9 best free video-calling apps for iPhone & iPad: Great alternatives to FaceTime

Ever wanted to video-call someone who's not on an iOS device or simply want to use an alternative to Apple's FaceTime? There are a lot of dedicated messaging apps out there that also allow you to video call your friends and family, and better still, they're often free and can work across multiple platforms. Here are the 9 best

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  • Skype
  • Messenger
  • Hangouts
  • Viber
  • Tango
  • imo
  • WeChat
  • ooVoo
  • WhatsApp
  • More stories
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Best video-calling iOS apps: Skype

FREE - Skype for iPhone & Skype for iPad (Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch)

The Skype video-calling app is ubiquitous, and this fact alone gives it enormous usefulness: a lot of people and companies are on it. The beauty of Skype is that it can be used to make video calls, but also doubles up as a low-cost alternative for international calling.

Its interface is very easy to understand and makes it easy to use, no matter what platform you're using. As Skype can be used on all different types of platforms, it's a great alternative to FaceTime for making video calls.

You'll need a Skype account to use the app, but after Microsoft's acquisition of Skype back in 2011, there's far greater integration with other accounts, such as Microsoft's very own accounts, which can be used to sign into Skype.

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FREE - Skype for iPhone & Skype for iPad (Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch)

The Skype video-calling app is ubiquitous, and this fact alone gives it enormous usefulness: a lot of people and companies are on it. The beauty of Skype is that it can be used to make video calls, but also doubles up as a low-cost alternative for international calling.

Its interface is very easy to understand and makes it easy to use, no matter what platform you're using. As Skype can be used on all different types of platforms, it's a great alternative to FaceTime for making video calls.

You'll need a Skype account to use the app, but after Microsoft's acquisition of Skype back in 2011, there's far greater integration with other accounts, such as Microsoft's very own accounts, which can be used to sign into Skype.

 

Best video-calling iOS apps: Facebook Messenger

FREEMessenger (Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch)

Facebook introduced Messenger in 2011, creating an app which allowed you to instant-message on a variety of different platforms. Video calling on the platform is relatively new, and the functions are pretty limited. However, if you have a friend on Facebook and they've got the Facebook Messenger app too, it can prove to be a very useful way of communicating with them. 

As stated above, you'll need a Facebook account to use the app and will need the party you're calling to also be on Facebook.

 

Best video-calling iOS apps: Google Hangouts

FREEGoogle Hangouts (Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch)

Google's very own social media platform, Google Plus, took an interesting step when it ventured into the world of messaging via Google Hangouts. As the name suggests, Google designed the platform to allow people to 'hang out' together. The app is available on all iOS devices and can also be used on desktops and Android devices.

Hangouts can be used to make a video call with 10 people simultaneously, making it a very useful app to have on iOS, as friends and family who are on Android usually have it pre-installed on their smartphones.

In order to be able to use Google Hangouts, both you and the opposite party will need to have a Google account that's linked with Hangouts via a Google Plus account.

 

Best video-calling iOS apps: Viber

FREEViber (Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch)

Viber is an extremely popular app which allows you to text and call your friends and family with ease. The app works on multiple different platforms and allows you to use the functionalities of a phone on a non-cellular device. If you're setting it up on iPad or iPod touch, you'll need a mobile phone too in order to get it activated; this is due to Viber working on your mobile number, rather than a username and login. A full guide and explanation can be found on Viber's website.

Once you've created or logged into your Viber account, you'll be able to see all your contacts through the app and easily video-call them.

 

Best video-calling iOS apps: Tango

FREETango (Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch)

Tango has been labelled as one of the best free video-calling apps by many of its users, in large part because of its simple, well-designed and easy-to-use interface. Tango also offers the ability to import your Facebook friends and phone's contact list.

Tango has a separate feature which allows you to meet people who are nearby and have a one-to-one conversation with them, or even join a public chat room to join a conversation. This fun feature allows you to interact with more people and potentially make new friends too.

In order to use Tango you'll need an account and for your recipient to also have it downloaded on their device. On another note, you'll need to be at least 17 years old to download the app.

 

Best video-calling iOS apps: imo

FREEimo (Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch)

The popular app imo provides free video-calling capabilities without the annoying ads. Through the app you'll be able to create group chats and even make voice calls. One of its highlights is that it comes bundled with a lot of different 'stickers', so that when you're chatting with someone, you can liven up the conversation.

The app requires you to sign into an imo account, and your recipient needs the app and a valid account in order to join in the conversation.

 

Best video-calling iOS apps: WeChat

FREEWeChat (Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch)

WeChat has been around since January 2011, but grew in popularity only recently. The app's wide range of features has helped its popularity grow sharply in certain parts of the world.

The app itself has had its fair share of critics; it's originally Chinese and consequently - and controversially - has to abide by Chinese law. Some countries, including India, have contemplated banning the app altogether.

Regardless of this, the app remains reasonably popular in the UK for messaging and video calling. The app requires you to sign in and will naturally require the recipient to also have the WeChat app.

 

Best video-calling iOS apps: ooVoo

FREEooVoo (Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch)

ooVoo is mainly used by the younger generation to chat with each other. What makes ooVoo special is that you can have multiple different video calls on various different platforms, which allows you to easily communicate with your friends and family no matter where they are in the world.

The app has, however, received a certain amount of criticism from parents who are worried about their kids' privacy and safety; it's felt that the default settings have the potential to give a lot of information to strangers.

The app requires you and the recipient to have an ooVoo account.

 

Best video-calling iOS apps: WhatsApp

FREEWhatsApp (Compatible with iPhone)

WhatsApp works by analysing your iPhone's contacts and allowing you to chat to them, for free. Full video calling is not yet available on WhatsApp, but is coming very soon; and for the time being, you can send short videos to your friends and family. There are third-party applications which work in conjunction with WhatsApp, such as Booyah. The application works with WhatsApp, in order to allow you to make video calls to your WhatsApp contacts. See more: How to group video chat on iPad or iPhone.

Its biggest limitation is that you need a phone number in order to make the app work, which is not entirely ideal for iPad and iPod touch users - but there are some workarounds in the article linked below. Unlike Viber, WhatsApp doesn't have a solution for users who don't have a physical SIM card in their devices.

However, you'll be able to find third-party apps, such as Messenger+, which provide you with a means of using WhatsApp on iPad.

Read next: How to install WhatsApp on an iPad (without jailbreaking).

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