Use iChat to Keep in Contact With Your Facebook Friends

Connect to Your Facebook Friends With the Help of Jabber

Messages Setup for Facebook Account
Messages Account Setup for Facebook. Screen shot courtesy of Coyote Moon, Inc.

Facebook has a built-in chat system that allows you to keep in contact with your confirmed Facebook friends. The only problem with this chat system is that you need to keep your Facebook web page, or at least your browser, open if you use the Facebook Chat pop-out window.

There's a better way. Facebook uses Jabber as its messaging server, and both iChat and Messages can communicate with Jabber-based messaging systems.

All you need to do is create an iChat or Messages account specifically for use with Facebook. Once you have either messaging system set up with a Facebook account, you can contact all your Facebook friends with the messaging system you're most familiar with using.

  1. Create a Facebook Account in iChat

  2. Launch iChat, located in your /Applications folder.
  3. Select Preferences from the iChat menu.
  4. Click the Accounts tab.
  5. Just below the list of accounts, click the plus (+) sign.
  6. In the Account Setup window, use the Account Type dropdown menu to select Jabber.
  7. In the Account Name field, enter your Facebook user name followed by @chat.facebook.com. For example, if your Facebook user name is Jane_Smith, you would enter the Account Name as Jane_Smith@chat.facebook.com.
  8. Enter your Facebook password.
  9. Click the triangle next to Server Options.
  10. Enter chat.facebook.com as the Server name.
  11. Enter 5222 as the Port number.
  1. Click the Done button.

Create a Facebook Account in Messages

  1. Launch Messages, located in your /Applications folder.
  2. Select Preferences from the Messages menu.
  3. Click the Accounts tab.
  4. Just below the list of accounts, click the plus (+) sign.
  5. A dropdown sheet will display various account types you can create. Select the Other messages account, and then click Continue.
  1. In the Add a Message Account sheet that appears, use the dropdown Account Type menu to select Jabber.
  2. In the Account Name field, enter your Facebook user name followed by @chat.facebook.com. For example, if your Facebook user name is Tim_Jones, you would enter the Account Name as Tim_Jones@chat.facebook.com.
  3. Enter your Facebook password.
  4. Enter chat.facebook.com as the Server name.
  5. Enter 5222 as the Port number.
  6. Click the Create button.

Your Facebook account will be added to iChat or Messages.

Using Your Facebook Account With iChat or Messages

A Facebook account in iChat and Messages works just like any other account you may already have. You just need to decide whether the Facebook account should be shown and automatically logged into when you start your messaging app, or only when you select the account from the list of Jabber-based messaging accounts.

  1. Return to the Preferences, and click the Accounts tab.
  2. Select your Facebook account from the Accounts list.
  3. Click the Account Information tab.
  4. Place a check mark next to Enable this account. If you leave this box unchecked, the account will be inactive, and anyone attempting to message you through Facebook will see you listed as Offline.

In iChat

Place a check mark next to "Log in automatically when iChat opens." This option will automatically open an iChat window for the Facebook account, display any Facebook friends who are available, and log you in, ready for chatting with your friends.

Leaving the checkbox unchecked will prevent automatic login and display of the friends list. You can still manually log in using the menus in iChat at any time.

In Messages

Select Windows, Buddies to open the Buddies window and see Facebook friends who are currently online.

That's it. You're ready to chat with your Facebook friends, without having to log into your Facebook home page or keep your browser open. Have fun!

Extra Tip: Many messaging systems include support for Jabber, so if you're using an alternative to iChat or Messages, you can very likely still get connected with your Facebook friends.

Just take the basic Jabber Facebook settings outlined in this guide, and apply them to your favorite messaging system.

Published: 3/8/2010

Updated: 9/20/2015