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iChat video conferencing fails with communication error in Leopard

iChat video conferencing fails with communication error in Leopard

A bug that prevents many Macs running Leopard from starting a video conference in iChat is certainly annoying, but luckily there’s an easy fix.

Upon upgrading to Mac OS X Leopard the day it came out this past October, I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t run into any of the expected issues that go along with installing a new operating system… except one annoying iChat error that seemed impossible to figure out. After doing a little research it appeared a lot of people were (and still are) experiencing this annoyance, which makes me wonder why almost a year later Apple hasn’t addressed it in a 10.5 maintenance update yet.

Users who attempt to enter into a video conference with a friend may be greeted with any number of errors: 

“There was a communication error during your chat.”
“User cancelled the connection.”
 “Did not receive a response from user.”

This can occur whether you initiate or join the video chat, have your firewall on or off, or set your router’s ports to be wide open. In short, absolutely nothing makes a difference. The fix, however, lies where you may least expect it (I certainly didn’t think to look there).

Disable internet sharing to fix iChat video conferencing error
Disable internet sharing to fix iChat video conferencing error

If you go into System Preferences and click the Sharing button, you’ll see a list of services and devices your Mac is currently set to share. Towards the bottom of the list, you’ll find Internet Sharing. This setting is commonly used for virtualization software such as Parallels or VMWare. And while enabling it may be necessary to get an internet connection in virtual machines, iChat seems to not play nice with it.

By un-checking the box next to Internet Sharing and turning off this service while you are video chatting, your connection issues should disappear. When you’re done making goofy faces and pretending you’re on the moon using Leopard’s entertaining video backdrops, you can go back into System Preferences and turn Internet Sharing back on. If you don’t use other software that requires it to be enabled, you might just want to leave it turned off all the time and never have to worry about it from here on out.

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14 Comments Have Been Posted (Leave Your Response)

Doesn’t help -wasn’t checked in the first place.


Looks like your problem is a bit more complicated than this common bug. Perhaps your issue is firewall related?

it works,
but not really a ‘fix’ for us who want to use internet sharing and vid ichat.

pain in the ass turning it on and off every time
iphone is sick of it
here’s hoping this gets fixed soon

Wow – thanks so much! Yeah this one is a real pain and loads of people miss it. But it worked for me and saved hours of playing with firewalls and router settings!

you’re a life saver!! i was getting dizzy from reading about NAT and open ports and which ones to have open!

Thanks so so much

My Macbook Pro is brand new and the internet sharing is not even checked. No help for me. I am pretty sure that it has to do with the router though, because it worked just fine when on another network.

I have had the “did not get response from” when trying to video chat with a friend who owns a PC. I have internet sharing off, but it still does not work. What else could I check?

My daughter has bought a new imac leopard so we can video chat but her ichat only comes up with a phone sign. It says video conferencing is not set up. Any ideas how to set up the video???

maz177, what kind of computer do you have? If you don’t also have a camera, then she will have to choose to video chat with you and not the other way around.

Mine was already unchecked. It only seems to happen when chatting with certain people-so maybe it is their computer. Mine is a Macbook Pro purchased in November 2008.

Fixed the problem! Thanks! Haven’t used iChat in 2 months because of this problem.

Worked like a charm! I’d tried a number of adjustments–including port setting–without any change in the error behavior. When I opened Sharing preferences, I found the Internet Sharing box was, indeed, checked. Once I unchecked it, video conferencing performed flawlessly. Gracias!

I had it unchecked already. I can get the vid chat started but ichat randomly crashes through the convo. It’s extremely irritating! It probably crashes 4+ times in a half hour! Noone seems to know why. I have the crash log if someone wants to take a look.

After 3 days of pulling my hair out i found your article.
This worked for me! Thanks so much!!