The 5 Best Apps to Make Free International Calls in 2019

Enjoy voice and video calls with friends and family around the globe

Woman sitting in beanbag chair using cell phone.

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International phone calls are cheaper and easier to make than ever. While it used to be prohibitively expensive to call someone overseas, and you often had to suffer an unreliable connection, mobile apps and data plans have changed that. In many instances, you can call abroad for free. All of these apps offer free international calls to at least one if not many countries. Most of these apps also have chat features so you can stay in touch with quick messages in between calls and share photos and videos. Here are our five favorite apps to make international calls.

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Most Secure: WhatsApp

WhatsApp calls screens

What We Like

What We Don't Like

  • Frequent use could cause data overage.

  • Encryption only in effect if both parties have the right version of the app.

WhatsApp is a messaging and voice call app for Android and iOS that uses data, not your cellular plan. You can make voice and video calls to people all over the world for free, though you’ll need to keep an eye on your data usage each month. The app also supports group calls.

In 2016, WhatsApp added end-to-end encryption that applies to all messages and calls using the app. However, if you’re chatting with someone who has an older version of the app, none of your communications will be encrypted.

There are also web and desktop versions of the apps. You can’t use WhatsApp to call emergency services such as 911 in the U.S.

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For Group Calls: Skype

Skype's share and connect screen and dialer

What We Like

  • Free calls to Skype users.

  • Can send a video or voice message if the recipient misses your call.

What We Don't Like

  • Risk of data overage.

  • Doesn’t use end-to-end encryption

Skype is a VoIP service that’s been around since 2003 and has always been an easy way to make free national and international calls. You can use Skype for voice and video calls, as well as group calls with up to 10 participants for free when communicating with other Skype users.

Charges apply if you contact someone outside of Skype, but the company is upfront about the rates, and unlimited monthly packages are available.

Like WhatsApp and other services that use data, you can’t use Skype to contact emergency services, since they can’t accurately pinpoint your location. In addition to Android and iOS, you can also make international calls from your PC or Mac computer, web browser, and even Xbox.

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Best For Video Calls on iOS: Facetime

Facetime video

What We Like

  • Free video calls over Wi-Fi.

  • Communications protected by end-to-end encryption.

What We Don't Like

  • Not available for Android users.

  • Older devices only support video, not voice, calls.

FaceTime is a free voice and video call app for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac. You can call people over Wi-Fi or using mobile data around the world, except for a handful of countries. To set up an account, you need an Apple ID. On an iPhone, FaceTime will automatically register your phone number; on an iPad or iPod touch you can register an email address.

To contact friends, you’ll need the phone number or email associated with their Apple ID. You can also switch to a FaceTime call during a regular phone call as long as you both have accounts.

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For Calls Between the U.S. and Canada: Google Voice

Google Voice app message list and dialer

What We Like

  • Can forward up to six numbers to your account.

  • Free voicemail transcription.

  • Can record incoming calls.

What We Don't Like

  • Can only make outgoing calls from the U.S.

  • Free calls available only between the U.S. and Canada.

  • Not free to call landlines, only other Google Voice numbers.

Google Voice is a VoIP service that’s mostly free. You can forward up to six numbers to your account, but have each one ring before going to voicemail. If you turn on transcription, you can receive emails or text messages with transcripts of your voicemails. In addition to Android and iOS apps, you can also use Google Voice in a desktop browser.

If you’re in the U.S., most calls to people in the U.S and Canada are free. Rates for calls to other parts of the world vary; Google lists the pricing by country.

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Good VoIP App: Viber

Viber app calls screen and options menu

What We Like

  • Free calls to other Viber users.

  • Simple sign-up.

What We Don't Like

  • Calls and texts aren’t encrypted.

  • Uses data.

Viber is another VoIP service that offers free voice and video calls to other users, and cheap rates for calls to landlines and mobile phones. All you need to register is a valid phone number, which your contacts can use to find you on the app. Viber has Android and iOS apps as well as a browser version.

While Viber isn’t as popular as WhatsApp and Skype are in the U.S., it is popular in other parts of the world, such as Eastern Europe. Like its competitors, Viber also can also send messages, and you can also share photos and other media through the app.