What’s the best video chat app for seniors?
It’s so easy to stay in touch with friends or relatives these days thanks to the power of the internet. With that said, when it comes specifically to video chat, choosing a senior-friendly app can be difficult – there are so many options!
Today, we’re going to help you by introducing you to what we think are the 6 best video chat apps for seniors!
The 6 Best Video Chat Apps For Seniors
Here are our Top Six recommendations (see below)!
The name “Skype” used to be synonymous with online video and text chatting, but these days, Skype has many great competitors and alternatives.
Still, thanks to its easiness of use and intuitive user interface, Skype is an excellent choice for seniors.
Unlike some of the video chat apps we’ll feature below, Skype is available on all platforms – specifically, Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS. It’s even available in the web browser, so no need to install any apps (though the app makes things more convenient).
Skype’s user interface is simple and intuitive as well, so you should not have any issues with starting calls, sending files, sharing your screen, or adding friends to your contact list.
Skype also supports group video calling for up to 100 people, which should be more than enough for anybody.
Another really nice thing about Skype is that it allows you to make international calls. This feature isn’t free, but in case you have a friend or relative who isn’t available via an online channel, the calling functionality of Skype will come in handy.
At the moment, Zoom is perhaps the most famous of all video call platforms, even surpassing Skype. Not without a good reason – Zoom is feature-rich and extremely easy to use, but there are some things with it that you should keep in mind.
The Zoom platform is more focused on online collaboration rather than online video family reunions. For video chat specifically, Zoom isn’t as easy to use as Skype and some other software solutions down the list. Instead, Zoom excels in environments where you need to easily host and manage meetings with dozens and even hundreds of participants.
As an example, Zoom would be a wonderful option for senior teachers who are educating students remotely. Features like remote mouse controls and waiting rooms (allows you to control when participants join the meeting) make online collaboration and teaching very easy.
But for family meetings? You’d probably be better off using Skype. Most of Zoom’s goodies are locked behind a paywall, and in the free edition, calls with 3 or more participants are limited to 40 minutes. Though once this time expires, you may launch a group meeting again.
As the lockdown in early 2020 forced people to work from their homes, the usage of video conferencing apps skyrocketed to previously unseen magnitudes. Zoom has immensely benefited from this unprecedented spike, experiencing an influx of millions of new users.
Zoom wasn’t quite ready for such a sudden increase in its user base – most importantly, from the standpoint of security. Dozens of security incidents have occurred on the Zoom platform since then, causing controversy and prompting some companies (like Google, NASA, or some educational institutions) to ban the software on their networks.
Zoom would respond to security concerns rather quickly, introducing 100 new features to improve its service within just 90 days. Some organizations – like NYC schools – would eventually lift their bans on Zoom.
FaceTime is Apple’s native video chat app available on Mac computers, iPads, and iPhones. If you and those you want to video-chat with all have Apple devices, FaceTime is a no-brainer choice.
FaceTime should be installed on your Apple device by default, so there’s no need to download anything. To start a video call, you launch the app, choose those you want to call from your contact list, and select audio-only or video chat. That’s it!
With FaceTime, group calls are limited to 32 participants. This is a far cry from Skype’s 100, but it should be more than enough for most users.
FaceTime doesn’t have text messages – this function is delegated to iMessage, which is just as easy to use as FaceTime.
Note that to have a video call with someone via FaceTime or text someone via iMessage, you need to have their phone number or email address.
Overall, FaceTime is great – IF you and your loved-ones all have iPhones.
4. Google Duo
Duo is Google’s answer to FaceTime. It typically comes preinstalled on modern Android devices, but unlike FaceTime (which is locked to the Apple ecosystem), Duo is available on both Android and iOS. Additionally, it is available via Google Chrome (it may also work in other browsers).
Google Duo has a couple of really cool features. Most remarkably, the Knock Knock feature allows you to view the live video of the caller before you answer. Though keep in mind that this feature needs to be enabled by the caller, and they also need to be in your contacts.
Also, if you aren’t on a Wi-Fi network, Duo automatically caps your connection speed to 1 Mbps, though you can turn this limit off if you want.
Finally, Duo supports up to 32 participants.
Our overall verdict on Duo is similar to that on Facetime – it’s great, IF you and the people you want to call are both on Android devices.
WhatsApp only supports group calls of 8, and its desktop functionality is extremely poor. However, one of the strongest suits of WhatsApp is security thanks to end-to-end encryption. Although most video chat apps also have this feature, WhatsApp was one of the first to implement it.
If you didn’t know, with end-to-end encryption, all the messages you send and receive are encrypted and decrypted on your and your correspondent’s devices. This is in contrast with encryption in transit where encryption and decryption are performed on the service provider’s servers.
In practice, this means that to acquire access to your WhatsApp data, an intruder would need to obtain access to your or your correspondent’s device.
Anyway, security aside, WhatsApp is extremely easy to use as well, which is a plus for seniors. To start calling, you need to sign up using your phone number.
6. Facebook Messenger/Messenger Lite
If you use Facebook a lot, look no further than Facebook Messenger or Messenger Lite, its lightweight counterpart. Messenger is pretty easy to use and has a rather intuitive user interface, so it should be an amazing option for seniors.
Through a feature called Rooms, Messenger supports video chat with up to 50 participants, so it should again be sufficient for most people’s needs. What’s also great about Messenger is that you can join Rooms without signing up with Facebook.
What Is The Easiest Video Chat App For Seniors?
There is no easy answer to this question, but for most people, WhatsApp will probably work just fine. It’s super-secure, very easy to use, and is a great option if you want to call AND text.
As an alternative, Skype could work for you if you want to video-chat, text, and call landline and mobile phone numbers internationally.
If you and your chat buddies are all using Apple devices, stick to FaceTime – its intuitiveness and convenience are hard to beat. For Android devices, try Google Duo first and see how it goes for you.
If you and your relatives/friends use Facebook a lot, Messenger is perhaps the right place to stop.
And finally, for online collaboration, you may use Zoom – you’ll have to pay for its best features, but it may be worth it.
If you’re confused and overwhelmed and want a single recommendation on the best video chat app for seniors? We’d say go with Skype. Its been around forever, its simple for even the most tech-phobic of users, and its hard to “break it” or encounter any major problems 🙂