How to Group Video Chat While You Wait for Apple’s Group FaceTime

This previous spring, Apple demoed a model of FaceTime that may help group video chat for as much as 32 individuals without delay. The replace was supposed to come back with the official launch of iOS 12 this fall—nevertheless it seems that FaceTime shall be a one-on-one video chat app for some time longer. In the most recent developer launch of the iOS 12 software program, Apple mentioned Group FaceTime has been faraway from the upcoming public launch of iOS 12. It’s now anticipated to launch later within the fall.

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Personally, I don’t thoughts the wait: I’ve a tough sufficient time getting 4 mates collectively for dinner, nevermind coordinating a video chat for eight instances as many individuals. And it’s virtually actually higher to have the brand new function work nicely when it launches, moderately than launch with bugs. But some individuals have been in all probability trying ahead to seeing what an iOS-native software would convey to the group video chat expertise.

Don’t fear, although. There are loads of different group video chat functions you should utilize within the meantime. Here are a number of alternate options to attempt.


Microsoft-owned Skype first introduced group video chatting to its iOS and Android apps again in 2016, a pair years after it launched the function on desktop. It’s straightforward to make use of, and free. To launch a gaggle chat on Android, first faucet the motion button, then choose the video icon. Add your folks, faucet the video icon once more, and your name will begin instantly. You can add as much as 25 mates. The workflow on iOS is analogous, besides you first add your folks to the group chat, after which faucet the video icon.

You can add extra individuals to the Skype video chat whereas it’s in progress, swap between entrance and rear digital camera views, and swap between a grid format or one which prioritizes the one that is talking, with everybody else showing in smaller thumbnails beneath.

Google Hangouts

Google’s messaging technique has been a complicated mess over the previous few years, but when there’s one app you may nonetheless depend on, it’s the stalwart Google Hangouts. The app permits group video calls with as much as 25 individuals on each iOS and Android, in addition to on the net. To begin a name: Open the Hangouts app, scroll to the underside, faucet Add, then New Video Call, after which enter the contacts you wish to embrace (whether or not by identify, cellphone quantity, or Gmail handle). Hit the video icon, and your name will begin. If you wish to create a reputation in your group chat, go to choices within the higher right-hand nook of the group chat, and choose “Conversation Name.”

Duo, one in every of Google’s different messaging apps, gives high-quality video chats between two individuals, however doesn’t at the moment help group video chats.

Facebook Messenger

Video chatting with 25 individuals isn’t sufficient? Try video chatting with 50 individuals. That’s what Facebook gives in Facebook Messenger, anyway. Up to 50 individuals can take part on one group chat, whether or not video or simply utilizing voice. The app expertise is absolutely optimized for six individuals; add greater than that and just one talking participant at a time is proven on digital camera. There’s one other catch: You should have the complete model of Messenger, not Messenger Lite, to group video chat. To launch group video chat in Messenger, create a gaggle first, then faucet on the digital camera icon within the higher right-hand nook of the app (we’re recognizing a theme right here).

As with most of the different apps, you may identify your group chat. Unlike most of the different apps, you may add AR filters to your face when you’re chatting in Messenger. You also can proceed to ship text-based messages when you’re group video chatting. Which leads us to….


Instagram’s recently-launched group video chat function comes with a twist that solely the world’s largest social community might have presumably give you: It means that you can group video chat with as much as 4 mates when you’re nonetheless scrolling by means of your Instagram feed. Who wants to decide on between hearting your folks’ trip photographs and really listening to what your folks should say concerning the journey when you are able to do each on the similar time? The new group video chat choice isn’t tremendous apparent; it’s a must to first go to Instagram Direct, then type a gaggle chat as in the event you’re texting, after which hit the video icon within the upper-right hand nook. If nobody joins inside 30 seconds, the decision routinely stops.

Pro tip: Long-press on the group chat in Instagram Direct to see choices to delete or mute the video chats.


Facebook-owned WhatsApp is the most recent app on this bunch to roll out group video chatting, having simply launched this function on the finish of July. It’s extra restricted than a number of the others right here—as with Instagram, you may solely video chat with 4 individuals concurrently. But it’d nonetheless be probably the most handy choice for lots of people, contemplating WhatsApp has greater than 1.5 billion month-to-month lively world customers. WhatsApp says group video calls are end-to-end encrypted, and that function has been designed to “work reliably around the globe in several community situations.” To begin a gaggle video name, launch a one-on-one video name first after which faucet the “add new participant” button within the higher proper nook of the chat.


When Houseparty launched in June of 2016, after altering its identify from Meerkat and pivoting from that app’s live-streaming focus, it was much less about organized video calls and extra about serendipitous video hangouts with mates. When you opened the app, it confirmed you an inventory of mates who have been already on-line and allow you to “drop in” on their video chats, as if you have been simply swinging by their school dorm room to say hello. But then final fall the corporate rolled out extra of an organized chat operate, one that allow customers video chat with as much as 16 individuals concurrently.

While this kind of chat arguably dilutes the spontaneity that differentiates Houseparty from its rivals, it additionally implies that the app serves a function even when you go online and none of your folks occur to be at the moment lively on it.


Snapchat’s group video chat function is just like each Facebook Messenger’s and Houseparty’s choices. Like Houseparty, it permits as much as 16 mates to video chat concurrently (and as much as 32 mates in the event you’re simply utilizing audio). Like Facebook Messenger, it helps you to apply filters and different results when you’re video chatting. To launch a gaggle video chat, create a brand new group or faucet on a pre-existing group chat after which faucet on the video icon. You can invite extra individuals to affix when you’ve began a gaggle chat, and like most of the different apps, individuals can select to go audio-only in the event that they’re not feeling as much as video.

Snapchat’s standout function in group video chat, although, is identical function that units the entire app aside: Its AR expertise is uncannily good and helps create some hilarious imagery throughout group video chats. Try the llama filter; you’ll see what I imply.

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