Tech Tips

Can’t be home for the holidays? 5 video chat apps that bring your family closer

It’s true, there’s no place like home for the holidays – but it’s not always possible to get there. That’s where video chat apps can help. Whether you’re thousands of miles away working or you’re stuck in an airport because of the weather, our Experts came up with this list of face-to-face chat apps to keep you connected to friends and family during the holidays.

Best video chat apps

Video calls are a great way to include your loved ones in on the fun, whether they’re able to be there in person or not. With these apps for smartphones, tablets, computers, and even smart TVs, everyone can join in together to open gifts, play games, or even watch your favorite Hallmark holiday movies.

  • FaceTime: If you’re an iPhone user, FaceTime is a great option to have one-on-one or group conversations. In the FaceTime app, you can invite up to 32 participants.
  • Google Duo: Available for both Android and iOS smartphones, tablets and computers, Google Duo let’s you talk face-to-face with up to 8 people. It’s a great option for the family with many different types of tech.
  • Facebook Messenger: Yes, it’s typically an app for messaging, but it also has a video chat option. Most of your friends and family probably already have a Facebook account, so using this tool for video calls can be an easy-to-use option for most. Messenger allows you to see up to six people onscreen at a time, but up to 50 people can join your video call.
  • WhatsApp: Another popular messaging app that has a free video chat option. With WhatsApp you can use voice calls to talk for free, even if you’re in a different country. It’s available on Android and iOS devices.

How to fix common video chat problems

Did the video drop due to poor connection? Are the video and audio out of sync? Our Experts came up with these four troubleshooting suggestions:

  • Check the internet connection. Face chat apps like FaceTime and Google Duo connect more easily through Wi-Fi as opposed to 4G or 3G. Wi-Fi also ensures that you won’t use up that limited phone data.
  • Restart your device and close apps you aren’t using. Close all other apps currently running on your device, as they might be slowing down your device by running in the background. Similarly, don’t stream Netflix or a YouTube video while making video calls. A quick restart should clear the air for connection.
  • Update the app. Is your software out of date? Make sure the version of the app on your device is the latest and greatest. Old software will not connect as well.
  • Notice your surroundings. Lighting and audio can account for technical difficulties too! Avoid backlighting from a window, yet make sure there’s enough light in front to illuminate your face. Limit background noise as much as possible, too.

At the end of the day, it’s about bringing together the people who matter most — even when you’re in different cities. No matter how far away you are, nothing beats seeing your grandmother open up your gift and smiling ear-to-ear.

Tap into our expertise

Our Experts are here to help you stay connected to those you love. Learn about our Expert services and how we can make your life easier. Because tech shouldn’t slow you down — we’ll be there to get you up to speed.

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