iChat vs Skype: Difference and Comparison

Everyone is connected to the internet. Communication is made possible by the development of collaborative apps that allow users to communicate with each other by chat, video, audio means.

There are many types of software that provide this service. Here is the difference between iChat and Skype, which are the most used apps for communication.

Key Takeaways

  1. iChat, an Apple-specific messaging service, supports text, voice, and video calls exclusively for macOS and iOS users. In contrast, Skype, a Microsoft product, offers cross-platform compatibility for various devices and operating systems.
  2. iChat allows screen sharing and seamless integration with other Apple apps, while Skype provides additional features like file sharing, group calls, and instant messaging translations.
  3. iChat users need an Apple ID to access the service, but Skype requires a separate or Microsoft account.

iChat vs Skype

iChat is a communication software which allows users to communicate with others via the internet. It primarily supported instant messaging and video chat and was only available on Apple’s OS. Skype is a messaging, voice, and video chat application which has features like screen sharing.

iChat vs Skype

IT Quiz

Test your knowledge about topics related to technology

1 / 10

'IoT' refers to

2 / 10

Which two websites offer free e-mail services?

3 / 10

AI systems are made up of

4 / 10

What was the name of the space shuttle that landed man on the moon?

5 / 10

The main function of smart assistants like Apple Siri and Amazon Alexa is

6 / 10

Which of the following is not an electronic device?

7 / 10

Phones that offer advanced features not typically found in cellular phones, and are called

8 / 10

Who founded Microsoft?

9 / 10

A process that is repeated, evaluated, and refined is called __________

10 / 10

Which of these is not a social media platform?

Your score is


iChat was developed by Apple in 2002 for the Mac OS X operating system. It facilitates chat and screen sharing with the help of Bonjour ( XMPP like protocol) and LAN communication. It is audio, and the video is based on SIP server protocol.

Skype was founded by Niklas Zennstrom and Dane Janus Friis, but developed by Ahti Heinla, Priit Kasesalu and Jaan Yalliin. It allows users to call on the internet.

To facilitate this, Skype uses a proprietary Internet telephony VOIP network, in other words, Skype protocols.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisoniChat Skype
Foundation Founded by Apple in 2002Founded in 2003 by Niklas Zennstrom and colleagues
SystemsAOL Instant Messenger, MobileMe, Google Talk or Jabber accounts, Mac.comLinux, Android, Mac, PSP, desktops and laptops using Windows, TV models of Samsung, LG, Panasonic.
ProtocolClient-server system protocol or SIP ( session initiation protocol).Peer-peer system protocol or Skype protocol.
Calling devicesComputer to computer calls only.Users can call on computers, mobile phones or landlines.
Communication serviceInstant messaging applicationChat and voice calling application.

What is iChat?

iChat is an instant messaging app developed by Apple, which is now discontinued. In June 2003, Apple launched a new version of iChat, iChat AV. Which provide added features like video and audio conferencing. It was the industry standard second major version.

After the success of iChat AV, Apple developed many advanced versions of iChat AV, such as iChat AV 2, iChat AV 3, iChat 4, iChat 5, and iChat 6.

Every iChat version is developed for different needs of users. Like iChat, AV 2 is developed to support windows. Also, iChat 6 is developed to work in pairs with Yahoo Messenger accounts. 

iChat can serve on AOL instant messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, MobileMe, Google talk and ICQ and XMPP. To give a personalized online chatting experience to users, it has built-in features of speech bubbles and pictures.

Also, iChat is integrated with Apple’s Aqua interface. But even though it limits the calling option for users allowing only computer to computer calls. 

It displays a buddy list with different colours, such as green for currently available buddies, yellow for idle and red for not available buddies.

Also, for colour blind people, this could be altered to different shapes, such as circle for available, triangle for idle, and square to denote not available people. Now iChat is replaced by messages for chat and FaceTime video calling.

What is Skype?

It is a telecommunication application operated by Skype Technologies, which is a subsidiary of Microsoft. It is best known for video communications but also has features such as instant messaging, file transfer, landline calls, etc. 

After its development, eBay acquired it in 2005 and then Microsoft in 2011. Microsoft used this app to replace it with Windows Live Messenger.

Before changing to Azure-based centralized service, Skype initially used a hybrid of peer-to-peer and client-to-server protocols.

Skype also released some advanced versions to support many systems and fix their shortcomings. LIke Skype Alpha to support Linux, also its newer updates are integrated with platforms such as Gfycat, YouTube and UpWorthy.

But bad reviews and complaints stopped the integration. 

In 2017, it added ‘Skype Interviews’ to help job interviews for programming roles. It has a special feature of shared code editing. It made its user interface to make more prominent with text-based messages than video calling.

It provides free calling services if the caller and receiver both are using skype. But calling on landline or mobile phone without skype is available with paid options. 

Users can share a screen, video chat or conference call at any moment with 50 people each time. Also, there is an additional feature to fade the background during the video call without a special camera.

Users can access all these features free just by making an active user account.


Main Differences Between iChat and Skype

  1. iChat was developed by Apple in 2002, while Skype was developed by Niklas Zennstrom and colleagues.
  2. iChat is an instant messaging application that allows users to make audio, video and chat messages. Skype is developed for online calls, allowing users to make audio and video calls.
  3. iChat can be paired with MobileMe, Mac.com, AOL Instant Messenger, Google Talk or such accounts, while Skype can be handled on TV models from Samsung, LG, Panasonic, and computer systems like Mac, Android, Windows, etc.
  4. iChat is operated on the client to server protocols based on SIP ( session initiation protocol). While Skype is operated on a peer to peer protocol using a VOIP network called Skype protocol.
  5. iChat provides communication services that are limited to computer to computer chats, while Skype offers chat and calling services on the computer, mobile phones, and landlines.
  1. https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/2398776.2398816 
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/7182586/ 

Last Updated : 16 July, 2023

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