The usage of video calling services is at a peak. While a vast majority of people are at home, connecting with their friends, extended family, and colleagues over video calls appears to be everyone's go-to option. Millions rely on video calling apps like FaceTime, Skype, Google Duo, Zoom, etc. However, many iPhone and iPad users already have FaceTime and wonder if Skype is a better alternative.
These video calling apps aren’t just limited to 1:1 conversation. They offer more features, such as group video calls, screen sharing, cross-platform availability, virtual backgrounds, and more.
There are services like Zoom and Google Meet for professional use. But what about iOS, iPadOS, and macOS users who seek a simple app with enough features to meet their needs? Two options come to mind: FaceTime and Skype.
In this post, we are going to compare both the apps based on various factors including UI, features, ease of use, video calling capabilities, customization, cross-platform availability, and more. Since FaceTime is limited only to iPhone and iPad users, we shall consider those folks in this comparison for everyone's sanity. Let’s get started.
When it comes to availability, Skype trumps FaceTime. Microsoft makes Skype available on iOS, Android, Windows 10, Mac, Linux, web, and Microsoft Outlook web.
Apple's FaceTime is only available on iPhone, Mac, and iPad. So far, there are no workarounds or ways to access it on other platforms. Not even the web.
FaceTime uses a transparent UI with recent conversations on top. FaceTime is strictly for voice and video calls, and for messages, you would need to use iMessage. Tap on the ‘+’ button at the top and start the call with other contacts.
One can also create a group and have the group video/voice calls with participants.
Skype is an all-rounder. The UI is similar to any IM app out there. Chat threads dominate the home, and you can compose and create new groups and conversations from the edit button at the top.
Skype lets you choose from various gradient-based themes from the settings, and the app also supports iOS 13 dark theme, which surely is easy on eyes at night.
Video and Voice Calling
As its case with other Apple services, the FaceTime app works excellently among the Apple hardware. Just sign in using the Apple account, and you are good to go. One can use your mobile number or Apple email ID to identify and call you on FaceTime.
FaceTime also integrates the Apple Contacts and Phone app. You can tap on the info button in the FaceTime app and have a voice or video call with the person on the receiving end.
Skype is taking a different route here. You can select the contact thread and use the video or voice call function from the upper right corner. One can also tap on the user and schedule a call with title, date, time, and alert.
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Group Video Calls and Features
Apple has added the group call support for FaceTime. The service supports up to 31 people for group conversations. While being on call, you can mute the sound and even use the built-in effects to add a personal touch.
The effects include sticker packs from Apple as well as from the installed apps. I expect Apple to add more functions to video calls such as virtual background, screen sharing, and call recording.
Skype checks almost all the boxes when it comes to video calling. The service used to be a complex solution as it required the user to create the Microsoft account to use the app. The company recently introduced the Meet Now function where one can create a digital meeting and share the invite link with others.
Attendees can paste the invite link to the browser and join the conversation. Skype also supports blur background, which hides the messy room during video calls. As for group calls, the app supports up to 50 people on the go. So, if you are planning to more than 31 attendees in the group call, then ditch FaceTime in favor of Skype.
Microsoft leverages the AI capabilities to add more functions. Skype has a built-in translator that translates more than ten languages during video calls and around fifty languages during the chat. Skype also supports screen, sharing which is handy when explaining certain things to a group of people.
Skype supports polls function. You can create a poll and ask the group to share their opinion. Sure, it’s not powerful as the dedicated poll apps out there, but gets the job done for the majority. The app integrates with Microsoft OneDrive service, which lets you share files and documents from the cloud platform.
The FaceTime app works really well, and the app is intuitive to use. No matter how much I tried to enjoy Skype, it felt bloated and not as smooth as FaceTime on the iPhone.
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FaceTime is completely free to use. Skype is also free of charge. You only need to pay for Skype when you call a landline or non-Skype number using Skype credits.
Make Video Calls on the Go
As you can see from the comparison above, FaceTime is suitable for Apple users and if your friends and family members have iPhone then I don’t see a reason to move from FaceTime. Skype is cross-platform and heavy on features that are suitable for consumers and professionals.
Do you know one can record Skype calls on Windows 10? Read the post below to find how to do that.
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