We are texting a lot these days. Free apps are as easy as breathing. And almost free. Just pay for 3G or 4G internet. And you can freeload if you connect to Wi-Fi. Nowadays recalling those SMS messages when you had to pay for each one (in some countries) feels crazy expensive in 2016.
Fortunately for us, we have come to a point when we can hear voices for free. I mean we can do voice calls for free. With a variety of free calling apps. More than that, if you want to make free calls you probably have an app for that already. First of all, everybody’s got Facebook.
I used this one several times in multiple countries. It works. This is how you do the calling using Facebook.
You choose the person you calling from your messaging list. Then tap onto the call button in upper right corner.
Pay attention to colors. When the button is almost as blue as the background and less visible that means the person is unavailable, you cannot make the call.
If a person is available you wait and hope she will pick up.
If you want more you can do a group chat. But do you?
I have also spent hours doing videocalls with this app. See “HD” Letters on the first picture? Here it means the voice quality though. And that is how good the resolution can get if both people have a stable internet connection. I have not experienced any audio or video problems with home broadband internet and it can be just as good with mobile 3G or 4G connection. This can permanently replace Skype for you if Facebook is not banned in your country.
Available on everything with a touchscreen, PCs and Mac computers.
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When I heard that Microsoft bought Skype I knew it was a smart thing to do. Millions of people have been using Skype to make free calls for years now.
First, you have to create an account. You can come up with a funny username, does not have to be the name from your state ID. I suggest “pandabearhater100%”.
You have to able to access your e-mail because that is where your Skype password will be sent. You also need to able to speak because there is a soundcheck as a part of the setup process.
The setup will take just a couple of minutes. But before you call somebody in this app you have to find and add them. This is how the search box looks like.
You added the person but you still cannot make the call because that person needs to add you back. Basically, you need consent. This is how it looks on the other end of the line.
Same as with Facebook you can make voice calls unlimited times. And if you are calling somebody pretty you can make a video call. Also when you are already talking on a voice call you can click on the “Camera” button and add video signal to your conversation.
In my experience, Skype tends to be more sensitive to network connection quality than Facebook Messenger. You are more likely to lose connection. And video calls have bigger bandwidth requirements, obviously. Unfortunately, for cases when the video call glitches or pauses I have only one tip for you. Tap on the “Camera” button again and cancel the video signal. In most places, you have enough bandwidth for a voice call.
You can also call to any mobile and landline phones quite cheap.
Skype is available on Android, iOS, Mac, Blackberry, Windows phone, Amazon fire phone, Windows PC, and even in TVs.
If you prefer a purple color you should install Viber. As always the other person must be a Viber user for it to be free.
Also, some people love Nokia so much they are still using old ones with Symbian OS.
Viber works with the Symbian platform as well.
On top of that, all the fierce Linux proponents can install and use it as well.
Same as with Facebook Messenger you choose the person you calling from your messaging list first. In the upper right corner, you see the call button.
And tap on it till somebody picks up. There are over 200 million users out there.
Almost forgot, there is also a list of past calls. Very conveniently it looks like a recent call list on the phone interface.
There is also a new “Viber out” feature that allows calling any number for a fee.
Line: Free Calls & Messages
Over 400 million users here. Personally, I like its cheerful green interface so much more than the over-ripe purple of Viber.
Once you install it the setup process will ask your phone number. The Line app will not show the phone number to anybody. It requires the number to send you the verification code. Which is free.
Your eye probably caught the word “Facebook” before any other on this screenshot. Yes, you can log in with Grand Old Social Network.
Then you fill in the name box. I can come up with a nickname as well.
Then you add your dear friends like this.
You can see a bunch of notifications indicated as small red circles. They are quite ignorable.
Then you make the actual call.
Seeing these 2 FREE CALL buttons makes me want to call people all the time. It made me run out of traffic a few times. Mind your internet usage if you need to make important calls later.
Another app with a spirit-lifting green logo.
This one I have discovered quite recently. You can run into it if you just log into your Gmail account. Click on these buttons.
Once you press the “More” button you will get some more options (surprise!). Google Hangouts is among them.
Then you press forward and you get to a screen.
No less than an inspiring landscape. Thank you, Google.
Obviously, this is my Windows PC setup. Google Hangouts is also compatible with Android, iOS, Web (only latest browsers supported), Chrome OS, OS X (chrome extension) and Linux (chrome extension). And everyone who has a Google account can access Google Play Store. That is just a long way to say “everybody got it.”
If you can manage your friends’ schedules you can add up to 10 people to video calls in a single conversation. I cannot imagine how they will fit on one mobile screen.
It was a Nokia “uniting people”. It is more true about Google these days.
KakaoTalk: Free Calls & Texts
Here comes the one with a “tastier” color palette.
That is if you know that in continental Europe “kakao” means “hot chocolate” or “cocoa”.
Surprisingly it is a Korean app though. In the region between Japan and Indonesia you are more likely to be asked if you have KakaoTalk than many others. On the other hand, it is almost unknown in North America.
Usually, people start with texting:
You can do group chats as well. And nobody feels left out.
Here is how the actual calling looks like.
You should know, the users do not come with the app. You have to find people to call on your own.
You can also send voice notes. Go to More → Settings → Chat Room Sending. In that menu, you have to check “Walkie Talkie”. Then back in the chat, you press “Record”. When you are pressing the button it is recording. Once you release the button your note is sent.
TextNow: Call + Text Unlimited
If you have been dreaming about an app that would allow you to make unlimited calls and send messages, then your wish just came true.
Here you can make unlimited calls within the USA and Canada. In case you still decide an international call to a number that doesn’t have this app, then all you will need is to put a little money on your account and call like it would be a regular number.
Here you can also make conference calls. In addition, you can customize your own voicemail greeting.
Basically, this app doesn’t have any extremely specific features, but it still does its job right – allows you to make international calls.
imo video calls and chat HD
The main feature of this app is that it will be suitable for those who are concerned about safety of their personal data. All the messages you send are encrypted. Moreover, here you can even make encrypted video calls and group video calls (up to 6 people).
Besides, it will be suitable for users all around the world with different network conditions: the app works with 2G, 3G, and 4G networks in addition to Wi-Fi.
Considering the possibilities of chatting, there are lots of fun stickers. No limitations to phone or video calls. This app also works as an extension to the Chrome browser.
In addition to all of that, the app provides a 25 GB cloud storage, which is really cool.
Back to top-performing apps. This app’s red logo stands out for sure.
Initially developed for Android devices it is available on iOS, BlackBerry and Kindle platforms. Tango has lost some of its popularity recently. Although 300 million users are still with it. They are probably still using it for gaming features. Check out the variety.
Video chats are also available.
When you are talking to a person it looks like this:
There is also a music playing feature:
Another thing by Facebook. A voice call feature was launched in January 2015. I did not use this app until recently because this feature was not available.
The logo kind of looks like the green version of Viber’s. But for our surveillance times it has a crucial feature: “end-to-end encryption to “every form of communication”
, and that users can verify each other’s keys, since April 5, 2016. Unless Pavel Durov’s Telegram messenger launches voice call feature WhatsApp will be the safest call app for a while.
“end-to-end encryption to “every form of communication”
Here is the feature of the day circled red for you
How the call looks.
It does not look like anything special, but it is ENCRYPTED.
This is a little bit obsolete app which works only on the US territory.
If you have this app installed and another person has, then all the incoming calls and messages will be free for you both. GrooVe IP will top up your credits at the end of each calendar month. If you run out mid-month, you can purchase more credits through the app.
Another important aspect to consider here is that in its free version Groove is going to contain lots of ads. If you want to remove them you need to upgrade up to premium version.
Both video and phone calls are available.
Apple’s free app comes with Apple products out of the box.
Videocalls are quite doable with 3G networks. Voice calls work nicely.
FaceTime starts off using your phone number for the username. In this app, it is called Caller ID. You can change Caller ID using any number or address.
Go to Setting → Facetime. Tap on the email or phone number you want to set as the ID.
In fact, you can have multiple numbers or addresses set up as your Caller ID. Choose the one that shows up when you call your friends.
There are enough settings here to help you pass the time for a few hours. Or you can just make the call.
Maaii: Calls & Messages
All those people who are reading this article from Asia, don’t rush to blame us that we have put the only US calling apps on this list. This is finally something for you.
The app works in such countries as Thailand, Egypt, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. As long as you stay connected to WiFi you can make unlimited phone calls to other users of this app. You can make calls to regular phone numbers as well, but in this case check the tariffs, because it won’t be for free.
Outbound calls to more than 120 countries around the world are supported.
Video communication is possible as well. You can make video calls, record video messages and send videos in chats. It is also worth noting that the app has a very nice interface.
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