Why Use Skype?
Skype is an app that lets you connect with people using the video camera on your computer or mobile device.
Face Time does the same thing, but only works with Apple products. Even if you use Face Time, it’s a good idea to know how to use Skype as well. They are both very simple and easy to use and they are truly one of the best benefits of modern technology.
A friend of mine uses Skype to play checkers with her 9 yr. old grandson who lives out of state.
Parents use it to stay in touch with their children when they have to be away on business trips or vacations. They can read the children a bedtime story, watch them get tucked into bed, and throw them a kiss goodnight.
Several clients have had me show them how to use Skype for important job interviews. We practiced calling each other, chose the most flattering camera angle, picked the most attractive background, and discussed what to wear. It is so rewarding to see people gain confidence and be optimistic about getting the job!
Video chat is great for online dating and long-distance relationships too.
Businesses use Skype for video conferencing because they can have multiple people on a video call. They save a lot of money on air travel, hotels and meals.
On an internet enabled big screen TV, it can feel like you’re actually in the room with distant family members. You can even watch each other open Christmas presents!
On mobile phones, you can only use audio for group calls, but on your computer or internet enabled TV you can do video conference calls.
Skype also supports audio calls to traditional phones. Using Skype on your tablet or smartphone, you can call somebody on a regular telephone. This is really handy if you are traveling and don’t have access to phone service but do have access to wifi.
One of my clients who is retired from the Foreign Service, learned how to use Skype so he could stay in touch with his friends all over the world for free.
All of the features of Skype are free, except calling people on regular telephones. However, Skype phone calls are a lot less expensive than traditional long distance calls.
How to Use Skype
Skype is a free download from the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store and is already installed with Windows 10 and Window phones. (It’s owned by Microsoft.)
You need to have an account to use Skype. You can set up a free account or, if you already have a Microsoft account, you can just log in with that.
On iPads, iPhones, Android phones, and Android tablets, each version of Skype will look a little different but the functionality is the same. There are just a few minor differences on each device
When you login you will see three screens
- RECENT- shows the most list of people most recently talked to
- FAVORITES – shows the contacts you have marked as favorites
- PEOPLE – is your list of people you can call on Skype. They have to have an account also and they have to agree to be connected with you.
To Add a Contact
Search for the person in the Skype database. There are millions of people in the Skype database and lots of people with the same name…even unusual names. It’s amazing!
Therefore, the quickest and easiest way to find people is to search for their unique Skype name. Email address work sometimes too because there aren’t duplicates of those but it’s really easier to ask your person for their skype name.
When you find them, tap the button that says “add people.” Then tap “send a contact request.”
The person’s name will show up on your contact list but, they will not show up as online and accessible until they have accepted your request.
After they accept your request, you will be able to see their status next to their name, which lets you know when they are online for you to call them.
Note: some people leave the Skype app open all the time to receive calls. Other people text or email each other to set a time and then open the app. It depends on how often they use it.
To make a call
Select a contact and you will see buttons at the bottom of the screen. You can choose to do a video call or an audio call. They both work pretty much the same. Tap on the button for audio or video. The camera starts running right away so you can frame up your shot while you wait for the other person to pick up.
After you start talking, the buttons at the bottom of the screen will fade out of the way, but when you tap on the screen, they’ll pop up again.
You can mute and unmute your audio by hitting the mute button.
You can disable the camera by hitting the camera button if you want to talk and see them without them seeing you.
When you’re done, just hit the red hang up button.
To receive an incoming call
The app will make a sound and you will see a choice of buttons.
If you don’t want to answer a call, you can just hit the red button.
If you want to answer but only want to use audio, then hit the green button in the middle.
To see video and hear audio, hit the camera button.
To hang up, tap on the screen to bring up the controls and hit the red button
You can also use Skype to have a text chat.
On the screen, with a contact’s information, tap on the field that says “type a message”. Type and then hit the Send button. When he responds, you’ll see his response pop up.
Calling regular telephones
This feature is particularly useful when you’re traveling to a place where you won’t have a cellular phone connection, but you will have wifi.
This is called Voice Over IP, or VOIP. Using this feature, you can call a regular phone as long as you can connect to Skype on your mobile device.
This is the one feature that is not free but Skype is much less expensive than traditional long distance rates. To get an idea of the pricing options, check out their website. http://www.skype.com/en/
You can login to your Skype account on the website and add Skype credit to your account.
Or in the app on your mobile device, you can hit the “my account” button (top right), and there’s an option for “Skype credit”. This way, it’s an “in-app” purchase and it will be charged to your iTunes account or Play Store account. It will ask for your password for confirmation. Then hit “Buy”.
To make a call to a regular phone
At the bottom of the screen, there’s a dialer button and you can just dial a regular phone number. Also, there’s a button at the top that links directly to the address book on your device so you can find the person and tap on the number. When you hit the phone button at the bottom, it will dial. When he answers, you will be having a conversation just as if you were using a regular telephone. To hang up, just hit the red button at the bottom
Skype is a great app for video and audio calls because it runs on all mobile devices and computers no matter what platform. Group video calls are not available on mobile devices but video calls to individuals work.
I hope you will try this and enjoy it. If you need help, just let me know.
Please share this with your friends and relatives. Your referrals are the heart of my business and my mission is to help people more fully enjoy the many benefits of modern technology.