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Keeping in touch using a video call

Video calling is a great way to stay connected because it lets you and the person you're talking to see each other while you chat. Video calls use the internet, so if you're using a Wi-Fi connection, you can call people who live abroad at no extra cost. This can help you stay in touch with your friends and family if they live far away.


What is a video call?

Video calling lets you and the person you're calling see one another while you chat, so you'll probably feel closer to them than you do on ordinary phone calls. You can even set up video calls with multiple people at once.

On this page, we've brought together step-by-step instructions on how to make video calls using different apps and different devices – some of the sections include video demonstrations that make things clearer.

If you're using a smartphone or tablet, make sure you're connected to Wi-Fi before making a video call. Video calling uses a lot of data and if you go over your data allowance, you may end up being charged extra by your phone network. 


How do I video call using WhatsApp on a smartphone?

If you want to make a video call using WhatsApp, follow these steps:

  1. Open WhatsApp on your phone.
  2. Click the icon labelled 'calls' from the panel of icons at the bottom of the screen. This will take you to the calls tab.
  3. Tap the icon of a phone with a '+' symbol next to it on the top right-hand corner of your screen to make a call. 
  4. Choose a contact from your list or type the name of the person you want to call in the search bar.
  5. Click the icon that looks like a camera next to their name to start video calling them.
  6. To end the call, just click the red phone icon.

Click here to find out more about how to get started on WhatsApp


How do I video call using Facebook Messenger on a smartphone?

You need to have a Facebook account to make audio or video calls over Facebook Messenger. If you have a Facebook account, follow these steps:

  1. Open Facebook Messenger on your phone.
  2. Click the icon labelled 'chats' from the panel of icons at the bottom of the screen. This will take you to the chats tab.
  3. In the search bar at the top of the screen, type the name of the person you want to call. If you click on their name, you'll go to your 'chat' with them.
  4. Click the symbol that looks like a camera next to their name to start video calling them.
  5. You can add up to 7 other people to a video call to have a group chat. During the video call, tap the icon of a profile and a '+' sign and then search for their name to add them.
  6. To end the call, just tap the red phone icon.

Click here to find out more about Facebook and other social media platforms


How do I video call using Zoom?

Zoom is a type of audio and video-calling software. Zoom is free to use for calls hosting up to 100 people, but you need to make an account to start making your own calls. If someone sends you an invite to a Zoom call, you just need to follow the instructions in the email invitation to join the call.

Be careful and only click links from people you know and trust. It's always worth double checking with them that they've sent you a Zoom link.

Receiving a video call on Zoom

To receive calls, you can access Zoom through your internet browser on your smartphone, tablet or computer. This means you don't have to download anything to receive Zoom calls.

  1. Click on the link that your contact has sent you over email, text message or WhatsApp.
  2. To join the call, click 'join' from your browser.
  3. To end the call, click the red phone icon or close the browser window.

Making calls using Zoom on your computer

If you'd like to set up a Zoom video call yourself, you'll need to create an account and download the Zoom application onto your computer. You can do this for free on Zoom's website. Once Zoom's downloaded, you can then create a link that you share with the person or people you want to call.

If you're using a desktop computer that doesn't have a built-in camera and microphone, you may have to purchase a webcam and microphone headset.

Follow these steps to make video calls using Zoom on your computer:

  1. Open the Zoom software
  2. Sign in using your email address and password.
  3. Click on 'host'. This will open up a call, and you'll see yourself on the screen.
  4. Click the icon labelled 'participants' from the panel of icons at the bottom of the screen. This will open up a panel on the right-hand side of the screen, which lists all the current call participants.
  5. Click on 'invite' on the bottom left of this panel. You can then choose how to invite people – either by copying the invite link ('copy invite link') or by using an email platform such as Gmail. If you choose to copy the invite link, you'll get a link that you can share with family and friends by pasting it into an email or a text message – whatever's easiest for you.
  6. Wait for your family and friends to join the call.
  7. To end the call, click end in the bottom right-hand corner.

Making calls using Zoom on your smartphone or tablet

To make Zoom calls on your smartphone or tablet, you'll need to create an account and download the app called 'Zoom – One Platform to Connect'. You can download Zoom for free in the Play Store if you have an Android phone, or the App Store if you have an iPhone. Click here to find out more about how to download apps.

Once you've downloaded the Zoom app, you can make a video call using the same steps as those listed above (for making a video call using Zoom on your computer). 


How do I video call using Skype?

Skype is a type of messaging and calls software that you can use on your smartphone, tablet or computer. Like Zoom, Skype is free to use for calls hosting up to 100 people – you just need to make an account to start making your own calls. 

Using Skype on your computer to receive a call

To receive calls, you can access Skype through your internet browser, so you don't need to download anything. 

  1. Click on the link that your contact has sent you over email, text message or WhatsApp.
  2. Once you've clicked on this link, a window will pop open. To join the call, click 'join as guest'.
  3. Type in your name in the space provided and click 'join' to join the video call.
  4. To end the call, tap the red phone icon or close the browser window.

Using Skype on your computer to make a call

If you'd like to set up a Skype video call yourself, you'll need to download Skype to your computer and set up an account with them using your email address. You can do this for free on Skype's website. Once you've downloaded Skype, follow these instructions:

  1. Open Skype on your computer.
  2. Click 'meet now'.
  3. Click 'start call'.
  4. When the call has started, click 'share call link'. This will give you a link that you can share with family and friends. Just paste it into an email, text message or WhatsApp – whatever works best for you.
  5. Alternatively, if you have added your friends and family as contacts in Skype, you can add them to the call from your Skype contact list.
  6. To end the call, click the red phone icon.

To add someone new as a contact, click or tap on the symbol in the Skype app that looks like a magnifying glass, and type in the name, Skype name or email of the person you want to chat with. Select them from the search results, then type a message and click 'send' to send them a contact request.

If you're using a desktop computer that doesn't have a built-in camera and microphone, you may have to purchase a webcam and microphone headset.

Using the Skype app on your smartphone or tablet 

To make and receive calls using Skype on your smartphone or tablet, you'll need to download the app. You can download Skype for free in the Play Store if you have an Android phone, or the App Store if you have an iPhone. Click here to find out more about how to download apps.

Once you've downloaded Skype, follow these steps to make a call:

  1. Open the Skype app on your phone and sign in using your account details or, if you don't have a Skype account yet, register for one.
  2. Click on the person you want to call from your contacts list. If you want to make the call a group call, add more participants from your contacts list.
  3. Click the symbol that looks like a camera next to their name to start video calling them. 
  4. To end the call, tap the red phone icon.
  5. To receive a call, you'll get a notification that someone is calling you, just like when someone phones you normally.

How do I video call on an iPhone, iPad or Mac using Facetime?

If you and the person you want to call both have an iPhone, iPad or Apple Mac, you can use FaceTime to video call each other.

FaceTime will already be installed on your device, so you don’t have to download it to get started. 

FaceTime on an iPhone or iPad

To start a FaceTime call on your iPhone or iPad, follow these steps:

  1. Go to 'contacts' and select the person you want to call.
  2. Once you've opened the contact page of the person you want to call, there will be an option to use FaceTime. Click the symbol that looks like a camera to start video calling them.
  3. To end the call, just click the red phone icon.

FaceTime on a Mac

To start a FaceTime call on your Mac, follow these steps: 

  1. Open FaceTime by clicking on the green icon of a camera that's labelled 'FaceTime'.
  2. Once you've opened FaceTime, you'll see a search bar on the left-hand side of the page. Type in the name of the contact you want to call.
  3. If the person you're trying to call has the right device (an Apple device, like an iPhone or Mac), you'll see the icon of a camera next to their name, which means you can FaceTime video call them. Click this icon to video cal them.
  4. To end the call, just click the red phone icon.

Top tips for your first call

We've put together some tips for when you’re getting started with video calling to help you feel as confident as possible with the technology:

  • If you have a group call planned, you could ask a trusted friend or family member to have a 'test' call with you first so you can get used to using the technology.
  • Make sure you're connected to Wi-Fi and have a strong internet connection. It can help to move nearer to the router if your internet connection is slow.
  • You can test your settings before you join a call to make sure that your microphone and camera are switched on and working properly. Then, when you're on the call, you can doble check that your microphone and camera are switched on – if they're switched off, the symbols on the screen will have a line across them.
  • If you're having trouble hearing or seeing anyone, ask them to make sure they have their microphone and cameras switched on.

If you're having trouble with Zoom, they've got some tips on their website. . 

If you're having trouble with Skype, they've got some tips on their website. .

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Last updated: Jul 10 2023

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