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AIM Alternatives to Replace AOL's Instant Messenger

AIM is shutting down after 20 years. Target these chat apps to keep the conversation going.

Apps in this Guide

The sounds of opening and closing doors heard around the world when contacts appeared and disappeared from your AIM Buddy List will be heard no more. The away messages, the customizable fonts and colors,more

The sounds of opening and closing doors heard around the world when contacts appeared and disappeared from your AIM Buddy List will be heard no more. The away messages, the customizable fonts and colors, and the goofy web 1.0 handles -- mine were SardonicLaughs and Crazy4Blur -- will soon be gone for good.

AIM, AOL's longtime instant messenger, is closing on December 15, 2017. The 20-year-old web-based IM client, which dominated chat in the late '90s and early '00s, started losing users with the launch of competing programs, such as Yahoo! Messenger, MSN Messenger, iChat, and Google Talk. But the rise in smartphone messaging may have been the nail in AIM's coffin. Since AOL (now a division of Verizon's Oath) says it has no plans to replace AIM, here are some AIM alternatives to keep the conversation going.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is AIM closing down?
So developers can “focus on building the next generation of iconic brands and life-changing products,” according to AOL.
Can you still use AIM before December 15?
Yes, users who have already downloaded AIM can continue to log in to and message over the chat service until the morning of December 15. For those who haven’t downloaded AIM yet, note that AOL will begin removing download links before December 15.
What happens to my buddy list, images and files, and chat history?
These will all be deleted after December 15. While your buddy list may not be saved or exported, your images and files within your chat history (as long as no one selected “Go off the record”) can be. To manually save your images and files, sign in to AIM, open and scroll through an existing chat, and click the image or file you’d like to keep; it’ll open in a new browser tab or window. Then right-click it and choose your preferred save option.

Top AIM Alternatives

The venerable free chat client that inspired AIM has evolved with the times, incorporating photo and video editing with filters, emoji, and fonts; secure HD video chat and snaps complete with animated stickers; voice calls; and voice messages with speech recognition.

Telegram brings secure, end-to-end encrypted messaging to all your devices without sacrificing speed. The app is free and has no ads.

Hangouts

Hangouts

Hangouts enables you to connect with a friend or an entire group over message, video, or voice -- for free.

With more than 1 billion active users, the popular and free WhatsApp messaging app lets you easily message and make free voice and video calls across all your devices.

Messenger

Messenger

Free Facebook Messenger offers just about everything you'd want in a messaging app, with hooks into your Facebook contacts to help you connect with friends.

Trillian

Trillian

Trillian is one of the most popular and best-rated standalone IM programs. The free app works well with so many different chat apps and social networks, from Facebook Chat and Hangouts to ICQ and Jabber.