How to Use WhatsApp Video Calling

Make a WhatsApp call from any device

WhatsApp icon on an iPhone screen
Hoch Zwei/Getty Images

WhatsApp is most popularly known as an instant text-messaging service. However, it also offers users the ability to make video calls over the internet (also known as VoIP calls), all without the need to connect to a phone network. This guide explains how to make such calls, covering all applicable operating systems, and also explaining how to make group video calls.

How to Make a WhatsApp Video Call

Screenshots of WhatsApp chat feature

Making a video call is easy. Here's how you do it on iOS phones, although keep in mind that you need iOS 8 or later for video calls to be available.

  1. Open WhatsApp

  2. Go to Chats

  3. Tap the contact you'd like to video call

  4. Tap the Video Call icon in the top-right corner of the screen

Making video calls on either Android or Windows Phone devices is almost identical, although in this case Step 4 requires tapping the Call icon first, and then tapping video call. And as with iOS, you need to be running a relatively recent operating system: at least 4.1 for Android, and at least 8.1 for Windows Phone.

That's it, although it's worth noting that you can switch mid-call from a video to a voice conversation, and vice versa. This can be done by tapping the Camera icon as you're speaking, which regardless of whether you're currently on a video or voice call, will send a request to the person you're talking with to switch.

As with WhatsApp's text messaging functions, there's no direct cost to video calling. However, since the app requires an internet connection, it will consume your phone's mobile data if you're connected via 4G or 3G, so take care to connect to Wi-Fi if you don't want to eat through your monthly data allowance.

How to Receive a WhatsApp Video Call

Screenshots of receiving a WhatsApp video call

It almost goes without saying, but in addition to making video calls on WhatsApp you can also receive them. Accepting them is straightforward enough, but for the sake of completeness, here's how you do it on iOS (all versions):

  • When you're already in WhatsApp, simply tap Accept (or Decline to refuse the call
  • When your iPhone is unlocked but you're not in WhatsApp, pull the notification at the top of the screen down and tap Accept
  • When your iPhone is locked, swipe the notification to the right (or swipe to the left to have the option of declining the call)

With Android, you need to swipe up on the green Accept icon to, unsurprisingly enough, accept the call. Alternatively, you can swipe up on the red phone icon to decline it, or on the message icon to decline and a short message explaining why.

And with Windows Phone, you have to tap answer to accept the call, or you can tap ignore or reply with message.

How to Make a WhatsApp Group Call

Screenshots of the WhatsApp group video chat.

In addition to using WhatsApp for video chats, you can also use it for group video chats. These work just like normal video calls, except you add extra contacts to the call as you go along. Here's how you set one up:

  1. Open WhatsApp

  2. Go to Chats (on the menu bar at the bottom of the screen)

  3. Tap the contact you'd like to video call

  4. Tap the Video Call icon in the top-right corner of the screen (or the Call icon and then video call for Android and Windows phones)

  5. Tap Add participants icon in the top-right corner of the screen

  6. Tap the contact you'd like to add to the video call

  7. Tap Add

It's worth noting that you can add a maximum of only two extra contacts, meaning that you can have four people speaking (including yourself) in total.

How to Make WhatsApp Video Calls on Desktops and Laptops

A screenshot of the WhatsApp Mac app.

Before the above subheading gets you unnecessarily excited, you can't actually make video calls using the WhatsApp desktop app, nor using the WhatsApp Web portal on the WhatsApp website.

The only thing you can use the desktop app for is sending instant messages, so if you're using this app and want to make a video call, you'll have to switch back to the WhatsApp smartphone app.

That's said, for Windows PC users of a more adventurous disposition, you can download Android emulators, such as AndY, Nox, and BlueStacks (these can also be found for Mac). This will then allow you to download the mobile version of WhatsApp onto your computer, and use video chats accordingly.