Manage the privacy of your AIM account. Select the version of AIM you're using from the ones below to expand more information.

AIM 8 for Windows & Mac

How do I take my conversations off the record?

When you take a conversation off the record, that means it is not stored for you or for the person you are having a conversation with.

Other items to consider when using off the record:

  • Any conversation you take off the record will stay off the record for the duration of your conversation. If you sign on, and sign off, the conversation will stay off the record until you choose to take it back on the record.
  • When you chat with someone on AIM 8 and go off the record, they'll receive a notification when the chat goes off the record, as well as when it goes back on the record.
  • For now, you'll have to manually select each conversation that you want off the record.

To take a conversation off the record follow the steps below:

  1. Within an ongoing chat window, click the Additional Options drop-down menu and then select Go Off the Record.

  2. When you are Off the Record, you can tell because your chat window will state that you are. Any messages exchanged while you are off the record will not be saved.

  3. To return to chat as normal, click the Additional Options drop-down menu and then select Go On the Record.

How do I block or unblock someone?

If you ever need to block a contact on AIM, simply follow the instructions below:

  1. Within an ongoing chat window, click the Additional Options drop-down menu and select Block This Person.

  2. If prompted with a popup window, confirm that you want to block the username.
  3. To unblock someone, open a chat with the person, click the Additional Options drop-down menu and then select Unblock This Person.

How do I clear message history?

If you want to clear chat history for a conversation follow the instructions below:

Note: This will not clear chat history on the other user's AIM client. It will only clear the chat history stored on your own AIM window.

  1. Start a chat with the person you want to a delete chat history with.
  2. Click the Additional Options drop-down menu in the top right corner of the chat window and select Clear Chat History.

  3. Click Yes to confirm.

What is message syncing?

AIM 8 for Windows logs and stores your conversation history (up to a month’s worth) whenever you chat with other people who are also using AIM 8. This allows us to sync your messages across devices. If the other person you’re talking to is using an older version of AIM, or a third-party client, we only store the conversation in the location you’re using it. Your conversation history with those people won’t be available if you switch to AIM desktop from AIM mobile, for example.

Messages from Google chat accounts are synced differently:

  • Google: Google saves the other person’s side of the conversation, so when you return to a chat with a Google contact, you may see the other person’s messages but not your own.

AIM 7 for Windows

How do I block or unblock a buddy?

To unblock a buddy you can come back to the privacy menu at anytime and click Remove next to their name.

  1. At the top of your Buddy List, click Menu or Options (depending on which version of AIM 7 you're using).
  2. Click Privacy.
  3. Under Who can IM me and see me online click Everyone except the people on my block list.

  4. Click Add people to my block list

    Note: If the Block List is already displayed, you won’t see Add people to my block list.

  5. Type the Username of the buddy you want to block. You can enter more than one Username. They will separate automatically with commas.
  6. Click Add.
  7. Then click Save. Done! That person’s blocked.

Will the users that I’ve blocked be notified that I blocked them?

Nope! No notifications are sent when someone is blocked.

How do I save my Instant Message history?

You can easily archive your instant messages (IMs) with AIM.

To archive your IMs:

  1. At the top of your Buddy List window, click Options or Menu (depending on which version of AIM 7 you're using) and then click Settings.
  2. Click IM Archives.
  3. Select the desired option(s), and then click Save

Notes:

  • By default, all your archived IMs are stored in the My Documents folder. If you'd like to change the location, on the Settings - IM Archives window, click Browse, navigate to the desired folder, and then click OK. You may also create a new folder by clicking the Make New Folder button.
  • To delete your archived IMs, on the Settings - IM Archives window, click Clear All Archives, and then click Delete Archives to confirm the deletion. Click Save.
  • To view IM Archives, on the Settings - IM Archives window, click View Archives. This opens the IM logs window. Double-click a Username to open the archived IM conversations with that buddy.

How do I protect the privacy and security of my AIM 7 account?

Use caution before you accept files or click links:

Viruses cannot be transferred through an Instant Message (IM), but it is possible that files attached to an IM may contain viruses or trojans. Also, links sent in an IM may point to web pages that contain viruses and trojans. Be cautious while opening any file or link sent through an IM, even if it is from a known person. Always use good virus protection software, such as McAfee VirusScan, for automatic scanning of all attachments.

Phishing is a form of internet-based identity theft. Phishers typically use upsetting or exciting (but false) statements asking for information such as Usernames, passwords, credit card information or Social Security numbers and more. Phishing scams may take many forms, but they typically start with an email or IM asking you to visit a website to update your personal information.

Protect your AIM account:

Make sure your password is difficult to guess for others, but easy for you to remember, and change it frequently. Do not disclose your password to anybody. If you use a shared computer, we recommend not using the Remember Me or Remember my Password feature on the AIM sign in window.

Security flaws in your operating system, web browser, or other software may allow a remote user to take control of your computer and capture passwords or other personal data. There are several ways to protect yourself from the effect of these flaws, such as:

  • Keep your virus software up to date.
  • Keep your operating system software up to date by installing all security updates/critical updates:
    (1) Microsoft Windows: http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com
    (2) Apple Macintosh: http://www.info.apple.com
  • Install personal firewall software, which alerts you in the event of dangerous data transmission.
  • Before clicking any hyperlink, in an email or IM, move your mouse pointer over the link so that you can see the actual URL (web address) that the link is pointing to.

Note: Move the mouse pointer over the link to get a good idea of whether the link is safe to click or not. If you are not sure, ask the sender if they meant to send it to you. Some viruses/trojans send dangerous links in emails or instant messages to users in the infected machine's Buddy List or Address Book, making the recipient think the link is safe because it came from a known person.

  • When visiting an unfamiliar website, go to the Security preferences for your Web browser and change the security level to High.
  • Change your password every three months.
  • Be sure to keep your email address up-to-date by editing your AIM profile information or going to https://my.screenname.aol.com.

Security issues affecting AIM:

Not all websites are safe. If you visit a malicious website, dangerous code can be written onto your computer, which allows somebody else to control your computer. They can sign into AIM with your AIM Username if your password is stored (although your password would not actually be revealed). If you think your computer has been compromised, you should immediately change all of your AIM passwords see, AIM for Desktop: Usernames, Passwords and Sign on Settings.

Unknown links on my profile that cannot be removed:

Some viruses/trojans can send harmful links that appear to be from a buddy you know. They can also replace your member profile with links to websites and replace the links even after you delete them. For more information on AOL security features, antivirus features, anti-spyware features, phishing, spam, and firewalls, go to AOL Keyword: Safety or http://discover.aol.com/security.

What are the AIM 7 for Windows privacy options?

Concerned about images, videos, and message invitations from strangers? Want to block an annoying person from contacting you? Just visit the AIM settings page and choose who can or can't contact you. Here’s how:

  1. At the top of your Buddy List window, click Menu or Options (depending on which version of AIM 7 you’re using).
  2. Click Privacy.

    Choose who can IM you:

    • Create a list of people blocked from Instant Messaging (IM) you by selecting Everyone except the people on my block list and clicking add people to my block list.
    • Allow only those on your Buddy List to IM you by selecting Only buddies on my Buddy List.
    • Ensure only a list of pre-determined people are able to IM you by selecting Only the people on my allow list and then click Add people to my allow list.

    Select your Buddy List privacy preferences:

    Don’t worry, sharing your Buddy List doesn't mean that your buddies can access your Buddy List. It only allows your buddies to see whether or not they are on your Buddy List. If you would like to know the Buddy Lists that you’re on click, Menu or Options at the top of your Buddy List Window. Click AIM on the drop-down menu and then click Buddy Lists I'm on.

    Decide who can find you:

    You can allow AIM users to search for your Username using your email address. Check Allow people to search for my Username using my email address.

    Show your buddies when you’re available:

    Let your buddies know whether you’re idle, typing a response, or using a mobile device. Or, perhaps, you want it to be a mystery. Either way, it’s your pick!

How do I change my AIM privacy settings to control who sees my Username online?

AIM provides many features to protect your privacy when online. Here's how to ensure only the people on your Buddy List can find you online:

You can also customize your online experience by controlling who can IM you.

  1. At the top of your Buddy List window, click Options or Menu (depending on which version of AIM 7 you’re using).
  2. Click Privacy.
  3. Uncheck Allow people to search for my Username using my email address.

How do I stop AIM from displaying my full name?

We all like a little privacy sometimes. Don’t worry, we’ll show you how to stop AIM from showing your real name.

  1. In the upper-right corner of your Buddy List window, click Options or Menu, depending on which version of AIM 7 you’re using.
  2. Click AIM.
  3. Click Edit my Profile Info.
  4. Update your profile to display only the information you’d like to share.
  5. Click Save.

AIM.com

AIM.com has privacy options available to you to delete your history if you chose to do so, block users, and manage other settings.

Click a heading below to expand to learn more about these options.

How do I access my privacy options in AIM.com?

From here, you can view all your Privacy options and manage your settings.

  1. In the top right corner of your AIM.com window, click Settings.
  2. Select Privacy from the menu on the left.

How do I use off the record?

Using Off the Record means that your chat history and messages will not be saved. You'll need to select this option per conversation that you want off the record.

 
  1. Start a chat with your contact.
  2. Open the drop-down menu in the upper right corner of the chat window.
  3. Click Go Off the Record.

    To confirm that your messages are off the record, your IM window will show, "You’re off the record. These messages will not be saved."

  4. To return to chat as normal, go to the same drop-down menu and click Go On the Record.

More about Off the Record…

  • How does off the record work?

    When you take a conversation off the record, that means it is not stored for you or for the person you are having a conversation with.

  • If I go off the record with Person A, do I still need to go off the record when I initiate a conversation with Person B?

    Yes, you have to choose to go off the record for each conversation you want to take off the record.

  • How long am I able to stay off the record?

    Any conversation you take off the record will stay off the record for the duration of your conversation. If you sign on, and sign off, the conversation will still be off the record until you choose to take it back on the record.

  • Does my conversation partner know when I go off the record?

    When you chat with someone on AIM.com and go off the record, they'll receive a notification when the chat goes off the record, as well as when it goes back on the record.

  • Is there a way to globally set all of my conversations to off the record?

    We're planning to add the ability to have a global off the record setting, rather than just making it a chat-by-chat selection. However, it is not available at this time. Stay tuned!

How do I block or unblock someone?

To block someone…

This person will now show in your Block List in your Privacy Settings.

  1. Select the chat or buddy that you want to block.
  2. In the upper right corner, open the drop-down menu.
  3. Click Block This Person.

To unblock someone…

You will now be able to chat with this user.

  1. Access your AIM.com Settings from the top right corner of your browser window.
  2. Select Privacy from the menu on the left.
  3. Within your Block List, click Unblock next to the user that you want to unblock.

What is message storage in AIM.com?

AIM.com logs and stores your conversation history (a month’s worth) whenever you chat with other people also using AIM. This allows us to sync your messages across devices. If the other person you are talking to is using an older version of AIM, or a third-party client, we only cache the conversation in the location you're using it. Your conversation history with those people won’t be available if you switch to AIM desktop from AIM mobile, for example.

Are messages synced for Google chat accounts too?

  • Google: Google saves the other person’s side of the conversation, so when you return to a chat with a Google contact, you may see the other person’s messages but not your own.

How do I clear message history?

You can delete message history with another user, however, once a conversation is stored, you'll only be able to clear what shows in your AIM history. You will not be able to clear your contact's record of the conversation.

 
  1. Start or open the chat with the person whose history you want to delete.
  2. Open the drop-down menu in the upper right corner of the chat window.
  3. Click Clear Chat History.

  4. Click Yes, clear chat history.