How to video-chat between iPhones and Android phones

FaceTime with the kids
Flickr | Clintus McGintus

Sometimes it seems like we truly are living in the future. Take, for example, video chatting. What once seemed like a far-out invention from “The Jetsons” is now commonplace technology! If you’re an iPhone user, you can use the FaceTime app to chat with your friends and family while seeing each other through live video.

However, if you’re calling someone who has an Android phone, that won’t work because the app is only available for iPhones. So, what are you to do? Never see the smiling faces of far-away friends who happen to use an Android? Nope! There are several options that will allow you to connect via video chat.

facetime app photo
Flickr | ND Strupler

One option to get around this hassle is to use Skype, which is available for both iPhones and Android devices. The app itself is free, and Skype-to-Skype calls are also free, if they are local or international. You must create an account with an ID in order to take advantage of the service.

Another alternative is Google Duo. Compatible with both iOS and Android platforms, the app also allows for free video calling. One perk for diehard Apple fans is that it does not require them to set up a Google account. The service is tied to your phone number. To save on data charges, use WiFi when you can.

If you’re wondering what differentiates Google Duo from Google Hangouts, which also enables video chatting, the answer is a couple things. Hangout is multifaceted. It can be used on desktops and supports messaging and group chats and also has multiway video. Duo was developed to be more specialized, with its only purpose being to make video calls on a phone or tablet.

iphone photo
Getty Images | Sean Gallup

Additionally, Duo has some specific features that differentiate it from the competition. When you open Duo, you see a front-facing split screen. This could come in handy in making sure you smooth down those crazy-looking flyaways before making that important business call, for instance. And the “Knock Knock” feature gives you a video preview of the person who’s calling before you answer. Seeing your mom’s face might remind you that you really do want to talk to her even though she’s been known to ask the same questions over and over again. (Yes, mom, I’m getting enough sleep! No, I’m not dating anyone right now, but thanks for asking!)

When a call comes through and you’re not sure if you have enough time for what could be a lengthy phone session, Duo rings for a full minute, giving you time to decide whether or not to pick up. Duo also makes the view you have of yourself smaller than in other apps, making you less likely to obsess over how big your pores look rather than giving the person on the other end of the line your undivided attention.

So, there you have it—several ways to video chat between Apple devices and Android phones. Now you have no excuse not to catch up with people just because their phone is a different brand!

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About the Author
Kate Streit
Kate Streit lives in Chicago. She enjoys stand-up comedy, mystery novels, memoirs, summer and pumpkin spice anything. Visit Scripps News to see more of Kate's work.

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