What Are the Requirements for Using Skype?

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

Skype group call

 S3studio / Getty Images

Using Skype is an easy first step to experiencing the advantages of Voice over IP communications. Before being able to make and receive calls on Skype, you need to meet the system requirements and assemble a few things.

What You Need to Start Using Skype

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

  • A decent internet connection with sufficient bandwidth. Broadband is recommended for high-quality voice and video calls.
  • A hearing speaker or device and a microphone. These may be built-in or you may need to add headphones. There are headphones and desk phones adapted for VoIP calls and 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 and set up an account with a username and password that you enter each time you log in to your account.
  • Skype credits. Skype calls are completely free worldwide if you are communicating with someone who also uses Skype over an internet connection. If you want 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 buddies. Once you get all the above set, you need people on the other end of the line to talk to. Ask your friends for their Skype IDs or use the Skype Search Tool to look for people you know from among the half-billion Skype users.

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

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
  • 512MB 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
  • 1GB 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)
  • 512MB 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)
  • 32MB 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 (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.