The 12 Best Group Video Call Apps in 2020

These video chat apps keep you connected with friends and family

When you can't get together in person, there are countless messaging apps designed to keep us all connected. Group video apps can do that the best, letting us both see and hear a slew of friends, family, or co-workers at once. There are group video apps designed for business, casual, gaming, and collaboration. Here's a guide to the best group video calling apps.

01
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FaceTime

The views of FaceTime
What We Like
  • Easy to use.

  • Up to 32 participants.

  • Every iPhone and iPad user already has it. 

What We Don't Like
  • iOS only.

  • No sharing or collaboration tools. 

For many people, FaceTime kickstarted the age of modern video chat. Most folks had little or no experience with video chat until Apple added FaceTime to iOS in 2010, and it quickly became a popular alternative to ordinary audio calls. FaceTime makes it easy to set up group calls with up to 32 people, and you can add people to a call that's already in progress.

As popular as it is, FaceTime is surprisingly limited. It has no sharing ore collaboration tools, you can't record the call (though to be fair, there are many video chat apps that don't allow recording), and it's Apple device-only, so Android owners, as well as Windows users, can't play along. But among Apple owners, it's simple and seamless. 

02
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Google Duo

Three views of Google Duo
What We Like
  • Available for both iOS and Android.

  • Can connect up to 12 people.

  • Knock Knock lets you see video of the caller before you answer.

What We Don't Like
  • No sharing or collaboration tools. 

Google's answer to FaceTime, Duo also started as a one-to-one video chat app, which has expanded into a group chat service. Google Duo lets you create groups of up to 12 people and conduct video chats (or voice chats, of course). But unlike FaceTime, Google Duo runs on both iOS and Google devices, so it's a convenient app for having conversations with people regardless of which kind of phone they own.

Your identity on Duo is your phone number, so there's no need to create an account or even use your Google account, which is what one would expect since this is a Google service. It has the advantage of coming preinstalled on many Android phones, and the app's Knock Knock feature is popular; it lets you preview video of the person calling you before you answer, without showing yourself. It's like looking through a digital peephole. 

03
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Facebook Messenger

Three views of Facebook Messenger
What We Like
  • Virtually everyone you know already has it.

  • Supports 50 users.

  • Instant and scheduled meetings.

What We Don't Like
  • No business-friendly sharing features.

Odds are you have Facebook, so Facebook Messenger is a natural way to chat with fellow users. Not only does it allow one-on-one chats, but you can create a Room for chats as large as 50 participants at once. You can create an ad-hoc room at any time or schedule it for later, and you can invite specific people or let anyone with a link join in.

Messenger is cross-platform with apps for Android and iOS, as well as Windows and Macs. There's even a standalone video call device called Facebook Portal. 

04
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Zoom

Three views of Zoom
What We Like
  • Up to 100 attendees.

  • Great team collaboration tools.

  • Meetings can be recorded. 

What We Don't Like
  • Meetings are limited to 40 minutes. 

In 2020, Zoom's popularity exploded, in large part because it's a free way to have high-quality video chats with up to 100 people at once. The service is cross-platform, working on the PC and Mac, web browsers, iPhone and Android. The only significant downside is that video calls are limited to 40 minutes, which might not be long enough for business meetings, and needing to reconnect to a new session can be awkward. Of course, there are paid tiers for users who need unlimited calling.

Zoom includes great sharing and collaboration tools, and you can even record meetings and share them with others. And meetings can be started ad-hoc or scheduled in advance. 

05
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WhatsApp

Three views of WhatsApp
What We Like
  • Everyone you know probably already uses the app. 

  • Supports video chats with up to 50 people. 

  • Easy to find people by their phone number. 

What We Don't Like
  • You can only video chat on the mobile app.

A surprising fact: WhatsApp is the single most popular messaging app in use today. That's likely true because it was an early cross-platform communication app that let people use Wi-Fi instead of texting when traveling internationally. Today, the app lets you text, make voice calls, and even video and chances are you and most of your friends and colleagues already have it installed. And finding people on the service is easy because you use your phone number rather than a username to join.

The app can handle group video calls with up to 50 participants by leveraging Facebook Messenger's Rooms feature (WhatsApp is now owned by Facebook). Unfortunately, that means you can only video chat with users on the mobile app (either iOS or Android), rather than browser or desktop users.

06
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Skype

Three views of Skype
What We Like
  • Up to 50 users at once.

  • Cross-platform compatible.

  • Excellent HD video quality.

What We Don't Like
  • Not completely free. You need to pay to call landlines, for example. 

Skype has been around for a very long time; older computer users might remember when Microsoft bought the service for a staggering $8.5 billion. It has continued to evolve through the years, though, and today it exists on every platform including smartphones, Web, desktop, and even the Xbox. Not only can you use it to make video calls with up to 50 participants for free, but you can also use it for voice-only calls to other devices and even landlines. It's a pretty comprehensive communication solution. 

It's equipped for business calls as well as personal video chats; you can use it to share your screen, share files, and even display live subtitles to caption what is being spoken.  

07
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Houseparty

Three views of Houseparty
What We Like
  • Casual party-line group video experience. 

  • Built-in casual games to play during video chats. 

  • Syncs with contacts from Facebook and Snapchat. 

What We Don't Like
  • Video chats can be a little too spontaneous. 

One of the most casual group video call apps out there, Houseparty has "just hanging out" sort of vibe. You don't schedule or plan meetings in Houseparty; you can suddenly find yourself face-to-face with friends almost without warning, since the app has no Google Duo "Knock Knock"-like feature. Houseparty's demographic skews younger and has some built-in games you can play during your group video chats, including trivia and Pictionary-like titles.

Houseparty works on iOS, Android, the Mac, and Chrome, so pretty much everyone can join in, and the app draws on your Facebook and Snapchat contacts to help you connect to people you know, either one-on-one or in groups of up to eight at once. 

08
of 12

Bunch

Three views of Bunch
What We Like
  • It's a great place to play games with friends. 

  • More games are promised. 

  • Eight people can play at once. 

What We Don't Like
  • A few more people (12, perhaps) would be perfect.

  • The app tries too hard to get your contacts. 

Here's a fun video chat app that's focused almost entirely on party games to play with your friends and family (there's little doubt why it became so popular over the course of 2020). Bunch wants to connect you to your friends, so it's a little hyper-aggressive during initial setup about getting access to your various contact lists from your phone and social media services.

But once you're past that, you can set up rooms with up to eight people and choose from among a slew of games to play together. Bunch has, at current count, seven games to choose from including a trivia game, a Flappy Bird clone, billiard, and more. 

09
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Instagram

Three views of Instagram
What We Like
  • Picture-in-picture within Instagram app.

  • Unwanted users are easy to block.

  • Easy to invite users within Instagram; not a separate app like Facebook Messenger. 

What We Don't Like
  • Limited to groups of six.

  • Mobile app only.

Let's be honest: There are people who spend a lot of time on Instagram. Whether that's for work, investigating brands for social outreach, or play, checking out @dogsworkingfromhome, being able to video chat from within Instagram is a powerful feature. Chats can be full-screen or take up just a small window within the app, allowing you to continue to browse Instagram while chatting.

Unfortunately, Instagram tops out at a total of six people, but that's probably plenty for most situations nonetheless. There's no desktop or web chat, so it's limited just to mobile apps though. 

10
of 12

Discord

Three views of Discord
What We Like
  • Up to 25 users at a time.

  • Easily share your screen.

  • Cross-platform compatibility. 

What We Don't Like
  • Overall aesthetic can be off-putting if you're not a gamer or highly technical. 

Discord is something of a contradiction. It's an excellent team communication tool and commonly used by programmers, special interest groups, and other sorts of clubs, but its roots are in computer gaming and its main demographic remains gamers. The server has a gamer aesthetic and appeals to more technical users. But that aside, it's a great way for groups to stay connected with text, voice, and video chats. Usually limited to 10 people in a video chat at once, Discord has raised the limit to 25 people due to events in 2020, but that limit might eventually go back down.

Discord remains a great tool, like Slack, to keep running in the sidelines while you game, code, or otherwise collaborate on a project. There's essentially no platform that's not supported, from PC and Mac to Linux, iOS, and Android.  

11
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Marco Polo

Three views of Marco Polo
What We Like
  • Asynchronous, walkie talkie-like video clips are genius. 

  • Voice effects and camera filters. 

  • Up to 200 people in a video group at once. 

What We Don't Like
  • HD video is locked behind the paywall. 

Think of Marco Polo as sort of like a video chat walkie talkie. Or a video version of email. You choose a person (or a group) and start talking. Your video is left as a clip for the recipients to watch when they check in, at which time they can reply. It's a way to have a conversation without everyone being available at the same time.

The app supports truly enormous group video with up to 200 people at a time, complete with voice and video filter effects, all for free. There is a Marco Polo Plus subscription; for $5 per month you get a few extra features like HD video support and video playback speed controls, but most people can probably be perfectly happy with the free version of the service. 

12
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Viber

Three view of Viber
What We Like
  • Current speaker in a group video takes over the entire screen.

  • Good cross-platform support.

  • Built-in community features. 

What We Don't Like
  • Viber isn't especially popular, and so your friends probably won't be on it. 

Viber is a superb messaging app that does it all. You can use it for text, voice, and video calls, and it's a cross-platform service that works with Android, iPhone, Windows, Mac, and even Linux. Not only is it useful for keeping friends and family connected, but the app includes its own online community of message boards you can join in on.

Of course, the app supports group video calling. It can handle up to 20 people at once, and makes great use of the screen by letting the current speaker take over the entire display, so you're truly focused on whoever is talking. One problem you'll probably have with Viber is, given the popularity of most of the other apps in this list, convincing enough of your friends and family to try it out.