FaceTime is a video call platform that should need no introduction for iPhone users. But given it's an Apple app, which the company has decided to keep exclusive to its ecosystem, means Android users can’t access it. By extension, this also means iOS users can’t use FaceTime to communicate with their Android-using friends.
Fortunately, there are some great alternative apps that are available on both platforms. So Android users can get a FaceTime-like experience, and everyone can communicate with everyone else.
While these alternatives don’t totally recreate the FaceTime experience, they are great video calling apps in their own right. We’ve highlighted three of the very best FaceTime alternatives below, and under that you’ll find a list of other options you might want to consider.
- If you do know people with iOS devices, here's how to use FaceTime
WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps around, and while it’s mostly known for text, it also supports voice and video calls.
It’s a great alternative to FaceTime in part because a lot of people already have it. One of the best things about FaceTime is that it comes pre-installed on iOS devices, so everyone in that ecosystem will be able to communicate, whereas for other apps you need everyone you want to call to install it.
So, chances are most of those people already have WhatsApp. Beyond that, it’s also useful since calls are encrypted and they’re easy to start – just tap the video camera icon in any chat.
If you’re worried about using a lot of data during video calls, WhatsApp has you covered there too, as it includes a ‘Low Data Usage’ toggle (in Settings > Data and storage usage) which can reduce video quality to lessen the data use.
And as WhatsApp is also a full-featured app for voice and text chats, complete with groups, cloud backups, GIFs and more, it’s potentially the only communication app you’ll ever need.
Keep in mind that the app uses your phone number, which means it only properly runs on your phone – though you can use WhatsApp Web to get it synced up with your computer or tablet.
Skype predates FaceTime and pretty much every other video calling platform, so it’s had a lot of time to get things right, and having been around that long it’s another service that a lot of people probably already have.
The need to log in, rather than just tying it to your phone number, makes it arguably a bit less slick to use on a phone than WhatsApp, but for that same reason Skype is a better option on computers and tablets. In fact, Skype runs on just about every platform you might want it to, from Android and iOS, to Windows and Mac, to even Linux, Xbox One and beyond.
Once you’ve got an account and added some friends, you can video call them at the press of a button, and Skype supports up to 24 participants in a single call.
And like WhatsApp, Skype also support voice calls and text chats with all the core features you’d expect those services to include.
Google Duo is a relatively recent attempt from Google to make Android’s version of FaceTime, and while it seemingly hasn’t managed that in terms of popularity, the quality is certainly there.
Duo keeps things as simple (and video-focused) as possible. In fact, as soon as you launch the app you’ll see yourself through your phone’s camera, then just tap on one of your contacts to video call them. And it uses your phone number, so you don’t need to create an account.
Video calls support up to eight participants, and you can even leave video messages. There are also handy features like ‘Knock Knock’, which lets you see live video of the person calling before you answer.
And while Duo is made by Google, it’s not exclusive to Android. It’s not a one-stop chat option like the apps above – this really is focused on the video side of things, but for that it’s a top choice.
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