The best free apps for video calling

a man holding a phone and looking at the camera © Photo by Stefano Guidi/Getty Images

Things may be starting to open up, but for now, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to limit face-to-face association and most of us are still relying on video calls to keep in touch with work colleagues, family, and friends. And for most of us — especially those who are facing financial difficulties — free is best. Zoom continues to top the list of videoconferencing apps, but there are a bunch of applications out there that will allow you to meet others online for free.

We’ve listed a few of the best known videoconferencing apps, along with a couple of popular text chat apps that include video calling features. While most of these already have free versions, some are offering access to additional features for those who are currently working from home or who want to check up on friends and relatives online.

There are a number of apps we have not included, such as Facebook, WhatsApp, and FaceTime, that allow you to do video chats. We’ve left them out because they require that all participants be members of a specific social network (Facebook, WhatsApp) or that you use a specific type of device (FaceTime, which is Apple-only). We’ve also tried to concentrate on applications that allow you to participate without having to download the app (unless you’re the host).

A good idea is to try one or two out for yourself to see how well they fit in with your style and those of your friends. This list is a good place to start.

Zoom

The most popular video meeting app

graphical user interface, website: Zoom is one of the most widely used video meeting apps. Zoom is one of the most widely used video meeting apps.

The best free apps for video calling