Can’t be home for the holidays? Use video chat apps to bring your family closer together

Tech Tips

Can’t be home for the holidays? Use video chat apps to bring your family closer together

As the song says, there’s no place like home for the holidays. While it’s the perfect time of year to get together with the ones you love, getting everyone physically in the same place, at the same time, is not always a possibility. Thankfully, there’s technology that helps you to stay connected with your family and friends no matter where you are. Follow our simple tips for video chat so you can still virtually experience your nephew opening the awesome gift you sent to him or let grandma see how much the kids have grown.

Be part of the holiday memories with video chat apps

Smartphones, tablets, computers and even smart televisions can help you to connect with your loved ones over holiday dinners or to show off your home’s holiday decorations. Here’s a few video chat apps worth checking out:

  • FaceTime is a great video chat option for iOS users. It works for one-on-one conversations and – with the recent iOS 12.1 update – gives you the ability to include up to 32 people. It’s basically the perfect way to get all of your friends across the country together to have a virtual Hallmark Christmas movie marathon without ever having to get out of your pajamas.
  • Skype works across multiple platforms and devices, so it’s versatility makes it a user-friendly choice. Video chat is free between Skype members, and you can connect up to 25 people at once. Skype to Skype calls are also free anywhere in the world, so it’s handy to connect with your cousin who’s studying abroad.
  • Facebook Messenger is another convenient way to connect through video chat, since the odds are many of your family and friends already have Facebook accounts (though they aren’t required to use Messenger). Calls are free over Wi-Fi to anywhere in the world, you can group video chat and even play video games together.
  • WhatsApp works across both Android and iOS, and also has a web app available for Mac and Windows. With WhatsApp, you can text your friends, make voice calls or place a video call.

But what if video chat is not as easy as hitting a button?

What happens when you have the right device with the right app but encounter technical difficulties along the way? Asurion’s tech experts offer these video chat troubleshooting suggestions:

  • Check the internet connection. Chat apps like FaceTime and Google Duo connect more easily through Wi-Fi. 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. 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! You want to 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.

Still having trouble?  If you are enrolled in your phone carrier’s protection and support program, you may already have access to personalized tech experts who can help you learn, grow and do more with your technology.