TiPb Asks: How do you IM on your iPhone or iPad?

<img src="/sites/imore.com/files/images/stories/2011/01/top5_iphone_im_instant_messaging_app2s.jpg" alt=TiPb Asks: How do you IM on your iPhone or iPad?" title="TiPb Asks: How do you IM on your iPhone or iPad?" width="400" height="296" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-54566" />

How do you IM on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad? We recently asked what Twitter app you used most and got tons of feedback, including that many of you prefer IM to Twitter, or don't use Twitter at all. Fine then! Ally has already posted up her top 5 IM/instant messenger apps for iPhone but we want to know more!

What service do you prefer for IM on your iPhone? Are you an old school instant messenger user and stick to AIM, MSN/Windows Live, ICQ, GoogleTalk, etc. or do you prefer something BBM-like such as WhatsApp, Kik or Beluga? If it's a traditional service, what app do you prefer, the official client or something that handles multiple accounts like BeeJive or IM+? Or does SMS (or even Twitter) replace IM for you? And finally do you use the same same services and apps on your iPhone/iPod touch as you do your iPad or computer, or do you mix it up?

Let us know -- how do you use IM on iOS?


Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, hosts the ZEN & TECH podcast, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Prime.

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There are 111 comments. Add yours.

Scroat says:

Beejive, whatsapp and good old text message. Never did understand what's so good about BBM. Other than the fact u can tell if someone has read a message. Thing is I DON'T like the fact someone can tell if I have read their message. Sometimes I just don't want to reply or have no answer yet. Can BBM do a group chat? Like a chat room? If it can do that then I can see why it's so highly regarded. Otherwise I find my native SMS to be just as good.

king3pj says:

Yes you can do group chat. You can also send people full song mp3s, pictures, and other files. I think the reason corporations like it so much is the BIS/BES encryption and security the blackberry servers provide.

Bill says:

"How" do I use IM on iOS?
I launched the program and then start typing. "How" do you use IM on iOS?

Scroat says:

I think u have mis understood the question. They are asking what IM app u use. Like live profile or ping chat. No how do u do it.

lshartle says:

Yes you can group chat with BBM. You can even make a BBM Group. You can also share video, audio and pictures using BBM. There's many other options also.
It's the ONLY thing I miss from BlackBerry

Matt Hall says:

text only.... until someone comes up with a decent unified solution. I paid for beejive but it will not stay connected. So its not even installed anymore.

FrostByte says:

While i can't bring myself to use text. I"m with you on the unified app. I would love to see Apple come up with a unified solution. a default IOS IM client (A la BBM from blackberry)but with extending to support 3rd party IM protocols like WML/Yahoo/Gtalk etc...
They should include the usual list of features
Group messaging
File transfers
Location check-ins
Deliver/Read status
"Contact is typing" feature
and in true apple fashion, make it sexy :D

Eyeseeyou says:

I don't know how you have Beejive setup but mine stays on FOREVER.
Also you can send text messages from beejive for free.
TextFree lets you send unlimted text messages for free plus lets you chat with your facebook friends.

Access Excess says:

BeejiveIM on both platforms.

Garz says:

Live Profile. Only way to go IMHO

Khaki says:

Beejive for FB chat, and AIM.

devonair says:

Paid for beejive and have regretted it ever since. Mostly respond via text to mobile-aim forwarded IM's. But really like both Meebo and IMO.im when I need to initiate a chat.

Blue says:

I always hated that text forwarding thing. My friends would still IM as if I were a computer. Like sending 5 IMs to say something that could have been said in one IM, in one complete sentence.
And SOME people would spam me on purpose. And lock up my phone lol.

BSUNesto says:

Palringo Instant Messenger. Facebook, AIM, Google Talk, Yahoo & MSN. Push notifications. Chat history. It keeps me logged in to the services even with 3 days of no activity. It's got everything I need for a couple of bucks.

Amy says:

Meebo on my iPhone; IM+ on my iPad.

Muckdog says:

No IM at all! IM is so 1990's!
And my friends and I use the free texting app Pingchat. You can do group chats and send files back and forth.

myerscb says:

iPhone = meebo, iPad = im+ pro because, meebo is not an universal app.

Duscraft says:

I use BeeJive because back when I first started IMing on my iOS device I paid around $10 for it... So now thats what I use ha ha.

Seth says:

Meebo to IM with gchat friends. Facebook chat for, well, FaceBook friends. Twitter for all my Tweeps. SMS for everybody else. Well probably go with Beejive (or IM+) & Twitter when I buy an iPad.

RDHose says:

To be honest Palm/HP webOS did messaging, contacts, calendar correctly. They had it down with their delivery of "synergy". All in one nice little general messagin app. Too bad the developer network was not as large, and the hardware was not even close to where apple stands.

hugecanoli says:

I use Pingchat. I've converted most of my old BBM buddies over to it as well. Especially after the new update which allows for the removal of ads. Group Chat, Delivered/Read tags, and the ability to see when the person your talking to is typing...not to mention that its free = BBM replacement.

Enzo says:

Can u send files like mp3s to the other person? Lemme know.

hugecanoli says:

Yes.... File transfers are supported.

Rodrigo says:

Whatsapp and Verbs for Gtalk

RodneyJ725 says:

IM+ Pro on both iPhone and iPad. I like beejive, but they still do not support showing avatar for Yahoo accounts (why????). I hate seeing a grey head instead of my own avatar.

RodneyJ725 says:

As for "service", I use Yahoo Messenger (via IM+ Pro). I hate MSN.

FrostByte says:

After trying out a bunch of IM clients i settled on IMO. It's a simple Multi IM client supporting the major players.
My prerequisites for this we're...

  • It has to be free (I don't believe in paying for IM clients)
  • Must be cross Platform (I have friends on Android and BB)
  • It shouldn't ask you to create a separate ID for it's service (I don't need another account to manage)
  • Should be simple and straight forward (If it's much more complicated than texting then what's the point)
IgalSc says:

Beejive for GoogleTalk, Twitter (the original) for twitter, Facebook for facebook, Text for texting

fastlane says:

I paid $16 for Beejive back when it first came out. It's been a great app, but I might as well switch to the Yahoo app now because there are only two people I still IM with now, both on Yahoo.

abear1619 says:

SMS mostly with biteSMS (now with text freak)

afrika says:

Whatsapp! Excellent IM with push notification

indraf says:

yahoo messenger, whatsapp, and imo (for facebook chat)

theboyk says:

I use Nimbuzz on both the iPhone and iPad. It's not universal, so I have to go 2x on the iPad, but it's not really an issue since the graphics don't matter much.
I'm surprised there's no mention of Nimbuzz here? I've been using it since my BB days and once I got an iPhone (back when the 3GS was released) I went through all the different options (IM+, Meebo, eBuddy, etc.) but Nimbuzz still remained my top pick. It's free and very stable, no time limitations being "online", etc. Supports multiple accounts for messaging (Google Talk, Facebook, MSN, ICQ, Skype, etc.), you can use it for initiating a voice calling via Google Talk, MSN, Skype users, and you can send photos and videos from your device to others. There's also a web-client for those times when I'm at the desktop/laptop and I don't have my iOS device with me.
I've been using it for years — just wish it was a universal app so I didn't have to go 2x on my iPad. Only other thing on the wish list would be the ability to combine contacts (ie. if a particular contact is on both Facebook and Google Talk, they'd appear as a single user online vs being in the contact list twice), like you can do with Adium (on the desktop).

Watchful says:

I have used Beejive since it first came out, but only for my one Google Talk account. I switched to Beejive GT when it came out, seems a little lighter and have had zero connection issues with it (I used to have connection issues with the full grown version of Beejive).
I use iChat on my laptop, and run a "dummy account in addition to my actual GT account so I can IM things to my phone.

bergman says:

IM seems like a kids leftover from AOL. SMS is instant enough for my uses.

tuscanidream says:

I'm honestly using FaceTime (Mac/iPhone/iPad) now more than anything with the girlfriend. It just needs 3G. Text message with friends. It's the only thing that some people know how to do.

tuscanidream says:

Plus texts are tied to their mobile number. Easy to remember. No additional name or id or requests.

Tony_stark.Rol. says:

Whatsapp intge first place, bejivee, (that I did buy when I had my first iPhone) and I like it, then I tried beluga, pingchat, liveprofile, yahoo, and couples more.
I whatsapp is the number one for me. I got only 73 contacts and it works nice.
Btw, we don't need bbm.

Victor says:

I use verbs. It's simple, has a great interface and it does exactly what I want which is to Im maybe 3-4 people when I feel like logging in.

atlas9171 says:

Beejive for FB, Yahoo Messenger and Super Gtalk on the rare occasions I IM on my iPhone.

Freiteez says:

Beejive. I won it from you guys about 2 years ago and love it...whenever I use it (dont really IM anymore)

Peter says:

Meebo on my iPhone and IM+ on my iPad.

mksap11 says:

IM+ plus whatsapp. I love the fact that on IM+, I can set a notification for a specific person so I get an alert when that person signs on. (it's only cyberstalking if the other person doesn't know and care I'm doing it, right? ;-). Whatsapp is great because it's fast and dead simple to use.

TedP says:

now if they would only make it Universal for iPad

Mike says:

I use Meebo app. I like it because it keeps a history (log) of my texting. So no matter if I am on my PC, iPad, iPhone, I can pull up the log and see what conversation or information I need to pull up on the person I am talking with. GREAT APP.
For SMS, I disabled at&t's SMS (screw them, $30 for unlimited) and use HeyWire app (or website app). It is free and I can SMS internationally at no extra charge. Free is Free!!

John says:

I really like Beejive. It covers all my IM accounts and does notifications.

Pablo says:

I use IMO, it covers both Skpe, GTalk, Facebook and others and on my old almost death iPhone 3G work very fine, no more freezing like Skype official app.
It also send push notification an let me online almost 24h without open it.

LozBlanko says:

If only Apple had built in an instant messenger app instead of the pointless MMS feature a few years back.

(Copy of) Dev says:

Beejive on the iPhone, plus Skype chat for a few relatives who only do that.

KBv1 says:

LiveProfile all the way! Nothing is as good as that, but Beejive for Gtalk & MSN.

mtmjr90 says:

I use Talkatone for pure IMing (uses Google Talk). I also use it's Google Voice integration to make and receive VoIP calls and I use the new updated version of Sean Kovacs' GV Mobile+ for Google Voice SMS. To me, IM and GV SMS are very similar conceptually, so the line is a bit blurry...

Dave says:

Google voice doesn't.make voip calls. You need a sip app for that.

Rob says:

I wish there was one for GroupWise Chat.

Brian says:

Find IM to be redundant with SMS, email everywhere, and Facebook.
My primary IM substitute is SMS and I use BiteSMS for that...

hansbuehler says:

just skype with my wife... nice for video calls too


I know. She seems to really enjoy it when I Skype her.


I don't. IM'ing is stupid.

Hannes Engelbrecht says:

I use imo on both my iPhone and my iPad. Prior to that I bought Beejive waay back, but imo is free, provides push notification, stays logged in for 72 hours, and works very well on all the protocols I use (MSN, Gtalk, Facebook IM, Yahoo, etc.)

fabsgwu says:

Meebo, it's lightweight and works well most of the time. Tried eBuddy and IMO.im, both are a little more clunky/crashy on my 3Gs.

Michael says:

Agreed. Cant imagine who I would IM with and why. Also using bitesms on i4.

Michael Chang says:

Beejive IM! On both iPad and iPhone. It's the best hands down. I've also tested many many others such as trillian, IM+, ebuddy..etc but none beats beejive

JimmyD#IM says:

I only have 200 texts/month. Why pay $20 for unlimited when I have unlimited internet?

JimmyD#IM says:

Sorry. Meant for the comment below!

joey says:

agreed - beejive is the best. Im in the office alot and have friend in different areas of the world. Facebook is the best/ easiest way to connect everyone and i tend to stay logged on for 24 hours at a time. after trying a slew of IM clients (including im+) Beejive was by far the best. Services, connectivity, and a clean looking ui.

felface says:

A revolutionary technology you should all use it's called.....texting

JP! says:

You can't on an iPad.

Kal says:

You sure can. It's called TextNow.

parabel says:

BiteSMS (enough free SMS in my plan), WhatsApp (it's pretty good, got many additional functions like sending positions, and many friends have it as well, but you can't trust it 100% that the receiver really gets a push notification and sees the message in time), sometimes (rarely) BeejiveIM (with people on Windows Live Messenger).

toner restock says:


V says:

WhatsApp, Google Voice, Beejive on the iPhone. Beejive, or most recently, imo.im, on the iPad.

PalmPrePlusPwns says:

I use Meebo, Includes all the major IM services.
And to all of those who say IM is stupid, just use texting---
Well, There are a lot of people that dont have smartphones or phones with keyboards and some people are on their home computers using, Facebook, AIM, MSN, Google Chat, etc.
So its a cool way to chat with those that are online at home. whlie you are on the go.

JuJu says:

Yahoo messenger. Although it's sometimes unreliable.

PalmPrePlusPwns says:

you should try Meebo, its free. (or any other all-in-one IM app)
Its an all-in-one messenger but you can set it up so it only signs you on to yahoo.
I've been happy with it :)

Andois says:

Meebo i used Meebo for a while but wanted to try something better, Meebo was just constantly loosing my connection. Found Beejive for GT & FB much better user UI and more options to choose. I would like google talk from google but its working really good and no problems.

Will says:

Pingchat all you need

Piper says:

No IM for me. I find E Mail does the job fine.

francolasalsa#IM says:

TextPlus , simply because coming from a blackberry world I did alot of group convos bid BBM, with TextPlus you can have groups using SMS which is just pure genius !

G says:

I like Verbs for iPhone.

TychoQuad says:

I didn't buy into the iOS ecosystem until I was happy with the way IM performed on it. Third party push support and Beejive did that for me.
However, as time went on, I found that IM was no longer important to me. I haven't launched Beejive in months, and all the activities that I used to use IM for now go over twitter. In the rare instances where I want to send a private message, twitter's direct messages or SMS fill that role just fine.

alpha752 says:

I use IM+ to stay connected to gtalk and facebook chat all the time. I love how it will push IMs to me no matter what im doing, the only down side, is if Im doing something memory intensive on my phone, like playing a game, iOS will kill IM+ for resources. I have to constantly reopen the app to make sure its running.

rileyfreeman says:

liveprofile. but its horrible the last few days aka since they opened it up to blackberries. its a great app but they are in DESPERATE need of a massive server upgrade.

Tim says:

I use AIM. Not only does it use AOL Instant Messenger of course, but it connects to GMail chat and Facebook chat (and unlike the FB app, it keeps you connected). And it's free!

joey says:

Beejive - best service, connectivity, and a clean ui. Plus the icon isnt as ugly as im+'s.


Meebo gets the job done for me, really like the easy interface

Hunter MacLean says:

IMO. Integrates Skype, Yahoo, GTalk, and Facebook.
Also use Google Voice as I live in Hong Kong and it allows me to text friends and family back in The States for free.

C.Trus says:

I use Beejive IM for msn. It gets buggy from time to time, but much better than most of other apps out there. give it a try! :D
Also, if you have alot of android/iphone friends, try Kakaotalk. its free, and is very easy to use. It automatically gets friends from your contact list. pretty simple and easy stuff. Personally, i think it is just as good as BBM. thanks for reading XD

JCI says:

As seen by previous answers there IS a great diversity out there, and since if you only communicate with 5 or less people that would not be a problem, if you do it with more you´ll need an array of programs to do so. More if you have a lot of friends in other parts of the world. So Skype for voice and Whatssup for text. Traditional IM´s with Trillian, mainly because of the ability to switch back and forth from computer to mobile device and maintain the thread of the ceonversation.

Prisqua says:

My two favorite and essential apps are Beejive IM and BiteSMS. I also have IM+ but only use it when I can't connect to Skype through the other app. I love PingChat but only know a couple of people who have it. I used to use verychat at some point with one friend but after an upgrade it does not let me login or even sign up.
The thing is everybody uses different app and they have their favorite such as some will only IM you through FB... so you have to satisfy everyone...

Sev says:

pingchat is far and away my favorite and first choice... with everyone who doesn't have pingchat, i go back and forth between meebo and the free beejive clients (individual services). no way i'm paying $10 for an IM client.... bitesms is the best for texting but i IM way more than text

Adam says:

I use Facebook Chat, Skype (both for chat and voice calls even to regular phones as it is cheaper than through my provider) and eBuddy as a substitute for Windows Live Messenger

Megan says:

I used several random free apps as well as IM+ and eBuddy (both lite and pro versions of each). I used Meebo a tad too. I didn’t like any of them very much at all, eBuddy seemed to crash a lot and IM+ began crashing after OS4 and having great difficulty connecting. I use Trillian on my computer so I had been very interested in seeing the sync between the phone and computer. Finally after the latest beta release that feature began and I bit the bullet to pay for yet another iPhone IM app. I was SOO PLEASED. I’ve never been happier with an IM program on my phone and the constant sync between devices is SO wonderful. I can literally walk away from my computer and within thirty seconds it begins notifying me on my phone of new messages, but when I’m on my computer the messages go there and not to my phone. I LOVE IT.

GargoyleDC says:

I use WhatsApp as it is cross platform for talking to BB users.

Sk8er_GeeK says:

i dont wanna pay 0.99$ (Kik Messenger its free)

erin says:

I just use the Yahoo app. I tried IM+ Lite but it will drop me off of all services as soon as I app-switch, and their "support" was totally useless. Not going to drop $10 on an app if the Lite version doesn't work at all.

Kris S says:

Text Messaging works fine for me. Fring when i'm looking to talk to my friends who are on gChat. Facebook for fbook chat
23 year old college student

Jeff says:

I use Im+ and I'm evaluating IMO. I don't use cell services so my SMS is via gvoice.

Sk8er_GeeK says:

i use Kik its really cool you guys should try!!

Eyeseeyou says:

-BeeJive for all my IM services except skype.
-Skype for mobile to desktop Video chat.
-Before I switched to unlimited texting I used TextFree with Voice. < One of the best apps in the app store IMO
-Heytell for when I'm driving or do not feel like typing out a text.
-Tango for video chat anywhere

Rena Rach says:

I have Snow Leopard installed on my Mac, and tried out "Alex". The speech is very choppy and doesn't sound very natural. I tried adjusting the speed but still was choppy regardless of the speed. Are there any other good (cheap) options?