5 Free Live Stream Video Apps for Mobile Phones

Broadcast yourself to the world or a group of friends

What better way to broadcast your face to the world than from your phone, from anywhere you like? You can use one of these five free video streaming apps to beam video straight from your camera to an online service, which others can use to watch your stream.

The great thing about these apps is that you don't need any special camera add-ons or microphones installed to use them. They work just fine with your regular phone camera and mic, which is really useful considering that desktop computers and laptops that want to deliver something similar in HD have to use a dedicated webcam and external microphone.

Someone using their phone to live stream a concert.
CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay

Messaging apps that support video let people conduct live video chats, but are focused more on personal communication than live casting events, so they're not really the same as mobile broadcasters.
These types of messaging apps include Skype, WhatsApp, Kik, and Facebook Messenger. While great for video calling, they're not designed for sending out a live stream to other users who want to see what you're up to right now.

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What We Like
  • Select viewers from your friends or make the feed public.

  • Live video is available for both personal and business pages.

  • Shows the number of viewers, names of friends, and real-time comments during a broadcase.

What We Don't Like
  • Anything can happen during a live broadcast: tech glitches, a barking dog, a stray curse word. Be prepared.

  • All viewers see negative comments that are posted.

Facebook isn't just good for posting text, picture, and video status updates but also for sharing live video with all your Facebook friends or even just specific friends. Tap the Live button under the status update section to start broadcasting on Facebook.

When you first tap it, you'll just be sharing video with yourself but you can change it to be public, with friends only, or with specific friends you choose.

Add filters and text to the live feed, color on the screen, swap to use the front- or back-facing camera, include a donation button, check-in somewhere nearby, and even switch to microphone-mode only.

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What We Like
  • Live broadcasting is easy to do and often impromptu.

  • Live broadcasts are recorded for after-the-fact viewing.

  • Site quickly suspends accounts over banned language, under-age-13 users, and other terms-of-service infractions.

What We Don't Like
  • No training or support.

  • Overall video quality is subpar compared with competitors.

  • Site has no nudity or alcohol restrictions.

  • Not a safe site for children.

Start broadcasting in seconds on YouNow and even tag your stream to help people find you in searches. This app lets you log in with your Facebook, Instagram, Google, or Twitter account.

Right before you go live, you can choose to share your live stream on your social media sites to get even more viewers. Once you're live, you can chat with viewers (or block the chat), see who's watching, swap between the front and back camera, and add viewers as fans.

The top fans and broadcasters are shown in the app so that you can quickly connect with other popular live streamers. 

The nice thing about this app, when compared with Facebook, is that you don't have to be connected to other users in order for them to find you.

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What We Like
  • Offers ways to monetize video content or tip favorite streamers.

  • Sends notifications when friends are broadcasting live.

  • Saves video to your device while it is streaming.

What We Don't Like
  • Private streaming feature makes this service risky for teens.

  • Service has remodeled itself for businesses and organizations, rather than individuals.

Share yourself with the world using the free Stream app. You can also find other live broadcasters who are streaming right now, plus trending and most-liked users.

Anyone watching Stream video can save clips or short slices of the video stream (up to 15 seconds each) and string them together into highlight reels that can be replayed for 24 hours. 

Like some streaming apps, this one lets others chat in real-time while they are watching the stream, and their avatars appear superimposed on top of the video.

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What We Like
  • Clean, well-designed user interface.

  • Replay videos any time.

  • Integrated social features include comments.

What We Don't Like
  • Many celebrities left the site.

  • May contain content that is not safe for children.

  • A lack of communication with content creators caused problems when Twitter acquired the service.

Periscope is another popular and easy-to-use free live stream app. You can use it to find other broadcasters or stream your own surroundings. The list of trending streamers and featured streamers is an easy way to find popular streams to follow or watch.

One interesting aspect about this app is that you can purchase coins to buy what's called Super Hearts that you can then give to your favorite live streamers. Super Hearts you receive can be redeemed to apply for Super Broadcaster status.

Browse a map or look through a list to find broadcasters near you who are streaming live. You can also use the search tool to find live streamers by their name or place or those who are broadcasting by a tag such as sports, music, or travel.

While live streaming with Periscope, you can see and follow the people who are watching you, hide the chat, sketch on your own stream, and even save the broadcast back to your phone when you're done. Before you stream is the time to choose to allow public access or just to share it with friends.

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What We Like
  • Mostly professional and business video on the service.

  • Broadcasts thousands of live events.

  • Sends notifications when people you follow go live.

What We Don't Like
  • Followed channels don't appear on the home page.

  • No easy way to search for a specific video.

  • Requires additional hardware to broadcast live from a phone.

Livestream is one of the internet's market leaders in live video broadcasts, but most of its users are transmitting from professional video cameras or high-end webcams, not smartphones. However, smartphones are definitely supported; you can get the app on your iOS or Android device.

With it, you can watch thousands of live events, get notified when accounts you follow go live, and even find your Facebook friends who are also using Livestream. 

The Popular area of the app is the easiest way to find trending live and upcoming broadcasts. You can also use the categories to look for streams on music, lifestyle, animals, entertainment, and several other areas.

At any time during a broadcast, you can make a text or picture post about your broadcast as well as leave comments on your own stream (which is merged with any other comments by your viewers). If you need to disable the mic at any time, just tap the microphone button; use the camera swap button to switch between the front and back camera.

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