Nowadays, people around the world can instantly communicate, bridging the distance via voice calls, texts, and emails with the simple touch of a button. With the introduction of smartphones touting front-facing cameras, a slew of tools for video chatting soon found their way to mobile devices. Many tech companies have even gone so far as to include their own proprietary chat clients in their products. Though, like any popular service, there also exists an array of third-party offerings available on both iOS and Android. Here are our favorite video-chat apps for streaming your beautiful mug.
Don’t forget to take a look at our picks for the best messaging apps for iOS and Android, some of which also let you video-call your family and friends.
The reason that Facebook Messenger is perhaps the best choice on this list is the fact that you probably already have it, and most of your friends do, too. Not only that, but it’s also pretty easy to use. Simply open up the app, press on the person you want to call and tap the camera button in the top-right corner. The app will then connect you with your friend and you will be able to chat the same way you would in any other video chat app. If you need to chat with a group, you can call a group of Facebook friends at once.
Facebook Messenger is available for iOS, Android, and also via any web browser logged into your Facebook account. No matter where you are, or which device you are using, you can always call your family and friends using Messenger. You can use live effects to have some fun with your family and friends, and Messenger also lets you keep track of chats with others while keeping your video chat as a small floating window within Messenger.
There are plenty of other things you can do with Facebook Messenger, so we encourage you to read our tips and tricks guide to master Facebook’s Messenger app.
Apple’s proprietary video-chat option remains one of the most popular video-chat apps on the market. Though only available for iOS and MacOS users, Facetime’s simple interface allows for quick video calls using either Wi-Fi or your network connection.
If you’re an iOS user, you will find that you can start a video from anywhere you can see a contact in iOS. You can start a video call from a message in iMessage, or you could even add a contact as a favorite in the phone app to quickly start a FaceTime call. iOS 12 will be bringing a bunch of must-have improvements to FaceTime, including group FaceTime calls and the option to layer Animoji and Memoji over your face in FaceTime calls.
FaceTime is adding a lot of cool features, but the real advantage is that it’s already integrated within iOS and doesn’t require any additional software or advanced setup. If you are new to iOS or Mac, we prepared a guide on how to use FaceTime so that you can learn how to use all of the features.
In 2016, Google began to replace Hangouts with Duo as a part of the suite of pre-installed core apps for new Android devices. Google wants Duo to become the default video calling app on Android devices, which is great news for iPhone users who can also download Duo on the App Store, and contact their family and friends who use Android.
It doesn’t get any simpler than Google Duo. You open the app, and it immediately turns on your camera. Once you have your contacts populated, it will be as simple as just tapping on their contact name, what Google is touting as “one-tap calling.” It will also smoothly transition from Wi-Fi to your cellular data connection to make sure you can connect from anywhere.
Duo has a feature called Knock Knock that turns on the caller’s camera in order to show who’s calling. The app will let callers know the video is visible to the other person, and it will only trigger with people already in your contact list. If you decide that this isn’t something you like, you can easily disable it in Duo’s settings. It creates fun opportunities and surprises — such as teasing a birthday cake before wishing someone a happy birthday. If you can’t get through, Google Duo also now includes the ability to leave a video message for them to pick up later.
You can learn more about Google Duo by reading our article as we go hands-on with Google’s new video calling app.
WhatsApp is one of the most popular chat services on the planet, and if you’re one of the billion daily users then using WhatsApps video calling services may be the most convenient option for you.
Thankfully, WhatsApp’s video calling capabilities are no slouch. Getting started is easy — just navigate to your chosen chat and tap the video call button. WhatsApp will also move between your data connection and Wi-Fi, ensuring a strong connection regardless of where you are — and you can even check your other messages while you’re in the call.
It used to be that WhatsApp was a little lacking in features compared to other services, but it closed some of that gap with group video calling — though there is still no option for the fun stickers and other features you’ll find on other apps. Also, WhatsApp lacks the ability to video call from a desktop — something achievable on other apps. Still, it’s a good video calling platform, and a great way to get in contact with those existing chat groups on WhatsApp.