Free Video Chat Apps for Your Computer

Stay connected to family and friends with video chat

A free video chat app on your desktop computer keeps you connected with friends and family around the world. All you need is an active internet connection, ample bandwidth, a webcam, and audio input and output devices (microphone and speaker).

The services featured here are compatible with multiple platforms, and many are also available as mobile apps. Check the specifications for each product and choose the one that best suits your needs.

01
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Skype

Couple showing off a new puppy over Skype free video chat service
David Malan / Getty Images
What We Like
  • HD-quality voice and video.

  • Audio and video calls are free to other Skype users.

  • Easy screen sharing and videoconferencing.

  • You're notified by email if you miss a message.

What We Don't Like
  • You'll need to upgrade if it's not a Skype-to-Skype call.

  • Can run slowly on machines with lower specs.

  • Chat function can run slowly.

Skype is one of the most popular apps for voice and video calling. In the mobile market, Skype isn't as popular as WhatsApp and Viber, but it's still a prominent tool for free communication on desktop computers.

Skype offers HD-quality voice and video and is often considered the best when it comes to both visual and sound quality. Video and audio calls are free between Skype users. A paid subscription is required to make audio calls to landlines.

Skype is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux desktops, as well as Android and iOS devices. Skype for Web works best with Microsoft Edge and the latest version of Chrome.

02
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Google Meet

Google Meet video call and meeting service
What We Like
  • Tie-in with Google account makes it easy to use right away.

  • HD-quality voice and video.

  • Easy screen sharing for presenting documents.

  • Any user with a Google account can create a meeting.

What We Don't Like
  • Some capabilities are available only for G Suite customers.

  • Audio can drop when there are multiple participants.

  • Users need a Gmail account to participate.

Google Meet, formerly called Google Hangouts, is great for a few reasons, including the fact that many people can use it right away because they have a Gmail account. A connected Google account facilitates login and accesses the contacts you already have stored in Gmail.

Since it runs entirely in a web browser, you don't have to download anything to run Google Meet. The app accesses your webcam and microphone through the Google Meet website and delivers HD transmission of both directly through the browser.

Google Meet is also available as a video chat mobile app for Android and iOS.

Google Meet works best with the current versions of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Apple Safari.

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Zoom

A remote worker sitting at a desk during a Zoom meeting

Alistair Berg / Getty Images

What We Like
  • Reliable, high-quality conferencing and meeting tool.

  • Intuitive and easy to use.

  • Generous features in Zoom's free tier.

  • Host a meeting of up to 100 participants for free.

What We Don't Like
  • Look out for "Zoom bombing," when someone crashes your Zoom call.

  • You'll need to download a browser app to use Zoom.

Zoom's popularity shot to amazing heights during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown, and while it was a well-known and widely used tool previously, Zoom became a household word in 2020. Used for school, church, business meetings, family gatherings, trivia nights, social occasions, and more, Zoom is now synonymous with video chat.

Zoom's free tier can host up to 100 participants, unlimited one-on-one meetings, and group meetings for up to 40 minutes. There's a variety of paid plan tiers to match any organization's needs.

You don't need a paid subscription to use Zoom. If someone else sets up the Zoom Meeting and invites you, all you need to do is click the link and follow the instructions in your Zoom email invitation.

Zoom on the desktop requires macOS 10.9 or later, Windows 10 through 7, and various Linux setups. There's also a Zoom app for iOS and Android.

04
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Viber

Viber free video chat app on different screens
What We Like
  • Easy access to contacts on Windows computers.

  • Chats have end-to-end encryption.

  • High-quality free calls.

  • Share media content easily.

What We Don't Like
  • You'll need to set up a mobile account before using Viber on the desktop.

  • Not as many users as some of the other platforms.

If you have a Windows computer, Viber might be the perfect free video-calling desktop app for you. It's as easy to use as selecting a contact from the Viber Only section of your contacts list, and then using the video button to start the call. Viber is also available for Macs, Android devices, and iOS devices. (To use Viber on the desktop, you'll first need to create an active Viber account on your mobile device, which will then sync to the desktop.)

Viber lets you turn off the video whenever you like, mute the call, or even transfer the call. Viber works so much like a regular phone that it should be one of the easier apps to use from this list.

Viber for Desktop works on Windows 10 and OSX 10.13 and above. On mobile devices, you'll need Android 4.2 or newer or iOS 11 or above. Viber also works with Ubuntu 64 and Fedora Linux.

05
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Facebook Video Calling

Social media manager making a Facebook video call at a cafe with laptop
PeopleImages / Getty Images
What We Like
  • Easy to video call a Facebook friend with just a click.

  • Start a video chat from a Messenger conversation.

  • Can have 50 people in a video chat, making for a great family reunion.

  • Many of your contacts likely have Facebook.

What We Don't Like
  • Some people experience a transmission lag.

  • If a contact hasn't registered a phone number, you can't call them.

Making a video call from Facebook is easy, and there are several ways to go about it. When you use Facebook on the desktop in a browser, navigate to someone's profile page, then select Contact (phone icon) and choose Video Chat. Or, select the Messenger icon from the upper-right corner, open a conversation with someone, and select Video Chat (camera icon).

If you use the Facebook mobile app for iOS or Android, select a contact and tap the phone icon. You're taken to Messenger, where you tap Video Chat. Or, open up the Messenger app, create or open a conversation, and tap the phone icon > Video Chat.

06
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FaceTime

FaceTime video call on a Mac
What We Like
  • Easy to create video chats with a few clicks.

  • Hi-def video.

  • Quick setup.

  • Intuitive interface.

What We Don't Like
  • No FaceTime for Windows or Android.

  • If the call recipient isn't logged in to FaceTime, the call won't work.

FaceTime offers excellent video and audio quality with an intuitive interface. As an Apple product, it's seamless and easy to use FaceTime on a Mac with OS X Lion 10.7 or later, or an iOS device, to make video or audio calls. The call recipient doesn't need FaceTime open to receive a call, but they must be logged in to the FaceTime application.

Similar to Google Meet, FaceTime lets you search through your phone's contacts to find someone to call. If your contacts use FaceTime, it's shown on their contact screen.

The only issue with FaceTime is that it works exclusively on Apple's operating system and devices, and only with other FaceTime users. So, if you're wondering if you can get Facetime for Windows, the answer is not yet.

07
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Discord

Discord video chat and communication service
What We Like
  • Fun, quirky, and easy to use.

  • Channels keep topics and threads organized.

  • Free version has robust features.

  • Emphasis on instant communication.

What We Don't Like
  • Focus is more on voice chat rather than video chat.

  • Seen as mostly for gamers.

Discord is a free app that incorporates voice and video chat along with texting features to help groups socialize and communicate. Originally created as a way for gamers to gather and collaborate virtually, Discord has grown into a customized, channel-based, real-time communication system.

Discord is free to use and offers a plethora of features, including unlimited file storage. A paid version, called Discord Nitro, is $9.99 per month and lets you upload files of up to 100 MB.

Use Discord in a web browser, or download the Discord desktop app for Mac, Windows, or Linux. There's also a Discord mobile app for iOS and Android.

08
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Ekiga

Ekiga video call app
What We Like
  • Offers live chat and videoconferencing on a Linux desktop.

  • Supports call forwarding, transfer, and holds.

What We Don't Like
  • Not as many users to connect with as some of the other platforms here.

Ekiga (formerly called GnomeMeeting) is a video calling, instant messenger, and softphone app for Linux and Windows desktops. It supports HD sound quality and full-screen video, with DVD-comparable quality.

Since the program functions much like a regular phone, Ekiga also supports SMS to cellphones (if the service provider ​allows), an address book, and text messaging.

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