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/output devices (microphone and speaker).

Illustration of a grandparent and grandchild video chatting
Lifewire / Chelsea Damraksa

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.

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Skype

Couple showing off a new puppy over Skype free video chat service
David Malan / Getty Images

Skype is the most popular app for voice and video calling. In the mobile market, Skype has been dethroned by WhatsApp and Viber, but it's still the most 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 the Web works best with Microsoft Edge and the latest version of Chrome.

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Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts video chat app home screen

 Robert Nyman / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Google Hangouts is great for many reasons, including the fact that many people can use it right away because they already 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 your web browser, you don't have to download anything to run Google Hangouts. The app accesses your webcam and microphone through the Google Hangouts website and delivers HD transmission of both right through the browser.

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

Google Hangouts works best with the current version and one previous major release of these browsers: Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE), Safari, and Firefox.

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Viber

viber free video chat app on different screens

If you have a Windows computer, Viber might be the perfect free video-calling app for you. It's as easy to use as selecting a contact from the Viber Only section of your contact list, and then using the video button to start the call.

Viber lets you turn the video off whenever you like, mute the call, or even transfer the call. It 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 10.7.5 and above. (Viber's Android and iOS apps use only the text and voice-calling features.)

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Facebook Video Caling

Young woman making a Facebook video call at a cafe with laptop
PeopleImages / Getty Images

Making a video call from Facebook is easy. Select the Messenger icon from the top right of the screen (whether from the desktop or mobile app). Open a message with someone and then select the small camera icon to initiate the video call. You may be advised that a plugin is necessary.

This works anywhere you can access the calling features: Facebook.com, Messenger.com, and desktop and mobile Messenger apps.

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Facetime

small white dog on a FaceTime video call
Daniel Nations

Facetime offers excellent video and audio quality with an easy-to-use interface. The only issue with FaceTime is that it works exclusively on Apple's operating system and devices, and only with other Facetime users.

If you have a Mac, iPhone, or iPad, make video or audio calls from the device almost exactly as you would a regular phone call.

Similar to Google Hangouts, 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.

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Ekiga

Screenshot of Ekiga video call app

Ekiga (formerly called GnomeMeeting) is a video calling app for Linux and Windows computers. 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 cell phones (if the service provider ​allows), an address book, and text messaging.