How Do You Video Call Without FaceTime?

How Do You Video Call Without FaceTime?

Welcome back to Ask Giz, our fortnightly series where we answer your burning questions from all over the tech and science world.

If you’d like to submit a question, we’d love to hear it. Shoot it over to us on the Ask Giz submissions page.

Today’s question comes from Sarah from Brisbane. Sarah wants to know: Why can’t I FaceTime someone if they don’t have an Apple device?

The answer to this is quite short: FaceTime calls are part of the Apple ecosystem, with major features locked exclusively to Apple users. Android and Windows users can join FaceTime calls if they’re sent a link, as Apple explains on this page and this page, but unless the recipient of your call has an Apple device, you won’t be able to FaceTime them as seamlessly as a phone call.

FaceTime links are a great feature that Apple added back in 2021, but talking to people on a video call via a browser link is quite limiting. It lacks the app housing that other video chatting apps offer and is really just an overcomplicated solution when you and your friends or family can just have an app that works seamlessly between device types.

Rather than talk about Apple’s walled garden for the entirety of this article, we’ve decided to treat this question a bit more constructively and give readers attempting to video call their loved ones some alternatives to FaceTime.

How Do You Video Call Without FaceTime?

If you’re trying to video call between a range of devices from different manufacturers, there are a bunch of apps that can facilitate this.

How to video call with Facebook Messenger

While not everybody has a Facebook account, Facebook’s Messenger app can be perfect for facilitating video calls between you and your loved ones – I personally use it regularly to call my brother and speak to my niece, as my family uses Messenger as our main form of communication anyway (as it’s first and foremost an instant messaging app).

When in an active chat with somebody, you can begin a video call by tapping the video icon (the one that looks like a sideways video camera) at the top right of the chat. This works for both desktop and app versions of Messenger, and group chats can also be video called.

How to video call with Zoom

Zoom is one of the more popular video chatting apps, with much of its popularity exploding during the height of the pandemic (when everybody was at home and we all missed each other’s pretty faces). Calls between Zoom users can be cross-platform, with apps available on PC and mobile platforms, along with browser versions available. A meeting can be started by clicking the “New Meeting” button when signed in, and you can invite participants by clicking the arrow on the “participants” widget (with the meeting started) and clicking “invite” or “copy invite link”. Users can join a meeting by entering the Meeting ID or link name when prompted, or by clicking a link shared with them.

How to video call with Google Meet

Google used to have an app called ‘Duo’, but in 2022, the company combined it with Google Meet to offer a single video call app for both individuals and businesses. If you’re an Android user, Google Meet often comes pre-installed. If you’re an Apple user, you can download Meet from the Apple App Store, and if you’re a PC user, you can use Google Meet from your browser.

When you start Google Meet, after signing in, tap the ‘New’ button, and tap who you want to call. The app automatically links to your Google account, and when you go to start a call, you’ll be prompted with all the people in your contacts that have a linked Meet app that you can call now (provided that you have their linked phone number or email address in your contacts). If the person you want to call doesn’t have Meet linked, you can still tap their name in your address book, but you’ll need to send them a Google Meet link. If the person you want to video call doesn’t have Meet at all, and isn’t in your address book, you can still contact them over Meet if you send them the meeting link.

How to video call with Skype

You can use Skype to make video calls easily, with apps available across mobile and PC platforms. All you need to do is sign into your Skype account, find the person you want to call in your contacts (or find the person you want to contact by searching for them or adding them directly), and click the video call button (the one that looks like a sideways video camera). Non-Skype users can be invited to calls via a shared link, and multiple people can be added to Skype video calls if you start a group chat.

Video chat all you want

There are other video calling apps that you can use, such as Microsoft Teams and Discord, but these four apps above are certainly worth trying instead of FaceTime.

If you’d like to submit a question to be answered in a future Ask Giz instalment, we’d love to hear it.

Ask Giz is a fortnightly series where we answer your questions, be it tech, science, gadget, health or gaming related. This is a reader-involved series where we rely on Gizmodo Australia’s audience to submit questions. If you have a question for Giz, you can submit it here. Or check out the answer to our last Ask Giz: Why Can’t You Have Your Phone On During a Flight?