FAQ

We’ve changed a lot and we know you have questions. Here are a few that we get frequently. If you have more feel free to email: aim.support@aim.com

Visit AIM help
The Basics
What’s AIM?
AIM is a communication tool. A state of being. A path to greatness. It allows you to keep in touch with many people through text, video and multimedia chat. In some ways, it’s whatever you make it to be: the way you keep in touch with faraway loved ones, or the back channel to that boring meeting.
Why did the experience change from the AIM I knew before?
The old AIM is like a champion race car: it’s received updates and new parts over the years. Sure it ran alright, but it was still in need of an overhaul after many pit stops. The new AIM is like a brand new supercar that has some of the old features and a whole lot more integrated into one sleek ride.
What’s a supercar?
Never mind.
Getting Started on AIM
How do I start a chat?
You can start a conversation with an existing contact a couple different ways:

- Type name or username of a contact into the search field. Click on it. A conversation window will open.

- Using AIM.com, click on the compose button on top of the conversation list to open a new conversation window.

- Using AIM for Desktop, click on the compose button on the bottom left of the conversation list to open a new conversation window.

- Click on your friend’s name in the “Recent Chats” or “Contacts” section.

What if I can’t find my friend?
If your friend is already in your contact list you can look for her or him in the search field above your recent chats. Type in your friend’s name or username (which might be an email address). When you see the right name, click it and start your chat.
Can I share photos, videos or attachments?
Easily. When chatting, click the paper clip icon (or on AIM for Mac or Windows, click the menu icon and select “Share a File” Select the file you’d like to send. Bam. You can even take a photo with your webcam and send it instantly. Click the menu icon and select “Take a Webcam Picture” (you might need to grant us permission to use your camera).
Can I video chat with people?
When chatting with a friend, click the video camera icon (or click the menu icon and select “Start a Video Chat”) to start a video chat. If someone hasn’t yet updated to the new AIM, we’ll send them invitation to upgrade to the new AIM.
How do I get to my AIM/AOL mail? It used to be in the product or at aim.com.
From aim.com, you can click the “Mail” link at the top of the page, or visit http://mail.aol.com. Within the web or desktop application, you can add AOL Mail as a service under Preferences, and we'll notify you when you get new messages. You'll still need to go to http://mail.aol.com to reply or send new messages.
Group Chats
What’s a group chat?
Just what it sounds like. Start a group chat with two or more people by entering names of existing contacts in the “Start a chat with...” window to the right of your contact list (close your current chat if you don’t see this window).
You can also click the compose button (the one that looks like a notepad & pen) and choose people to add to the chat. You can name your group chat and add more friends at any time.

Group chats will appear at the bottom of your contact list in the “Group chats” section.
Why would I use group chats?
Many many reasons. A few common groups are:

- your immediate family (to keep in touch at any time)

- your close group of friends (to share photos, videos & links)

- your classmates (to collaborate on a group project without being in the same room)

- your coworkers (to work out details for a project)


Here at AIM Headquarters, we even have a group chat dedicated solely to sharing ridiculous pictures we find online. (Try it: it’s fun.)
Can I add Google Talk contacts or Facebook friends to a group chat? What about phone numbers?
Not yet. Soon!
How do I change the picture for a group chat?
You can do this from aim.com, from the desktop version of AIM and AIM mobile applications. From within the web or desktop versions, select the group chat, then click the icon in the header of the chat history to change.
How do I remove someone from a group chat?
Select the group chat, click the menu at the top, and select “View Member List.” From there, click the “X” that appears when you hover over him or her.
Some Logistics
How do I get a new account?
On the home page, click the “sign up” link. Or, visit this handy page.
What are updates?
These are the same AIM status updates you’ve always been able to post (sometimes referred to as away messages). However, they are no longer tied to your online state (“Available,” “Away,” or “Invisible”). You can view, comment and like updates from your contacts in one stream. You can also connect your favorite social networks to updates and receive your friends’ posts right in AIM.
How do I make a line break?
Hit Shift+Enter instead of hitting enter.
Why are my buddy groups different?
We’ve simplified buddy groupings into two new features: “Recent chats” and “Favorites.” Recent chats will show you your most recent conversations, which we find to be the most useful group of all. You can always add people to your “Favorites” group, too, for easy access to a set group of contacts. You now have the option to display the custom groups you set up in older versions of AIM. You can control the display of these custom groups by going to your menu, choosing Contacts, then turning on or off Show custom groups. If you turn them off, you will just see “Recent chats” and “Favorites.”.
How do I retrieve my password?
After you’ve finished racking your brains for that jumble of letters and numbers that just won’t come to you, click here. Follow the on-screen prompts to create a new password. If you still need help with your AOL account, try calling member services at 1-800-827-6364.
How do I completely remove a contact from my contact list?
Select the user you want to remove, click the chat menu, and select “Remove from contacts.” Or, in the contacts group, hover over the user you would like to remove. An “x” should appear to the right of the user name. Select the “x” to remove from your list.
Can I minimize AIM for Windows to the tray?
Not yet. We're working on a fix to address this.
Message Syncing
What is message syncing?
The new AIM logs and stores your conversation history (a month’s worth) whenever you chat with other people also using the new AIM. This allows us to sync your messages across devices. If the other person you’re talking to is using an older version of AIM, or a third-party client, we only cache the conversation in the location you’re using it. Your conversation history with those people won’t be available if you switch to AIM desktop from AIM mobile, for example.
Are messages synced for Google and Facebook chat accounts, too?
No. They each work a little differently.

Google: Google saves the other person’s side of the conversation, so when you return to a chat with a Google contact, you may see the other person’s messages but not your own.

Facebook: No conversation history is synced.
What is “off the record” and how does it work?
When talking to someone also using the new AIM, taking a conversation “off the record” means AIM does not store it for you or for the person with whom you’re having a conversation. If you’re chatting with someone who is on an older version of AIM or a third-party client, taking your conversation off the record will not store your conversation on your device.

You can take a conversation off the record by clicking in the drop down menu at the top of any 1:1 conversation.

You can change your preference to have all chats off the record by opening preferences, choosing privacy, and unchecking the box next to “Save chats on the record.”
If I go off the record with Person A, do I still need to go off the record when I initiate a conversation with Person B?
Yes, you have to choose to go off the record for each conversation you want to take off the record. Or update your privacy preference to not save any chats by opening preferences, choosing privacy, and unchecking the box next to “Save chats on the record.”
How long am I able to stay off the record?
Any conversation you take off the record will stay off the record for the duration of your conversation. If you sign on, then sign off, the conversation will still be off the record until you choose to take it back on the record.
Does my conversation partner know when I go off the record?
When you have a conversation with someone on the new AIM, they will receive a notification when the chat goes off the record, as well as back on the record.
Can I delete a conversation with a user?
Yes, at any time, you can clear your entire conversation with another user. Once a conversation is stored though, you will only be able to clear what shows on your end. You will never be able to clear another user’s record of the conversation. Clearing your conversation history will delete your ENTIRE conversation history—so use carefully!
Can I take group chats off the record?
No, not at this time.
Why is my conversation history incomplete?
Depending on a few factors, we may not be able to show you your entire conversation history with someone. First, if either of you have taken a conversation “off the record,” that part of the conversation will never show up when you reopen a chat that has been closed. Second, if you switch devices (say from aim.com to AIM on your mobile phone or desktop), we will only be able to show you conversation history with other contacts who are also using the new AIM. Finally, even in those cases, we can currently only show you history for the last month or so.
Social Notifications
What are social notifications?
AIM can let you know when you have new social activity on your favorite social networks. For the following services, here’s what we can tell you:

- AIM updates: comments, likes

- Twitter: mentions, new followers, retweets

- Facebook: tags, likes, comments, friend requests, wall posts

- Instagram: comments, likes

- AOL mail: new messages

- Gmail: new messages

Where is Lifestream?
We heard your feedback, and now the new AIM includes the best of Lifestream. We took the most powerful parts and included them in different ways without the Lifestream name. Your third party social network updates are now private to you. You can still comment and like your friends’ posts, and updates can still be sent to Twitter and Facebook.

We’ve carried over the most popular social networks from Lifestream (Facebook, Twitter) and added Instagram. If you set these up in Lifestream, they’ll work for you in the new AIM. You can edit, remove or add new services by opening Preferences and choosing the third party accounts tab.
AIM for Mobile
Can I use AIM on my mobile phone?
Of course! Apps are available for your iPhone and Android devices.
I don’t have an iPhone or Android mobile device. Can I still use AIM on my mobile phone?
We’ve got you covered. With AIM TXT you can send a text that arrives as an instant message. AIM TXT accesses AIM when you send simple text message commands to 246246 (AIMAIM). Just tap 246246 in the TO: field of your text message, then an AIM command like “send” or “status” in the message body. Then just write the message. We’ve put together some tips and tricks to help you.
Does AIM let me send text messages to my friends’ mobile phones?
You betcha. If you know his or her mobile number, you can send a text through the desktop version of AIM or aim.com. In the new AIM, simply type the 10-digit phone number (U.S. only) as a new username, then open a chat and send your message. The IM you send is now a text message. Get full details on IM to mobile here.
Does the new AIM let me forward my IMs to my phone so I don’t miss them when I’m not at my computer?
Yep. It’s easy! First, you’ll need to register your mobile phone on AIM. Once you’ve added your mobile device, when you sign out of the new AIM on your computer, you’ll receive AIM messages on your device via text message (SMS).