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Review: New AOL Desktop for Mac

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I have to commend the team at AOL that have developed the new AOL Desktop for Mac. They have created an interesting all-in-one mail, messaging, and browsing experienced that is clearly been well thought out, and designed specifically for a great Mac experience.

The new AOL Web Bowser, which is based on Webkit and looks very similar to Safari, is the fastest browser I’ve ever used on my Mac. It beat out Safari and Firefox in tests on my Macbook Pro. I was shocked – to say the least.

The new Mail App looks very much like Apple Mail (with the notable exception of an extremely annoying banner ad at the bottom of the application.) It’s easy to use, and efficient. I won’t be switching to an AOL email account anytime soon because I have .Mac – but if you’re a current AOL user, or looking for a more desktop like experience with a web-based email address, you may want to give it a look.

The new AOL Messenger is a vast improvement. The last version of AIM on Mac that I tried was a jumbled mess that I couldn’t even use because of the constant advertising bombardment on it, but this new version is slick, lean, and has nice features like tabbed chat that make it very useable and friendly.

The software will work with Tiger or Leopard, and both Intel and PPC Macs. Its free, and a must-have for current AOL users. New users may want to give it a try as well. I was surprised by how much I liked it.

If you ever want to chat, you can find me under my AIM ID – applegazette

You can download the new AOL Desktop for Mac right here.

Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo is a stalwart in the tech journalism community, has been chronicling the ever-evolving world of Apple products and innovations for over a decade. As a Senior Author at Apple Gazette, Kokou combines a deep passion for technology with an innate ability to translate complex tech jargon into relatable insights for everyday users.

18 thoughts on “Review: New AOL Desktop for Mac

  1. Why won’t LOL, er, AOL die already? I had the misfortune of using their dial-up service (on windows) for several years, and I managed to survive it by keeping it minimized, and using Firefox. Nowadays, I’m using the web the way it’s supposed to be used. DSL through my Wi-Fi router, with a shiny new MacBook for a computer.

  2. @redwall_hp

    I don’t think anyone is saying that AOL dial-up is a spectacular browsing experience – but that’s with any dail-up. They all have some kind of annoying bar they put on things. I hate dial-ups.

    This is a new piece of software from AOL, by a team of Mac developers that did a good job. Two very different things,

  3. Why do we need another email and web application? Why couldn’t AOL finally become what Google is while focusing their efforts on a FULL parity AIM release?!?! I don’t need yet another browser nor another email client, especially one with ads. I’m also not going to trust my AOL mail to another AOL software with a shorter life span than milk. Sorry, I don’t see the need and I am still using the old AOL client because this is missing some key features of the old client and replicating what I already have with Safari and Apple Mail. They must be good programmers but their effort is wasted when it should have been put to making AIM on par with the Windows version. THAT would have made a difference in my life. This ads nothing I don’t already have.

  4. I finally upgraded to this last night and it is TERRIBLE. Slower. Every time I send an email I get a message sent window THAT CONTAINS A F$#@ING AD IN IT!!

    Been using aol out of habit since 1995. This is it – I’m switching to Gmail as soon as I can figure out how to not lose my address book!

  5. downloaded AOL desktop. After two days of nothing but hangs and probs, ditched it.

    Since AOL keeps being the ONLY app I have among dozens of others, that keeps closing down and has no reliable stability, THAT … reliability … would have been the place to put the money in r and d.

    As soon as I figure out how to change email to something reliable for mac, AOL will be gone. We’ve suffered with it for too many years.

    I appreciate the folks who worked on the ‘desktop aol.’ But the focus was wrong.

  6. After many years w/AOL I went to ATT hi speed but kept AOL email, and was very satisfied until this year. AOL convinced to download to their AOL Desktop, its been a headache ever since. ALL THESE RAVES ABOUT HOW GREAT AOL DESKTOP IS PLAIN B.S.
    “Let me count the ways I hate thee:”
    1. It’s much slower, 2. the space to write emails is smaller, 3 there are more ads and constant pop ups,
    4. it constantly freezes, and if I’m writing an email, I lose it, 5. ‘Mail Waiting to be Sent,” which I used to prevent this is gone. 5. the DRAFT feature is unreliable, and drops out. 6. Tech support says they are “working on the problems” AOL DESKTOP SUCKS.

  7. AOL Desktop is a disaster!!!!!!!…. and tech support say they know this and advised me to use Safari to access AOL… can you believe that!!!!… and then they say they are working on the problem and hope to have new software in a couple of months… problem is they said the same thing a year ago…. I have been with AOL since the ninties and it’s time to leave them as they don’t care about me!!!!

  8. I have had nothing but problems with the AOL all-in-one. It continuously freezes or crashes. I can use the delete button once then it freezes and I have to quit and sign back on. I constantly get messages that says “message is loading” and then sometimes it loads and mostly it doesn’t. I’ve gone back to the old
    AoL in order to be able to quickly delete all the messages I don’t want. I also use Mac Mail which has been consistently great. I am slowly getting all my addresses etc over to the Mac Mail. What a shame that this new software is so bad. I don’t believe these comments that say its great. I know no one who has not had problems with it. Its 2010, get with it already.

  9. AOL’s ‘Desktop’ is thier most modern software but they seem to have some real ametuers working in the sites functionality. It almost seems as though they just don’t care! What a shame. Do they really understand what a poor reputation they have???
    I mean its no secret that they have had problems with every single version of Desktop they have come out with. The Emails are usually the 1st to not be able to connect to the servers. Thus rendered none readable. Then it just says ‘AOL has failed to respond’ once again a server issue.
    I mean what are these IT guys doing? I mean are they just kicking back and raking in a paycheck? It’s all over the internet that the program fails to work and then they just come out with yet another version that doesn’t work either!
    It’s like putting doo-doo on top of doo-doo! Just a fresher version!!!

    AOL is a big company and for the life of me I wonder what the corporate executives are doing that they wither don’t know or simply don;t care about the quality of thier AOL Desktop version which SHOULD be thier best of the best. But countless people are returning to the stone age of the 9.5 version or simply not using them at all and going somewhere else for free.
    The muliple tab email program is a great idea….just doesn’t seem that the programmers in which they employ are smart enough to make it stop malfunctioning and disapointing the public.

    What a shame. And this is what Ted Turner invested in? Hell, he probably doesn’t even use AOL himself….I promise you he doesn’t use desktop version! lol

    1. The AOL Mac desktop is a slow motion horror, at least on 10.4.11 with a PPC. Am using AOL primarily on a PPC running 9.1, AOL version 4.0. Lightning fast there. Problem was that they disabled the spam folder feature on the older version, so had to check that on my Tiger machine.

      Total piece of dung, IMHO

  10. This is not a good program, and the following are big issues that this has:

    1) I have had multiple difficulties conveying an attachments. They don’t reach their destination

    2) There is no “mail received” folder
    3) Old File Cabinet from AOL 9.0 Optimized, does not transfer
    4) When I change to another email address, the information in the new mailbox comes up before I sign on
    5) After reading an email, it is still in the “New Mail” folder and doesn’t move to another folder
    6) How do you save an email to the hard drive after reading it…only if you want to. You can direct the program to do it for all emails, but that is not the request.
    7) With previous email programs, when you signed on, anybody else wishing to sign on with that email address will boot you off. How come that doesn’t happen with this progam? You can have multiple people on the same address simultaneously. I’m not sure that is what we all want.

    PLEASE do something about this. You might consider going back to what AOL 9.0 Optimized has. It is a WONDERFUL program that I would use, except it didn’t install on my MacBook Pro, OS X, v. 10.6.8.

    Has anybody any suggestions? Please email me directly. Thank you.


  11. I’ve used a Mac on AOL since ’98. I’m running Mac OS 10.4.11 on a PPC iMac. Two days ago I downloaded Desktop for Mac (v 1.7.724) after months of AOL raving on and on about how great it was. Baloney, it’s an effen disaster. It’s awful. It’s like a perpetual abortion. I haven’t seen software this bad since I Beta tested AOL 2.7. So far I’ve made a list of over TWO DOZEN problems/defects/deficiencies/glitches. Space here doesn’t permit listing all of them.

    AOL claims Desktop was “designed by Mac users”. I do NOT believe that. No Mac user would make something harder, more complicated, unreliable, and just flat out annoying. Such things are what Windows PC people specialize in. In fact, Desktop for Mac has all the earmarks of being a patched-together hack job of Desktop 9.7 for PC’s and nothing more.

    Deleting this junk and going back to AOL 10.0, so, AOL, put all your time and effort into supporting and improving that software and give up on Desktop for Mac Frankenstein mess. …. Desktop for Mac = Epic Fail !

  12. I am using AOL Version 1.7.724 and all of a sudden my “favorites” have disappeared.
    They were all listed to the left of the Welcome screen . How do I get them back?

  13. just installed AOL Desktop for the first time in years (literally… so many years!). what surprises me is how they’ve managed to keep a lot of their features from the 90s. it’s almost like a time machine!

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