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 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 fine with your regular phone camera and mic, which is useful considering that desktop computers and laptops that want to deliver something similar in HD have to use a dedicated webcam and external microphone.

Messaging apps that support video let people conduct live video chats but are focused more on personal communication, so they're not 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 a live stream to others who want to see what you're up to right now.

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Facebook sign in page.
What We Like
  • Select viewers from your friends or make the feed public.

  • Live video is available for personal and business pages.

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

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 only good for posting text, pictures, and video status updates but also for sharing live videos with your Facebook friends or just specific friends. Tap the Live button under the status update section to start broadcasting on Facebook.

When you first tap it, you'll 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 switch to microphone-mode only.

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YouKnow website.
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 tag your stream to help people find you in searches. This app lets you log in with your Facebook, Instagram, Google, or Twitter accounts.

Before you go live, you can choose to share your live stream on your social media sites to get 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 for them to find you.

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Livestream website.
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 transmit from professional video cameras or high-end webcams, not smartphones. However, smartphones are 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 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 stream (which is merged with comments by your viewers). If you need to disable the mic, tap the microphone button. Use the camera swap button to switch between the front and back camera.

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Instagram login page.
What We Like
  • Add various effects.

  • Link to your favorite fundraiser.

  • Add a title to inform viewers of the video's topic.

What We Don't Like
  • Smaller image size.

  • Video length limits.

  • Audio options not available for Live video.

Released in 2010, Instagram has always had a visual slant to the social media arena. Originally only for photo sharing, the inclusion of Reels and Live video has propelled it in popularity.

Its simpler interface makes sharing photos and videos more streamlined and approachable for almost anyone. Along with numerous filters and effects, videos can also include your favorite song or graphic.

Perhaps the only thing that is somewhat inflexible is the length of the videos allowed. For a post, only 60 seconds max, and for Live video, you only get 60 minutes. But for most Live posts, Instagram is ideal for sharing those special moments.

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Twitch website.
What We Like
  • Categorize your video under different subjects.

  • Enable two-factor authentication for extra security.

  • Create channels on any topic.

  • Handy notifications from your favorite streamer.

What We Don't Like
  • Video game streams are still the majority.

  • No parental controls.

  • Difficult to stand out among the hundreds of channels.

While many may not think of Twitch as their first choice for live streaming, the video games community knows that it's the platform to show off their gaming skills.

Its growing popularity has catapulted the streaming service into more mainstream uses. If you're not into video games, there are channels for board games, arts and crafts, and chatting. You can create a channel for any subject matter.

When you're ready to go live, the mobile app is king. The simplicity of the interface makes creating live streams a snap. Tap the camera at the top of the interface and choose from the two options: Stream Games or Stream IRL.

Before going live, you can choose the category of your live stream and name the stream. You can also share to other apps, including Facebook and LinkedIn. And as standard with most streaming apps, you can use front or rear-facing cameras.

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