If you know a lot of people who use iPhones you probably hear a lot about FaceTime. Apple launched FaceTime back in 2010 with the iPhone 4 as a way for Apple users to connect on a more personal level. Video calling is not a new concept by any means, but the nice thing about FaceTime is it’s built right into the phone dialer. The problem is FaceTime currently only works between Apple devices. What is an Android user to do? Will you be able to use FaceTime if you’re switching from an iPhone?
What You’ll Miss
The bad news is you won’t be able to completely replicate FaceTime functionality on Android. Apple will most likely never release a FaceTime app for other platforms, and Android doesn’t have an integrated video calling feature. That’s the one thing you will miss the most if you’re switching from an iPhone to Android: the deep integration.
Getting a FaceTime call is no different from getting a normal phone call, and everyone who owns an iPhone is automatically signed in. iPhone users don’t have to worry about getting their friends to install and sign up for a 3rd-party app. The good news is there are plenty of awesome alternatives, and since Android allows apps to hook into the OS you can get close to the same integration. Here are a few of our favorites!
It goes without saying that (no) thanks to the pandemic, Zoom has become one of the most popular video calling platforms around. With the ability to support over 50 participants at a time and the ease of joining video calls without the need for a dedicated application has made it very easy to adopt. There are free and paid versions of the service, where the paid version basically removes all time limitations, but as long as the host has a paid account, other participants can take part and enjoy some of the perks.
Google has gone through various messaging platforms in the past, where Google Hangouts was the de facto place to go if you wanted to take part in video calls, but these days the company has been slowly streamlining its services where they have essentially merged it all into Google Meet. Right now, Google Meet is only available on desktop through the web platform, but there are also dedicated mobile apps for those who prefer using their smartphones or tablets.
In 2016, Google debuted a couple of new communications apps with Google Allo and Duo, with the former focusing on text messages while the latter is focused on video calls. There have been rumors that Google could eventually fold Duo into Meet, but the company says that they are fully invested in the platform (at least for now). We hope that is true because one of the things we love about Duo is that it is a relatively lightweight piece of software that’s simple and straight to the point, perfect for making that quick video call.
Skype is one of the most well-known and ubiquitous video calling services to ever exist. It has been around since way back in 2003. Today Skype is available on nearly every platform you can imagine, including Android, iOS, and Windows Phone. You can do video calls (including group calls), audio calls, and even text messaging. Calling or messaging other Skype users is free.
Viber is another option that offers all the basics: HD video and audio calls, photo and video messages, and text messages. On Viber, your phone number is your ID. The app syncs with your mobile contact list, automatically detecting which of your contacts have Viber. This makes it really easy to connect with people because you don’t need to remember a username. Viber is available for free on Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and desktop.
When Apple first showed off FaceTime there was a rush to be the Android equivalent. For a time it looked like Tango would be that app as HTC pre-installed Tango on their devices. Today Tango offers what you would expect: HD video and audio calls, text messaging, and group chat. You can also explore channels of content, and play games with friends.It’s available for free on Android, iOS, and Windows.
ooVoo is another app similar to Viber and Tango. You can use it to make free HD video calls, audio-only calls, group chat, and send messages to other ooVoo users for free. One thing that ooVoo has that not all of these apps can do is group video calls with up to 12 people. ooVoo is available for Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and desktop.
With over 350 million users, LINE is one of the top 10 most popular messaging apps in the world, and you’ve probably never heard of it. LINE allows users to make free voice and video calls, send group messages, and has tons of fun stickers. It’s available on nearly every platform imaginable, including Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Blackberry, Firefox OS, and desktop.
Telegram made its debut in 2013 and billed itself as a privacy-focused messaging app with end-to-end encryption, a feature that has since been adopted by pretty much every messaging platform out there. The company did take its time to implement video calling, which they did in 2020 due to the increased demand for such services, so for users of Telegram who don’t want to switch to a different app jusTelegram burst onto the scene back in 2013 where it billed itself as a privacy-focused messaging app with end-to-end encryption. The company focused mostly on messaging, and it seems that only in 2020 did they finally launch video calling features to meet the demand for such services. If you’re a Telegram user that doesn’t want to use other apps, or if you’re looking for alternatives, this could be worth looking into.
Now that we’ve shared some of the obvious alternatives it’s time to think out of the box. Did you know Snapchat can do video messaging? I don’t just mean sending 10-second snaps to your friends. I’m talking about live one-on-one video calls and text messaging.
Snapchat Chat works differently than any other video calling app. You can’t really even “call” someone in the traditional sense. Swipe right on a name in your inbox to open the chat screen. When both you and your friend are on the chat page at the same time you can press the blue button to open up a video call. It’s one of Snapchat’s lesser known features, but it works well.
A lot of people like FaceTime because it can be used over WiFi and the audio quality is much higher than a typical phone call. If you’re only interested in making audio calls to your friends you can use Facebook Messenger. The beauty is most people in the world use Facebook, so it should be easy to contact your friends. When you’re in a conversation with a friend you should see a blue phone icon. Tap it to go into a call.
For some reason, WhatsApp took their own sweet time when it comes to video calls, but we suppose better late than never, right? The messaging platform plays home to millions upon millions of users, and there’s a very good chance that you and the people around you use it, so it could be a great alternative if you already have the app. At the moment, WhatsApp’s video calling only supports a maximum of 8 users, but it should be more than plenty for most people unless you’re hosting a webinar or a class.
If you’re a gamer, there’s a very good chance you might have heard of Discord. For those who haven’t, Discord is basically like the Slack except that it focuses more on gaming, but this doesn’t mean that if you’re a non-gamer you can’t or shouldn’t use it.
The app has some pretty nifty features for voice and video calling, such as background noise cancellation to ensure that the best possible audio quality goes through. It is also available across a multitude of platforms such as Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, and Linux, so you should be able to use it on pretty much any device.
The Bottom Line
The best video calling app for you will depend on your needs. More importantly, you’ll have to find the one that all of your friends and family members are willing to use. That’s the sad thing about messaging apps. It doesn’t matter how many features the app has, or how well it’s designed. What matters is the platform and if you can get people to switch.
If all your friends and family members are super stubborn FaceTime users you’re going to feel left out. Your best bet is common apps such as Hangouts or Facebook Messenger. Most people in the world already have accounts for those services. Apple is trying to lock people into their walled garden, but with these awesome apps at your disposal you can fight back.
What do you use for video chatting with your iOS or Android friends? Do you even use video chatting? Check out the best messaging apps, as voted by Phandroid readers!
wife keeps trying to talk me into going to Iphone so she could facetime with me….no thanks. is the reason android does not have this due to some patent violations it would cause???
Apple would have to release Facetime for Android or provide an API for Android developers to use… neither of which will happen.
Tell your wife to download Hangouts for iOS and give it a try!
makes sense….I thought an older build of Android had this on it….maybe Gingerbread?? I remember seeing a choice way back in the day for it when I would make a call
Never did. Likely never will. Some OEM skin may have had something, but it wasn’t Facetime.
maybe thats what it was….I did not say it was facetime per say. But I do remember there being a video chat icon when I would call someone but nothing ever happened when I tapped it. It was an unrooted, stock atrix 4g. not that it has anything to do with anything at all.
“provide an API for Android developers to use…”
Didn’t Apple promise this initially, then back off?
You could both just get Skype. It’ll be free and all you have to do is sign up for it once the app is downloaded.
Was the headline deliberately written to fool readers into thinking there’s a way?
Obviously. Only someone interested in maximizing their add revenue would post a “how to” headline when the bottom line is “you can’t”.
As someone pointed out on G+, there are many people who think “FaceTime” means any form of video chatting. Just like some people call every tissue a “Kleenex.” This article is for those iPhone users who are switching to Android and looking for a way to “FaceTime.”
So then why not say, “Best FaceTime Alternatives,” or “Top Android Video Chat Apps.”
Not trying to be abrasive, but do you really think there was nothing click-baity about the choice of headline?
Facetime doesn’t have any specfic feature or technology which makes it worthwhile. I don’t see why anyone would want to use it on Android.
What makes it worthwhile is that most of my family uses an iPhone. FaceTime is on every iPhone and all they have to do is answer my call. Instead, I have to talk them through downloading a third party app, creating an account, accepting my invitation, etc.
If there were a facetime app for Android then it would be Android users who would need to download it and create an Apple account.
The real problem is that your family is using iPhones, not that facetime is better.
Better is an opinion. The great thing about iOS and Face time is it is all intergrated. Google and other OEM do their consumers a disservice by not having some things universal around android devices. Yea keep your custom skins to differentiate yourself but things like SMS/MMS/VideoChat should be universal. OEMs should use one app (hangouts or a better alternative created later.) Instead of every android phone I pick up using a different SMS app. HTC has their own, Moto uses the old stock app, Samsung uses their own. Be together not the same is great but it makes me feel like were not together or the same sometimes
When you have a google account you have a hangout account so it’s already integrated. Plus you can use it on any PC.
SMS should be phased out as it’s outdated and suck. Any protocol trying to replicate SMS, such as those using phone numbers as ID, should never have existed either.
I know how hangouts work I use it on my Mac and my phone, got my sister hooked on it. My point is that it isn’t the stock app. When I person turns on their Galaxy note they go to the stock messaging app and probably don’t even know what hangouts is or its purpose and the great features it offers. Make it the stock app force ppl to find out what it is then let android do what it does better than apple, let uses make the CHOICE to change afterwards if they so choose
Isn’t hangout stock on Nexus devices?
Also Google Talk has been stock installed for many years, even on Samsung devices.
The real problem is that some people still use SMS, a huge regression.
I agree Samsung should never have released chatton.
Yea on Nexus devices. Google has the ide a right, its the other OEMs that aren’t fully onboard yet. And SMS is still important because apple uses its own instant messaging and doubt that’ll change. If they phased out SMS I’d be communicating with only ppl who have hangouts or whatever service we use. That’ll knockout half the ppl I communicate with
Or you know, you would be sending emails or these people would be installing a real cross-platform solution.
SMS isn’t cross platform as it only works on phones.
I’m not sending an email to a friend to contact them about playing madden shits not gonna happen. As I said there is no solution right now that gives users what they feel they need. IPhone users aren’t gonna give up what apple gives them just to communicate with ppl on a different OS. Im on android and I’m not giving up hangouts for something like whatsapp just so were all using IM. Until that day comes were all phones regardless of OS uses the same IM type thing the way SMS is used now, SMS will always be important
I doubt iPhone users can use only iMessage. Unless you don’t have many friends and they only have iPhones. So they have to use something else.
I still don’t get what’s wrong with email, even to play Madden.
Well me personally I’ve been sitting next to my boss and several times sent him a email and it doesn’t come instantly. A few minutes at best. And yea SMS is what they use. imessage is directly tied to SMS so when they message a fellow iPhone user thst has a data connection it automatically switches to I message and when they message anyone else it uses sms
It’s good for the carriers, so they can charge exorbitant prices when travelling and you receive a SMS. But it’s bad for everybody else.
Email is fast enough (with imap/exchange). Your mail server must be slow if it can’t deliver an email in 10 seconds. Maybe your boss’ email client is configured to fetch new mail every 10 minutes.
If I stopped texting people (Using actual messaging) a year ago I’d only be talking to my mother in Whatsapp and that’s it. Whatsapp is about the only common IM between Android and iOS in North America (just as Skype is the only common video calling service between the two OS’s).
SMS is so much more simple. I use Google Voice for SMS. Standards are nice.
Correct. It would be worthwhile for me to download FaceTime rather than have four people download Hangouts. You said there would be no reason. I gave a reason.
Employees of OEMs if you’re reading this, meet with each other and get the core parts of android to all android devices out of the box. There is no reason in my opinion that every different OEM should have a separate messaging app.
There really isn’t an equivalent “built-in” version of facetime on Android so what would the OEMs be discussing? Other than Hangouts everything else listed were originally from independent developers, not something that Samsung/LG/Sony/HTC/Motorola came up with.
Maybe you can help me understand what you’re trying to say?
OK, what I’m trying to say and I hope I make sense in saying is OEMs use google services for their default services a lot of the time but for a few things like SMS they all use a separate one. Hangouts exist, make it the default SMS app. iOS greatest thing to me is its imessage/face time/SMS integration. I believe android could do the same but OEMs are so dead set on being “different” that they do some unnecessary things.
Oh ok, well hell’s bells I can’t see that ever happening. You’re talking about a fierce market here with giants battling it out for supremacy. If they can find something unique for their devices they’ll try and take advantage of it.
I think it’s best the way it is with the many options out there. Forcing folks to use a standard app isn’t ideal. It’s best we continue to have all the options we have now as far as third party apps. This gives us the freedom to use whatever we’d like how we’d like. Some like Hangouts others prefer Skype or something else.
I get what you’re saying but you confused what I said a little. I’m simply saying making it the stock app just as they have a stock app now and then its up to the user to change if they so desire. Through the play store they would still be able to download a SMS replacement.I never wanna be forced to use one thing that’s why I and so many ppl like android. Also I believe that OEMs already differentiate themselves enough with their custom skins and what not. I really don’t see why a unique SMS app is necessary. Google itself offers two different SMS choices with hangouts and messenger. Android will always limit itself with its double edged sword of be together not the same. On one hand I love that ability to choose and on the other hand I wish something’s were universal. That’s just my take on it
Ah well the sms thing can be explained through features that are unique to each device. Sometimes there are features that work uniquely with the stock sms app like on the Note series. I still don’t have a problem with each company continuing to make their own sms app because it doesn’t commit any consumer to use.
Play Store options right?
So Samsung or LG and others continuing with their own stuff wont slow me down at all because I’ll always be able to use something else. Kinda like bloatware. It’ll never bother me much because I’ll always be able to remove it via root. That’s what great about Android not bad, the options.
Makes total sense I forgot about things like the Note. But on to the rooting aspect. I’m currently pissed because I have a Moto X from att that can’t be rooted. So bloatwares there taking up space and regular souls that don’t like tampering with their device , mainly due to warranties and etc are not gonna want to go that route
Yeah it takes some commitment to go the rooting route for some, I get that.
The video and audio quality of FACETIME on every macbook, iphone, ipad I have used is superior to that of any hangout video call I have been in on my macbook, or many android phones and tablets. My last employer switched from outlook email/exchange to the google business offering of gmail/g drive / hangouts and it was cool having it all integrated and having 10+ people in a video conference all from laptops but the video quality just wasn’t up to par with Apples FACETIME. FACETIME just works smoothly and looks and sounds better. Not sure if its the audio/video codec being used or what but Google needs to figure that out. Video/Audio quality aside, all other aspects of hangouts beats FACETIME IMHO.
Well of course if you are using a slow connection with 10 people hangout’s quality may suffer. But Facetime is limited to 2 users in a video chat session. Otherwise the video quality is similar. They probably use the same codec.
its not a slow connection, we are all sitting behind 100 gig connections to the internet, yes, 100 gig, not meg, and on high end laptops. There is no bandwidth or hardware limitation. Its the code of the software. Whether it was 10 people in a hangout or 2, none of them are as smooth as a facetime video call, its like High Def compared to Standard Def.
ive had no issues doing hd chats on hangouts
I haven’t had any issues but a side by side comparison shows FACETIME is just better video quality, in my experience. No hiccups or cuttouts or anything like that.
Hangouts definitely needs work in several areas. Even when it comes to audio only calls from a computer, Skype is much better. When I’m on a conference call from home to work, I usually use Skype because 800 numbers are free and I get a better, more reliable connection.
Uh… Why do you keep capitalizing FaceTime like that?
I’m really praying for the day OEMs decide to cut back on all these unnecessary devices. I honestly believe it would help out a lot. Samsung realese the Note and S series. Google the Nexus, Moto the X and G, HTC the One. and LG the G and Flex series. Apple has now 2 devices they have to focus on a year. And the old devices if they want while these OEMs and 5 and 6 or so devices with numerous resolutions and all this crap.
I’m not understanding what you’re saying. You’re advocating for companies to offer FEWER choices in mobile devices to consumers?
Yup, that’s exactly what I’m saying. Precisely. The crap devices are unnecessary in my opinion.
Oh well I don’t agree with that at all. The fact that these folks make less expensive devices is a plus for consumers who can’t afford the flagship stuff. There are many out there than need just the basics of features when it comes to a smartphone and I give credit to those that continue to offer these more budget-friendly options.
Options are great to have. Nobody is forcing you or anyone else to buy something you don’t want. I just can’t see how companies offering many choices in mobile devices can be a bad thing for consumers.
I certainly wouldn’t enjoy seeing only two devices coming from each company. How boring of a market would that be?
The devices you may be thinking about may not be necessary for you particularly but they’re certainly a viable option for many others. Different stroke for different folks and all that.
Yea like I said its just my opinion. But I have a take on ppl not wanting to buy expensive flagships. The device that will be a year old when the new flagship comes out (like the s5 when the s6 comes out) will be cheap or cheaper and still will be better than the crap such as the galaxy ace. Apple does it every year. I hate comparing apple to the OEMs that use android because its a different circumstance but the new iPhone kncoks the old iPhone down in price and if you want a budget buy the older one. Not some piece of trash like huawei 81765
Well the more practical reason why many folks don’t buy these flagships is because its simply too expensive, not because they know a new one will be released a year later.
Buying a new lower-tier device every year is more reasonable than buying a new HTC M/Note/LG G/Sony Xperia/Nexus every cycle.
We can’t all ball out on the top stuff all the time. Multiple devices from each company is awesome.
To each its own. I’m not telling anyone to ball out and get a new device every year. I’m simply saying buy the older version of best phone and save yourself some money and some headache that will be associated with the garbage you just picked up for a 50 dollar mail in rebate. When people tell me they hate android and switched to apple I asked them what android phone they had and if they say something like the Galaxy ace I laugh and say u get what you paid for.
Haha! Yeah! I don’t get that! Folks that complain about a phone like that and expect it to perform like a flagship. Like buying a Kia Rio and complaining that it doesn’t go as fast as a Nissan GTR.
When people are stuck in 2010 in regards to how good they think Android is it makes me want to scream.
Dude shut up
Google should focus more more hangouts like when you buy a new device, instructions about hangouts and video calls should pop up, maybe more people well start using it
Everyone on the planet who has a smartphone has heard of Skype and Facebook but that’s about it. Hangouts is virtually unknown to probably 95% of the world’s smartphone users. It’s never achieved that massive popularity and ubiquity the aforementioned services have.
right. But , But hangouts is created by google just like android. information about hangouts can be in the instructions when setting up the phone, just like when setting up the email and stuff, hangouts can blowup in less than a year
It’ll take a miracle on a semi-global scale to get enough people to actually learn how to use Hangouts and use it often enough to spread the word instead of sticking with the social media/services the vast majority has gotten used to.
If Google were willing to really promote the hell out of it it might have a chance, but only then. It would still be an incredible uphill battle. My daughter’s 10 and everyone of her friends Facetime. I’ve installed Hangouts on her iPhone, but there’s no one to talk to.
I’ve done the same on my sons’ tablets, but they and their friends don’t really call each other yet.
It’s like Google+. It’s nice, but probably too little too late. When something has become entrenched, people need a real reason to swtich.
I don’t even want to know what children will be using to communicate in a few years. Probably Braintime. Instant communication for free wherever you are using an implant, haha.
I find Google+ really boring and a bit hard to use (probably because literally no one I know uses it). Even uploading pictures on my laptop using Google+ was a bit odd (probably because I’m not used to it). I’ve only used it once or twice, really.
I tend to think of Google+ and Hangouts this way: If even my techie friends and I (I’m the big Android fan but they’re all pretty up to speed on other tech) won’t even start using Google+ and Hangouts instead of Facebook, Skype and Facetime why would the majority of people who don’t even really care about tech be any different?
That’s why there should be instructions … Like a guide that shows how it works, it’s like all the other stuff you do when you set your phone up… It’ll work
Not a bad idea. The main issue is that 90% of people will go “wtf is this? I don’t know and I don’t care. Skip, skip, no.”
The only thing about switching from SMS to Hangouts is that Hangouts lacks customization. I use GO SMS and like the ability to apply themes and extra functionality to the app.
Yes. This is why I don’t truly like Hangouts. I use the stock Google Messenger app. I like how it gives my contacts color.
I wish there was a way to use the stock Google Phone and Contacts app. Ah!! it’s so lovely.
Once upon a time there used to be a open standard way to chat called IRC (RFC 1459), and then AOL and ICQ came along and erected their walled gardens splitting people off into isolated chat islands. Today, SMS is the crappy chat STANDARD, and videochat is the new walled garden. Eventually a standard protocol will emerge, and the capitalists who were striving for a monopoly will have to put on their sad face.
Internet Relay Video?
how how I still love IRC… :)
Same here. Connected to freenode via a znc proxy on my vps. Still hundreds of thousands of mostly nerds using it.
I use Google Hangouts. Mainly because if you have an Android phone, you most likely have a Gmail. The setup is generally easier and since it’s Google, people usually feel safer installing it.