The use of video calling services is at its peak. While the vast majority of people are at home, connecting with their friends, extended family, and colleagues via video calls seems to be everyone’s choice. Millions rely on video calling apps like FaceTime, Skype, Google Duo, Zoom, among others. However, many iPhone and iPad users already have FaceTime and are wondering if Skype is a better alternative.
These video calling apps are not limited to 1:1 conversation only. It offers more features, such as group video calling, screen sharing, cross-platform availability, virtual backgrounds, and more.
There are services like Zoom and Google Meet for professional use. But what about iOS, iPadOS, and macOS users who are looking for a simple app with enough features to meet their needs? Two options come to mind: FaceTime and Skype.
In this post, we will compare each of the apps based on various factors including user interface, features, ease of use, video calling capabilities, customization, availability across platforms, and more. Since FaceTime is only limited to iPhone and iPad users, we should consider these people in this comparison for everyone’s safety. Let’s get started.
Availability across global platforms
When it comes to availability, Skype beats FaceTime. Microsoft Skype is available on iOS, Android, Windows 10, Mac, Linux, web, and Microsoft Outlook web.
FaceTime from Apple is only available on iPhone, Mac, and iPad. So far, there are no solutions or ways to access it on other platforms. Not even the web.
FaceTime uses a transparent user interface with recent conversations at the top. FaceTime is entirely for audio and video calls, and for messages, you’ll need to use iMessage. Click on the “+” button at the top and start the call with your other contacts.
One can also create a group and make group video/audio calls with the participants.
Skype is multifaceted. The user interface is similar to any instant messaging app. Threads dominate the main, and you can create and create new groups and chats from the edit button at the top.
Skype lets you choose from several gradient-based themes from the settings, and the app also supports iOS 13’s dark theme, which is sure to be easy on the eye at night.
Video and audio call
As with other Apple services, FaceTime works perfectly between Apple devices. Just sign in with your Apple account, and you’re good to go. One can use your mobile phone number or Apple email ID to identify you and contact you on FaceTime.
FaceTime also integrates the Apple Contacts and Phone app. You can tap the info button in the FaceTime app and make an audio or video call with the recipient.
Skype is taking a different path here. You can select the connection string and use the video or voice call function from the upper right corner. One can also tap on the user and schedule a call with address, date, time and alarm.
Video calls and benefits
Apple added support for FaceTime conference calls. The service supports up to 31 people for group chats. While on the call, you can mute the audio and even use the built-in effects to add a personal touch.
Effects include sticker packs from Apple as well as from installed apps. I expect Apple to add more functionality to video calls such as virtual background, screen sharing, and call recording.
Skype checks almost all the boxes when it comes to video calling. The service used to be a complicated solution as it required the user to create a Microsoft account to use the app. The company recently introduced the Meet Now functionality where one can create a digital meeting and share the invite link with others.
Attendees can paste the invite link into their browser and join the conversation. Skype also supports blur background, which hides the messy room during video calls. For conference calls, the app supports up to 50 people on the go. So, if you plan to have more than 31 participants in the conference call, ditch FaceTime in favor of Skype.
Microsoft is taking advantage of AI capabilities to add more functionality. Skype has a built-in translator that translates more than ten languages during video calls and about fifty languages while chatting. Skype also supports screen sharing, which is useful when explaining certain things to a group of people.
Skype supports survey functionality. You can create a poll and ask the group to share their opinions. It’s certainly not as powerful as dedicated survey apps, but it gets the job done for the majority. The app integrates with the Microsoft OneDrive service, which allows you to share files and documents from the cloud platform.
FaceTime works really well, and the app is easy to use. No matter how much I tried to enjoy Skype, it felt bloated and not as smooth as FaceTime on iPhone.
FaceTime is completely free to use. Skype is also free. Simply pay for Skype when you call a landline or non-Skype number with Skype Credits.
Make video calls on the go
As you can see from the comparison above, FaceTime is convenient for Apple users, and if your friends and family members have iPhone, I see no reason to switch from FaceTime. Skype is multi-platform and heavy on features suitable for consumers and professionals.