7 Ways to Group Video Chat While You Wait for That FaceTime Update

This previous spring, Apple demoed a model of FaceTime that might assist group video chat for up to 32 individuals directly. The replace was supposed to include the official launch of iOS 12 this fall—but it surely seems that FaceTime can be a one-on-one video chat app for some time longer. In the newest developer launch of the iOS 12 software program, Apple mentioned Group FaceTime has been faraway from the upcoming public launch of iOS 12. It’s now anticipated to launch later within the fall.

Personally, I don’t thoughts the wait: I’ve a tough sufficient time getting 4 associates collectively for dinner, nevermind coordinating a video chat for eight occasions as many individuals. And it’s nearly definitely higher to have the brand new characteristic work nicely when it launches, slightly than launch with bugs. But some individuals had been in all probability trying ahead to seeing what an iOS-native software would deliver to the group video chat expertise.

Don’t fear, although. There are loads of different group video chat functions you need to use within the meantime. Here are just a few options to strive.


Microsoft-owned Skype first introduced group video chatting to its iOS and Android apps again in 2016, a pair years after it launched the characteristic on desktop. It’s straightforward to use, and free. To launch a gaggle chat on Android, first faucet the motion button, then choose the video icon. Add your folks, faucet the video icon once more, and your name will begin straight away. You can add up to 25 associates. The workflow on iOS is analogous, besides you first add your folks to the group chat, after which faucet the video icon.

You can add extra individuals to the Skype video chat whereas it’s in progress, swap between entrance and rear digital camera views, and swap between a grid structure or one which prioritizes the one that is talking, with everybody else showing in smaller thumbnails under.

Google Hangouts

Google’s messaging technique has been a complicated mess over the previous few years, but when there’s one app you’ll be able to nonetheless depend on, it’s the stalwart Google Hangouts. The app permits group video calls with up to 25 individuals on each iOS and Android, in addition to on the net. To begin a name: Open the Hangouts app, scroll to the underside, faucet Add, then New Video Call, after which enter the contacts you need to embody (whether or not by identify, cellphone quantity, or Gmail deal with). Hit the video icon, and your name will begin. If you need to create a reputation for your group chat, go to choices within the higher right-hand nook of the group chat, and choose “Conversation Name.”

Duo, one in all Google’s different messaging apps, gives high-quality video chats between two individuals, however doesn’t at the moment assist group video chats.

Facebook Messenger

Video chatting with 25 individuals isn’t sufficient? Try video chatting with 50 individuals. That’s what Facebook gives in Facebook Messenger, anyway. Up to 50 individuals can take part on one group chat, whether or not video or simply utilizing voice. The app expertise is actually optimized for six individuals; add greater than that and just one talking participant at a time is proven on digital camera. There’s one other catch: You have to have the total model of Messenger, not Messenger Lite, to group video chat. To launch group video chat in Messenger, create a gaggle first, then faucet on the digital camera icon within the higher right-hand nook of the app (we’re recognizing a theme right here).

As with lots of the different apps, you’ll be able to identify your group chat. Unlike lots of the different apps, you’ll be able to add AR filters to your face whilst you’re chatting in Messenger. You can even proceed to ship text-based messages whilst you’re group video chatting. Which leads us to….


Instagram’s recently-launched group video chat characteristic comes with a twist that solely the world’s largest social community may have presumably give you: It permits you to group video chat with up to 4 associates whilst you’re nonetheless scrolling by way of your Instagram feed. Who wants to select between hearting your folks’ trip images and really listening to what your folks have to say in regards to the journey when you are able to do each on the similar time? The new group video chat choice isn’t tremendous apparent; you’ve got to first go to Instagram Direct, then kind a gaggle chat as in case you’re texting, after which hit the video icon within the upper-right hand nook. If nobody joins inside 30 seconds, the decision mechanically stops.

Pro tip: Long-press on the group chat in Instagram Direct to see choices to delete or mute the video chats.


Facebook-owned WhatsApp is the newest app on this bunch to roll out group video chatting, having simply launched this characteristic on the finish of July. It’s extra restricted than among the others right here—as with Instagram, you’ll be able to solely video chat with 4 individuals concurrently. But it’d nonetheless be probably the most handy choice for lots of people, contemplating WhatsApp has greater than 1.5 billion month-to-month energetic international customers. WhatsApp says group video calls are end-to-end encrypted, and that characteristic has been designed to “work reliably around the world in different network conditions.” To begin a gaggle video name, launch a one-on-one video name first after which faucet the “add new participant” button within the higher proper nook of the chat.


When Houseparty launched in June of 2016, after altering its identify from Meerkat and pivoting from that app’s live-streaming focus, it was much less about organized video calls and extra about serendipitous video hangouts with associates. When you opened the app, it confirmed you a listing of associates who had been already on-line and allow you to “drop in” on their video chats, as if you had been simply swinging by their faculty dorm room to say hello. But then final fall the corporate rolled out extra of an organized chat perform, one that allow customers video chat with up to 16 individuals concurrently.

While such a chat arguably dilutes the spontaneity that differentiates Houseparty from its opponents, it additionally implies that the app serves a goal even when you go online and none of your folks occur to be at the moment energetic on it.


Snapchat’s group video chat characteristic is analogous to each Facebook Messenger’s and Houseparty’s choices. Like Houseparty, it permits up to 16 associates to video chat concurrently (and up to 32 associates in case you’re simply utilizing audio). Like Facebook Messenger, it helps you to apply filters and different results whilst you’re video chatting. To launch a gaggle video chat, create a brand new group or faucet on a pre-existing group chat after which faucet on the video icon. You can invite extra individuals to be part of when you’ve began a gaggle chat, and like lots of the different apps, contributors can select to go audio-only in the event that they’re not feeling up to video.

Snapchat’s standout characteristic in group video chat, although, is identical characteristic that units the entire app aside: Its AR expertise is uncannily good and helps create some hilarious imagery throughout group video chats. Try the llama filter; you’ll see what I imply.

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