What Are the Requirements for Using Skype?

Try out voice-over-IP technology on your computer or mobile device

Skype chat

Using Skype is an easy first step to experiencing the advantages of Voice over IP communications, but to use the more advanced video-imaging parts of the service, you must enjoy adequate network bandwidth.

These instructions apply to all versions of Skype running on all platforms.

What You Need to Start Using Skype

You probably already have the equipment you need to make Skype calls. Requirements include:

  • Decent internet connection with sufficient bandwidth: Broadband is recommended for high-quality voice and video calls, with average sustained throughput of 1 MB/s or greater.
  • Speaker or headphone and a microphone: This hardware may be built-in or you may need to add headphones. Some headphones and desk phones are already adapted for Skype calls. For video calls, you need a web camera, which comes with many devices.
  • Skype application: which you can download from Skype to install on your computer or from the iTunes Store or Google Play for mobile devices.
  • Skype account: Register with Skype to set up an account with a username and password that you enter each time you log in to your account. Alternatively, use your Microsoft Account.
  • Skype credits: Skype calls are free worldwide if you communicate with someone who also uses Skype over an internet connection. To use Skype to call someone who doesn't use Skype on a mobile or landline phone, you need prepaid credit on your account. Calls to non-Skype numbers are cheap but they aren't free.

Skype is available on a wide variety of hardware. Check to see if your computer or mobile device meets the Skype system requirements.

Illustration of a person wearing headphones using Skype on their laptop
Lifewire / Lisa Fasol 

System Requirements

Skype runs on computers with Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems, Android and iOS mobile devices, and web browsers. Using the latest version of Skype, specific requirements are:

Windows Desktop and Laptop Computers

  • Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7 with IE 11, Vista, or XP SP3 with IE 8 or higher (New Skype for Windows requires Windows 10, 8.1, 8, or 7)
  • 1 GHz processor minimum
  • 512 MB or more RAM
  • DirectX v9.0 or higher

Mac Desktop and Laptop Computers

  • Mac OS X 10.9 or higher
  • 1 GHz Intel processor (Core 2 Duo) or higher
  • 1 GB or more RAM
  • QuickTime

Linux Computers

  • Ubuntu 14.04 or higher, 64-bit
  • Debian 8.0 or higher, 64-bit
  • Fedora Linux 24 or higher, 64-bit
  • OpenSUSE 13.3 or higher, 64-bit
  • Intel Pentium 4 processor or later (SSE2 and SSE3)
  • 512 MB or more RAM

Android Mobile Devices

  • Free Skype app
  • Android OS 4.0.3 or higher (New Skype requires OS 6.0 Marshmallow or higher)
  • 32 MB or more free space
  • ARMv7 processor or ARMv6, but ARMv6 won't run video calls

iOS Mobile Devices

  • Skype for iPhone app
  • iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touch devices running iOS 9.5 or later

Web Browsers

This function is not supported on mobile phone browsers.

  • Supported browsers include the latest versions of Chrome and Firefox, Microsoft Edge, IE 10 and higher, Safari 6 and higher.