How to Use Skype

Voice or video chat on Android, iOS device, PC, or Mac

Skype is a popular way to make phone calls, have video chats, and chat online, and much of it is free. Microsoft owns Skype, which is available for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. You can also install Skype on Linux and use Skype in a web browser. Here's what you need to use the Skype app.

You can't use Skype on a mobile browser.

What You Need To Use Skype

To use Skype, you need four things:

  • Smartphone or a computer that meets Skype's system requirements, which we'll discuss platform-by-platform below
  • An internet connection
  • A microphone
  • A Microsoft ID

If your computer has a built-in microphone, Skype will find and use it automatically. For video calls, you'll also need a webcam or front-facing camera on your device.

How to Get a Microsoft ID

A Microsoft ID is similar to a Google account, where one username and password gives you access to the entire suite of web services Microsoft offers. If you already use those services, or if you buy and download apps from the Windows Store, you can use that account to log into Skype.

  1. Go to Microsoft’s account page and click on Create Account.

  2. Enter the email account you’d like to use.

    We recommend using the account that aligns with how you’ll use Skype, as this name and ID will be searchable by other Skype users. For example, if you’ll be making business calls, use your business email.

  3. Then, pick a strong password that's hard for someone to guess.

    Microsoft account password page
  4. In a separate tab or window, go to the email account you entered. Microsoft will send you a four-digit code to verify your account. Enter the code, and you’ll have a Microsoft ID.

Use your Microsoft ID to log into Skype using either the browser version at web.skype.com or the app you've downloaded from Skype's official site.

How to Use Skype

Video and voice calls between two Skype accounts on any platform are free, but there's a cost if you want to call a dedicated phone number, such as someone's mobile number or their landline. Also, remember that if you use Skype on mobile or with a mobile hotspot, that will use up data.

Skype works the same across all the different platforms, but they don't always look identical.

How to Make a Call on Skype

If you know the Skype name of the person you’d like to reach, enter that in the search bar you see in the upper left-hand corner, underneath your name.

  1. Click on the person you want to call, and it'll take you to a window that fills most of the screen.

    Screenshot of Skype on macOS showing the Search field
  2. In the upper right-hand corner, there are three buttons. For a video call, click the camera icon; for a voice call, click the phone icon.

    Three Skype buttons in macOS version of Skype: video call, audio call, add person
  3. The third icon, a person, and a plus sign icon lets you add someone to a call.

  4. When you click an icon, Skype will “ring” a person until they pick up.

    Be sure to turn your microphone on and set your speakers or headphones to a comfortable level. If you’re using video, make sure the camera is also on.

    Skype for macOS calling screen
  5. Making phone calls is even simpler. Click on the phone pad button in the upper left-hand corner to open the dial pad.

    Dialpad for making Skype calls to regular phone numbers in macOS
  6. When you type in a number, it will appear at the top of the window.

If you’re calling overseas, underneath the number, there will be a drop-down menu that adds the country code to your dial, so you won’t need to enter that first.

How to Answer a Call on Skype and End a Call

When you receive a call on Skype, your phone or computer will "ring." If you've muted the volume on your device, you won't hear a ring. but you'll a notification on the screen.

  1. To answer, click on the window that pops up on your desktop, or tap the screen of your phone.

    Green telephone icon to answer Skype calls on macOS
  2. When the call is over, press the red button with a phone in the center; it will be in the lower right-hand corner of your call window.

    Red telephone hang up button in Skype for macOS

Skype On Windows

Skype is very Windows-friendly. It will work with any computer running Windows XP Service Pack 3 or higher. However, you may also need to upgrade your version of Internet Explorer: Windows XP SP3 will need Explorer updated to at least version 8, and Windows 7 users will need to use at least Internet Explorer 11. You can find those downloads on Microsoft's Internet Explorer support page. Also note that if you use a version of Windows before Windows 7, the Skype app will be the only supported method of making calls.

Screenshot of Skype on Windows 10

Skype On Mac

To use Skype's app on the Mac, you'll need to have at least macOS X 10.9 or higher. However, if you have an older Mac, you should be able to log into the web version and use that instead.

Skype On iOS

Skype's app is in the App Store, but will only work with iPhones and iPad running iOS 8, or higher.

Three iOS screens of Skype app showing Add people and Add buttons

Skype On Android

Skype will work on any Android device running 4.04 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or higher. You can download Skype from the Google Play store.

Three Android screens showing Skype calling and Add people buttons