Thanks to mobile devices and global data networks, keeping in touch with friends, family, and co-workers is easier than ever. Video phones were once the stuff of science fiction. Nowadays, video calls can be connected from almost anywhere, and it's the next-best thing to meeting in person.
Until we can dial up holograms in our living rooms, video calling from a smartphone, tablet, or computer is the way to go. Check out this list of the top video chat apps:
- Skype (iOS, Android, macOS, Windows)
- WhatsApp Messenger (iOS, Android, Web, macOS, Windows) The ubiquitous WhatsApp excels at person-to-person video calling across platforms. There are no fees for video calling or any other features, all of which are protected by encryption. WhatsApp users can leave voice messages, send text, multimedia, and documents to individuals or group chats.
- FaceTime (iOS, macOS)
- Houseparty (iOS, Android, macOS, Chrome)
- Viber Messenger: Chats & Calls (iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, Linux)
- Facebook Messenger (iOS, Android, Web)
- Google Duo (iOS, Android, Web, Google Nest)
- Signal (iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, Linux)
One of the longest-running video calling utilities, Skype comes highly recommended for cross-platform group video chats. Supporting up to 24 people on a single HD video call, Skype to Skype connections are always free.
Other features include messaging and voice calling. With a Skype subscription or Skype Credit, calls can be made from Skype to landlines and mobile phones.
Head to web.whatsapp.com in a browser to chat over the web.
Newest iPhone FAQs
For Apple users, FaceTime provides a built-in video calling solution across Apple devices. FaceTime connects up to 32 people in the same video chat, using people's phone number or Apple ID. FaceTime video calling includes Animoji, stickers, and other effects that can be superimposed directly on a live call.
Houseparty offers a unique way to video chat, play games, and even share your screen with friends. Users are alerted when their friends are "in the house" and available for chat, which means no more rejected calls. Group chats can be scheduled and invitees can RSVP ahead of the next Houseparty group event.
Some games require In-App purchases. Connect over the web with app.houseparty.com from a Chrome browser.
Viber boasts over a billion users across the globe, and end-to-end encryption. Free video calling is joined by a bevy of features such as voice calling, messaging, self-destructing secret chats, stickers, and chat extensions. With Viber Out, users can call landlines and mobile phones with In-App purchases.
Users can create their own Viber Community with unlimited members, or start a group message chat with up to 250 people.
Facebook users can initiate video calls from anywhere using Messenger. Features include dark mode, filters, group video chatting, and more. In addition to video calling, Messenger makes it possible to send voice or text messages, send money to friends with a debit card or PayPal account, and share your location.
Chat from a web browser with messenger.com.
Google accounts with Duo can support up to eight people in a video call, touting the highest quality of any video calling app. Personalized video messages can be left for contacts to watch later, when they are not available for a live chat. Low light mode helps make video calling better when ambient lighting is less than optimal.
Google Duo also supports old-fashioned voice calling. Connect from a web browser with duo.google.com.
Signal emphasizes privacy and speed, with state-of-the-art encryption optimized for slow networks. HD video calling, voice calls, and chat features are free. The independent, non-profit Signal Messenger, LLC promises no tracking or advertisements. Night mode, photo annotations, disappearing messages, and custom alerts round out the package.