What you wanted to know about Skype and Facetime but were too afraid to ask

Do you see people Skyping their grandkids and friends and wonder how to do it? It’s not as hard as

Do you see people Skyping their grandkids and friends and wonder how to do it? It’s not as hard as it looks. Yes, believe it or not, you don’t need much more than your phone, a tablet or a laptop.

If you’ve been wanting to call your family who live overseas or on the other side of the country, there are ways to do it for free or for a very low cost. Two of those ways involve the apps Skype and Facetime.

If you want to get started soon but don’t know how, look no further – we take you through what each program is and the ways to use them so you’ll never ben left in the dark and without contact again.


What it is:

Skype is a video calling app that connects you to people, wherever they are in the world. You can use Skype on a multitude of different devices (Apple, Android or Windows), on your phone or computer or a TV with Skype on it.

How to download:

For Apple mobile devices click here

For Android mobile devices click here

For Windows mobile devices click here

For Mac computers click here

For PCs click here

How much:

It is free to start using Skype – to speak, see and instant message other people on Skype for example.

If you pay you can call phone numbers (instead of just people with Skype), access WiFi or send texts. You can pay as you go or buy a subscription.

How to use it:

  1. Sign in – use a existing Microsoft account (Windows, Outlook, Xbox Live, Hotmail, or OneDrive) or click Create account to open a new one. An existing Skype account from your desktop computer can also be used.
  2. Make a call – if you’ve just signed up to Skype, you won’t have any contacts. You can get contacts from Facebook, otherwise just ask your friends or family for their details and add them to your contacts. A contact can be added to the app by opening the menu and selecting Add people. Enter the username of the contact and when the app find them, click Add to contacts to save them. You might alternatively tap the call button to drop them a line right away. Click on the person you want to call, then click the phone button to call.
  3. Video calling – to start video calling via Skype, you need contacts, as mentioned above. Simply click on a name and then click on the video icon in the top right hand corner. Make sure your camera is on! As long as you have a front facing camera, a strong mobile Internet connection or are connected to Wi-Fi, you will be able to make great video calls with friends and family around the world.


What it is:

FaceTime for Mac makes it possible to talk with anyone on an iPad 2 or later, iPhone 4 or later, iPod touch (4th generation or later) or Mac — from your Mac device. 

How to download:

Most Apple devices will come with FaceTime already installed. If yours doesn’t for some reason, you can download it here.

How much: 

FaceTime is free.

How to use it:

Over Wi-Fi, you can use FaceTime on any of these devices:

  • iPhone 4 or later
  • iPad 2 or later
  • iPad mini (all models)
  • iPod touch 4th generation or later (only iPod touch 5th generation supports FaceTime audio calling)
  • Mac computers

With a data plan, you can also use FaceTime without Wi-Fi on any of these devices:

  • iPhone 4s or later
  • iPad (3rd generation or later)
  1. Turn on FaceTime – Open your FaceTime app and sign in with your Apple ID (you can also do this from Settings > FaceTime). If you’re using an iPhone, FaceTime automatically registers your phone number. To also register your email address on your iPhone, tap Settings > FaceTime > Use your Apple ID for FaceTime, and sign in. If you’re using an iPad or iPod touch, register your email address by tapping Settings > FaceTime > Use your Apple ID for FaceTime, and sign in.
  2. Make a FaceTime call – To make a FaceTime call, you need the person’s phone number or registered email address. There are a few ways to make a FaceTime call:
    • In the FaceTime app, enter the person’s phone number or email address then tap the FaceTime video  facetime video icon or audio FaceTime audio icon icon.
    • If you have the person’s phone number or email address saved in your Contacts, you can enter their name, then tap the video or audio icon.
    • You can also begin a FaceTime video call from your iPhone during a call. Tap the FaceTime icon during the phone call to talk using FaceTime.

Tell us, has this given you more confidence to use Skype or Facetime?