What is AIM (AOL Instant Messenger)?

Launched in 1997, AOL Instant Messenger is one of the most popular instant messaging clients in the world. The free software allows users to send instant messages to anyone on their "friends list" and features social media integration, photo and file sharing, video and audio chat, and more.

On December 15, 2017, AIM was terminated.

Although the instant messaging platform no longer exists, AOL's mail service (sometimes called AIM Mail , but officially AOL Mail ) is still alive and well. You can log in to AIM Mail here using your old AIM username or your full AOL email address.

AIM is a chat service available through desktop, mobile devices and web browsers that allows you to communicate instantly with any of your contacts.

AIM not only supports one-to-one chat and group IM. It also allows you to chat with your Google Talk friends and connect to your social media accounts to display your feeds, transaction files, and shared location updates.

If your old phone doesn't support mobile apps, you can use the AIM for TXT service to send and receive text messages via SMS and Friends List.

Another way to use it is through AIM Mail (AOL Mail). There used to be chat integration with AIM that allowed you to view email and chat messages in one place.

Other features AOL has released over the years:

  • AIM Express : A stripped-down, browser-based instant messaging program for users who don’t run a standalone program
  • AIM Page : Creating an Online Profile
  • AIM real-time IM : View what the other party is typing in real time
  • AIM to mobile phone : Send SMS to mobile phone

Here's a brief review of AIM's history, including when some of the more prominent features were added and removed:

  • May 1997 : AOL releases AIM as a standalone program for Windows
  • May 2006 : AIM Pages launched, closed in 2007; AIM Phoneline launched, allowing users to make and receive calls, then closed in 2009
  • March 2008 : iOS users can now install the AIM app
  • April 2010 : AIM comes to iPad
  • December 2010 : AIM app contains ads and is now available for Mac, Android, iOS, BlackBerry and other platforms
  • June 2015 : Verizon Communications acquires AOL
  • June 2017 : Verizon merges AOL and Yahoo into Oath Inc (later renamed Verizon Media)
  • October 2017 : AOL announces closure
  • December 2017 : AIM discontinued

AOL had this to say about the shutdown of AOL Instant Messenger in October 2017:

We know there are loyal fans who have used AIM for decades; we've been passionate about building the first chat application of its kind since 1997. Our focus has always been on delivering innovative experiences that consumers want. We're more excited than ever to focus on building the next generation of iconic brands and life-changing products.

AOL has never offered a replacement chat program for AIM, but a number of other applications, services, and desktop programs work in much the same way.

AIM Phoenix is ​​an interesting alternative. It is not affiliated with AOL or Verizon Media, but is a server that allows some versions of AIM to run. This site provides instructions for downloading the client and connecting to the server.

Other instant messaging applications work, too, and they don't involve changing server settings or downloading archive programs. Facebook Messenger is a popular software that runs on mobile phones, tablets, desktops, and web browsers. Other examples include WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, Snapchat and Kik. Most of them also work as apps that can make free calls over the internet.

  • To permanently delete your AOL account, please log in to the AOL account termination page using your AOL or AIM username and password. Then, select Continue to delete my account , confirm your email address, and select Yes, terminate this account > Got it .

  • If you're not satisfied with the look, you can customize your AOL mail settings. For example, to customize a view, go to Options > Customize and select the options you want to apply. Or go to Options > Mail Settings and select the settings tab you want to change, such as General, Compose, or Calendar.