I really miss my grandchildren from time to time. It's a shame they live so far away, but I believe that where they're growing up is best for them. Luckily, there are numerous ways I can video call them - entirely for free! Even though I can't be present as much I'd like, using these apps and software allows me to be with them without even being in the room. Use any of these to video callyour family and friends in no time:
Things you need: A Facebook account and internet connection.
What it’s available on: You can download Facebook Messenger from the App Store if you have an iPhone, or download it from Google Play if you have an Android phone. If you’re on a PC, tablet or iPad, just head to www.messenger.com using your internet browser.
Standout feature: Facebook Messenger is an integrated part of Facebook, the world’s largest social media site. That means that if you have a Facebook account, you have the potential to video chat with many, if not most, of your current contacts.
How to use it: If you’re using a phone, all you have to do is log in using your Facebook username and password once you’ve downloaded the Facebook Messenger app from either the App Store or Google Play. Once you’re in the app, click on People, search for the contact you’d like to video call or select them from the list that appears on screen, then select the camera icon on the top-right-hand corner of your screen to initiate the video call (or the phone icon for a regular voice call).
If you’re on a PC, tablet, iMac or iPad, simply head to www.messenger.com and log in using your Facebook username and password. Select the contact you want to call from the list down the left-hand-side of your screen, or search for them. When the chat window pops up, click the camera icon on the top-right-hand corner of the screen to initiate the video call (or the phone icon for a regular voice call).
Things you need: An internet connection.
What it’s available on: You can use Skype on an iPhone or Android phone by downloading the app from either the App Store or Google Play. You can also use it on an iPad or tablet, as well as on your PC, iMac, and even on a smart TV. For all the latter, all you have to do is head to www.skype.com and click on the Download link to download Skype software that’s relevant to your device.
Standout feature: Skype allows you to purchase a phone number, which lets you receive calls from regular landline phones, making the service ideal if you have relatives living in different countries than yourself. You can even purchase credits that allow you to make outbound calls to landlines, as well as send SMS messages.
How to use it: Once you download the app or software, you’ll be asked to register an account. This will only take you a few moments. Once you’re logged in, you can search for contacts by name or other details in the Skype Directory. After you’ve added the contacts you’d like, the next thing to do is click the contact you’d like to initiate a video call with. You can do this via the Contacts section if you’re on a phone and then clicking on the camera icon, or by clicking on their name as it appears on the left-hand-side of the screen, if you’re on any of the kinds of devices listed above, and then clicking on the camera icon.
Things you need: A device that runs on either Mac OS or iOS (iPhone, iPad, Mac, iPod Touch) and a WiFi connection.
What it’s available on: All post-2011 iPhones, iPads, Macs and iPod Touch models.
Standout feature: The video calling on FaceTime is excellent, with fantastic picture and sound quality. You can also video call a relative or friend who also has one of the devices listed above completely for free.
How to use it: If you’re using a Mac, launch the FaceTime app from the dock or Applications folder. Find the name of the person you'd like to FaceTime, listed on the right-hand navigation pane, and click on it. Click on the number or email you'd like to call if you have multiple choices. If you’re on an iPhone, iPad or Ipod Touch, simply click on the FaceTime app (that should be pre-loaded on any of these devices) and click on Contacts. Select the contact you want and then click the camera icon that’s in line with the word “FaceTime” to initiate the call.
*VIDEO CALLING AVAILABLE THIS YEAR* WhatsApp
Things you need: An internet connection.
What it’s available on: You can download WhatsApp from the App Store if you have an iPhone, or from Google Play if you have an Android phone. You can also use WhatsApp on a PC, tablet, iPad or iMac if you have an existing WhatsApp account on your phone.
Standout feature: The ability to use WhatsApp across many different platforms and devices is probably WhatsApp’s most defining feature. It is also the most popular instant messaging app in the world.
How to use it: Once you’ve downloaded WhatsApp, you’ll have register an account before you can use it. It then gives you the option to either import contacts already saved on your phone, from Facebook, or add them manually. All you have to do next is select who you want to voice call or message from Contacts. Note that that the app’s video calling feature is still in development, but it will be enabled sometime during the current year.