Difference Between iChat and Skype (With Table)

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.

iChat vs Skype

The main difference between iChat and Skype is that iChat is instant messaging software. On the other hand, Skype is a calling application. iChat provides facilities to send messages in the form of voice, video or chat. With Skype, users can make calls in the form of video or audio.

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 Between iChat and Skype

Parameters of Comparison




Founded by Apple in 2002

Founded in 2003 by Niklas Zennstrom and colleagues


AOL Instant Messenger, MobileMe, Google Talk or Jabber accounts, Mac.com

Linux, Android, Mac, PSP, desktops and laptops using Windows, TV models of Samsung, LG, Panasonic.


Client-server system protocol or SIP ( session initiation protocol).

Peer-peer system protocol or Skype protocol.

Calling devices

Computer to computer calls only.

Users can call on computers, mobile phones or landlines.

Communication service

Instant messaging application

Chat 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.


Both iChat and Skype provide telecommunication services, but Skype is more video-based telecommunication software, and iChat is a text-based communication app. Rather than their known features, they also have many features that are ready to match user satisfaction. 

With new emerging technologies, new telecommuting apps are flooding the app stores. Skype is still preferred for business conferences and chats, while it does not have that much impact on the educational area. As for now, iChat is discontinued from its service, but that was a better telecommunication option at its time.  


  1. https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/2398776.2398816 
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/7182586/