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How to Use Top Video Apps to Keep In Contact with Loved Ones During COVID-19

Although we’re here to help you firstly with business support and guidance, at any time, not least during the COVID-19 outbreak, it’d be silly of us not to address the additional stresses in your personal life that can impact yours, and employees’ work levels and emotions... 

We want to help you all try to engage with your nearest and dearest as best as you can during this unprecedented state of events. 

It's time to look out for one another, and whether that’s over LinkedIn with a business supplier, or helping you to ensure your Gran or Dad are doing OK during this outbreak, then we want to offer the step-by-steps you need to ensure that. 

Now, there are some obvious ways to reach out to your loved ones (and business contacts, where appropriate), so let’s reel those off now:

  • Phone
  • Email
  • Text
  • WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger

But what about using some innovative ways to bring together your loved ones during the lockdown...?  

FaceTime

Although most people have this ready to go and are already avid users, some may not, or their loved ones may not have it set up, so here’s how to use FaceTime and what it is: 

  1. You likely already have this app pre-installed on your smartphone. If not, or you need to add it to a loved one’s iPhone/iPad, find it here on the App Store. Note: FaceTime only works with Apple products, not Android. 
  2. Open the app and choose who you wish to FaceTime with, by choosing the blue ‘+’ icon. You can then type in a phone number or email address that you have been given, or search for a contact in your phonebook by name, i.e. Dad, Gran, Ali Smith, etc.
  3. Once you’ve finished entering the contact’s details you can choose whether to have an Audio or Video call - hey, it’s time to get in touch with people, so choose Video! The call will now start.
  4. Once in-call you can add additional contacts for a memorable get-together (up to 32 people at once) by simply adding the names/email address/phone numbers of all those you want to take part.

Features include: 

Connect with family and friends around the world with FaceTime. Make audio and video calls from your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch to other iOS devices or even a Mac.

  1. Reach contacts using their phone number or Apple ID.
  2. Make both video and audio calls.
  3. Enjoy Group FaceTime with up to 32 people at once.
  4. Use effects to become an Animoji, place stickers, and much more right in your FaceTime call.
  5. Use the front-facing FaceTime camera to show your face, or switch to the back camera to show your friends what you see.
  6. Create Favourites for quick access to key people in the Phone app.
  7. FaceTime calls are integrated into your recent calls list in the Phone app.
  8. FaceTime works over Wi-Fi (iPhone 4 or later) and cellular (iPhone 4s or later).

Remember that FaceTime only works with those on Apple devices and a lot of reports about Group calls show that it doesn’t work properly for those with older devices, so if you want to involve Gran in a big family get-together there may be other apps that work better. It’s reported that Group calls don’t work on older models including iPhones 5s, 6 and 6s.

However, it is a great, easy, free (as long as you’re on WiFi or within the capacity of your mobile data limit) way to make regular ‘face-to-face’ calls with loved ones, one-on-one.

Houseparty

Already a huge hit as we get settled into a life without visiting our nearest and dearest, Houseparty offers a much easier way to have group video calls, ideal for celebrating birthdays with those we cannot reach, and having a glass of wine (or tipple of your choice) with friends on a Friday evening! 

It will involve likely installing the app onto your phone and getting used to a more complex interface, and ensuring your settings are set as you wish… but we’re here to help with that!

  1. Once you’ve downloaded the app via the App Store or Play Store, you can go in-app to sign in or register, which only asks a few questions and gives the option to link your account to Snapchat (probably not an app for Gran to get confused by…).
  2. From here, let’s start to party! You can sync phone and Facebook contacts if you wish, or get a unique ‘Partycode’ to invite others to your specific chat room. Once your party members have ‘arrived’ you can lock the chat, to prevent others from turning up uninvited (isn’t that the worst?!).
  3. Once in-party you can chat with up to eight people and play games. Be careful with this app as it can allow anybody to join your chat, and you should be particularly careful if children are accessing this app because of this very reason. 

Features include: 

The app makes connecting face to face effortless, alerting you when your friends are “in the house” and ready to chat so you can jump right into the conversation. The same goes for you opening the app! Your friends will know you’re in the app and ready to chat, so they can join you (…because rejected calls are so last year). Houseparty is truly the next best thing to hanging out in person. 

Zoom

It doesn’t just have to be for work, anyone can set up a Zoom account and lots of people are using this app in the same way we do for remote work meetings during the working day, so why not utilise it for your family too?

It’s a simple way to connect with loved ones on desktop devices, plus tablets and smartphones too. 

  1. Download Zoom Cloud Meetings (the official name) on App Store or Play Store.
  2. Create an account or sign in to an existing one, once in-app. 

Features include: 

Get help with Zoom using our recent blog post for ideas to jazz up your Zoom call!

Stay connected wherever you go – start or join a meeting with flawless video, crystal clear audio, instant screen sharing, and cross-platform instant messaging – for free!

It's super easy! Install the free Zoom app, click on "New Meeting," and invite up to 100 people to join you on video! Connect with anyone on iPad, iPhone, other mobile devices, Windows, Mac, Zoom Rooms, H.323/SIP room systems, and telephones.

  1. Best iPhone and iPad video meeting and screen sharing quality
  2. Easily invite phone, email, or company contacts
  3. Contact availability status
  4. Virtual Background on iPhone 8, iPad 5, iPad Pro and all later models
  5. Screen share directly from your iPhone or iPad
  6. Screen share screen and applications
  7. Co-annotate during screen sharing on iPhone and iPad
  8. Real-time whiteboard collaboration on iPad
  9. Works over WiFi, 4G/LTE, and 3G networks
  10. Safe driving mode while on the road and works with Apple Carplay
  11. Siri Shortcuts to customise your voice commands to start, join and listen to a list of upcoming meetings

Skype

A trusty friend, Skype was long seen as the ‘go-to’ way to video call with your distant loved ones from around the world, and it still works much the same as it always used to, so don’t rule out Skype. 

  1. Download Skype to your device, for phones/tablets follow these links for the Android Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
  2. Once in-app you will be asked to create an account or sign up. This process only takes a couple of minutes to complete.
  3. Once in Skype you can reach out to contacts by syncing your phone book or email address book, or share a QR code, or send an invite via text or another messaging service by selecting ‘Invite to Skype’. Alternatively, you can choose ‘Contacts’ and then search for someone by their phone number, email address or Skype name. 

Features include: 

In today’s always-on-the-go world, it can be difficult to get groups of friends, family members or coworkers together in one place. With the Skype video chat app, group video calling for up to 50 people is available for free on just about any mobile device, tablet or computer.

  1. Audio and HD video calls: Experience crystal clear audio and HD video in one to one or group calls – now with call reactions too.
  2. Smart messaging: Instantly react to any message with fun reactions or use @mentions to grab someone’s attention.
  3. Screen sharing: Easily share presentations, holiday photos or anything on your screen during a call with integrated screen sharing.
  4. Call recording and Live subtitles: Record Skype calls to capture special moments, note key decisions and use live subtitles to read the words that are spoken.
  5. Call phones: Reach friends who aren’t online with affordable international calling rates to mobiles and landlines.
  6. Private conversations: Keep your sensitive conversations private with industry-standard end to end encryption.

Most importantly, during this time, stay safe and in touch with loved ones, as well as elderly neighbours and those in your local community that may be more vulnerable to struggling due to the ongoing pandemic and lockdown. 

If you have any technical queries or concerns, even those not strictly relating to what we do as a business, we're always here to help - we're in this together!

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