost 20 seconds to fully load and restore.

jbrandonf says:

@Joe McG: Did you really just say DA BOMB in 2009?
@'m, if you watched video of the two clients you wouldve seen where beejive whoops ass. Good luck with IM+.
@Truth an implementation like that would be convenient but that's not how push works. Ever notice how the im client will hesitate for a second then display the message? That's because it's polling for the waiting information. The app would have to run in the background for you to send out a quick reply.

Ripjames says:

I am on an iPhone 3G and I have had way less trouble with it than Beejive. Also i've experienced no crashes, I did have a problem the other nite with yahoo not connecting and the app saying it was though. It's a pretty decent app, I'm torn between Im+ and Beejive at the moment.

striatic says:

can you change the colour/opacity of the message bubbles?

Gar says:

3.2 is working better for me, no crashes since i installed it....i'll keep testing it today. This is a big relief.

snowcrash says:

The main problem with IM+ is that it TAKES FOREVER to restore the sessions when opening the app. Beejive is much faster. Even though Beejive is missing my beloved skype, I still prefer it over IM+ due to its speed.

Dank says:

So, anymore feedback on 3.2? I stopped using IM+ and I've been using the AIM(FREE), Missing Skype though... how has everythin gone for you all?

Krisz says:

3.2 seems to be stable -- I have been using it since its release and no craches so far

Dank says:

awesome, thanks.
I'll start using it again.

Guillermo Tejeda says:

Does the Push notification work for iPhone 3g? THis is pretty sweet, Im going to lower my text messaging plan :)

Josh says:

Just downloaded the app, works great. No problems or crashes. It would be nice if the push notification had a reply button that took you directly to the chat and not to the main screen. Only a suggestion, great program!

marc says:

this app is 4.99 but you can find site on your phone and just bookmark it in your browser and there you go it free now

j2innet says:

hey guys, did anyone or urself notice that IM+ is eating up ur battery? it drain ur battery like water dripping... i could see that effect in my 3GS. that's sucks...

Ryan says:

Hi I just purchased this program for five bucks and its awesome. I was using bejive and brought it for 15 bucks when I first got my phone what a waste that beejive program constantly crashes. But IM+ is awesome never had a crash been using it for 2 weeks now and I am on it the whole day never one crash. Works excellent and the push works just great.
I really like IM+ very stable and excellent app....only thing I cannot figure out or wish it could do is let me put in my own avatar for myself.....but I can live without doing that for now....I also do see my friends avatars

Sper says:

I found another application that is similar but is FREE. It is called TextPlus and it allows you to text an unlimited amount for free.
Better yet, you can use this on the Touch so for the first time you can actually text from the touch!!
Not only that but it has group messaging so it makes everything so much easier to plan because you don't have to have separate conversations...you can just talk to everyone at once...regardless of what type of phone they have. And it has push notifications so you know when you get a text...it works just like regular texting but BETTER.
So for anyone who only has the touch or just wants a better text messaging option...I suggest trying TextPlus

Sandra says:

I just downloaded the lite version, trying to test it out before i paid for it. In the app description and here it says that it works with Facebook. Facebook is really the only im agent i use so i was really excited. However I couldn't find facebook anywhere on the app. Anybody know why this is?

Sandra says:

never mind, i went and paid for the full app and then facebook was available.

Finally Woken says:

I downloaded the IM+ (full) application and it works brilliantly with twitter, skype, ym and google talk. But for some reason even though I have activated my facebook status, it doesn't show my friends list and I still don't get facebook chat on it.
Any idea how to fix this?
Thanks in advance!

rimbaud says:

IM+ stopped working after I updated my iPod Touch to iOS4 and has not been fixed with recent patches (version 4.2.1). It crashes immediately after sending notifications.

Pasquale Hildahl says:

This made me smile and hopefully after your last post it will do the same for you:
If you want to appear smarter, hang around someone stupider. :)