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Smartphone Apps for Video Calling

Staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t mean you have to lose touch with your loved ones. Use the free apps below to make video calls to friends, family, and neighbors while you shelter in place. When you download each of the app and open for the first time, pop-ups will ask you to give the app permission to your contacts, camera, and microphone. The app will also ask permission to send you notifications. Say yes to all permissions.

Tips for Video Calling

· When you make a video call, the person you’re calling can usually see you before they answer, so have your smile ready as soon as you make the call. If someone video calls you, they cannot see you until you accept the call.

· Most video calling apps have a feature in them that lets you take a photo of your video call, so you can save the memory of your video chat.

· Though most video calling apps work over data, the picture quality will be higher if you and the person you’re chatting with are both on wifi.

· Since the apps use wifi, they can be used to make calls to people in most other countries for no charge. They can also be used when you’re in another country and want to call home, but don’t want to make a pricey international call. You can use the wifi at your hotel or even a café.

· Most video chat apps also make regular voice calls, which is handy if you have a weak wifi connection.

· There are many other apps in addition to the ones below, so ask your friends and family which apps they already use.

· Some apps support video calls between more than two people so you can turn your video call into a video party!

FaceTime for iPhones

Anyone with an iPhone or iPad can make a videocall using FaceTime. No need to install any additional software, simply tap on your phone app, go to contacts, tap on person you want to call, and tap on the FaceTime icon under their name.

If you want to FaceTime someone who has an iPad, but not an iPhone, make sure their email address is listed in their contact information. FaceTime is only available for iPhones and iPads, so if you want to videochat with an Android phone user, you’ll need to use one of the other apps listed.

Google Duo

Android phones users can download the app Google Duo to make videocalls to Android and iPhone users, and some new Android phones already have the app pre-installed. To make a call, open the app and search for the person you want to call. Tap on their name, then tap on the Video call icon at the bottom of the screen.

The person you call—whether they have an Android or iPhone—must also have the app downloaded. If you have an iPhone, you can download the app to easily call your Android friends.

Facebook Messenger

Facebook’s messaging features became so robust that the company made a separate app for messaging called Facebook Messenger. You must have a Facebook account to use Facebook Messenger.

To make a video call, open the app and search for the person you want to call. Tap on their name, then tap on the video chat icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen.


Skype was one of the first vidoechat options available, and it’s still very popular with users, especially those who make a lot of international calls. Skype can be used on your phone or computer. Skype is only free if you call other Skype users, so if you plan to call or video call someone with a mobile phone, make sure they download the Skype app first. You can also use Skype to call a cell or home phone for a small free.

Once you download Skype, it will ask you to create a Skype account or enter your Microsoft account information. If you have a Windows 10 computer or an email from Microsoft (@outlook.com, @msn.com, @live.com, @hotmail.com), you likely already have a Microsoft account.

To make a video call, open the app and tap the phone icon on the bottom of the screen and scroll up to see your list of contacts. Tap the video call icon next to the person’s name. If there is no icon, tap on their name, then tap Invite Invite to Skype to encourage them to create a Skype account.


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