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What the Heck Is an iMessage?

iMessage is Apple’s inter-device messaging protocol. That means you can send unlimited iMessages (instant messages) to anyone with an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 5 (or later) or Mac running Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8).

Think of iMessages as MMS messaging, similar to what you find on smartphones, but you can send and receive them from your Mac. Better still, an iMessage can include photos, videos, locations, and contacts in addition, of course, to text.

And if you have more than one iOS device, iMessage keeps all your conversations going across all of them. You can also get delivery receipts letting you know your messages went through. You’ll know it’s been read, too, if your friend has enabled read receipts.

Instant messaging and chat rooms provide for interactive communication among users all over the world. If you’re into instant messaging, Messages gives you immediate access to all the other users of AIM, Jabber, Google Talk, and iCloud. All you need are their screen names, and you’re set to go.

You can even join any AOL chat room just by choosing File→Go to Chat Room. To get started, just launch Messages from either your Applications folder, Launchpad, or Dock.

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