While Zoom has witnessed unprecedented popularity in recent weeks, new vulnerabilities, exploits, and privacy concerns continue to surface, with the FBI even issuing a warning over hijacking threats. It's a reliable platform for remote calling, but there's a wealth of highly-capable rivals to consider. When looking to keep in touch with family, friends, or coworkers, we've wrapped up the best Zoom alternatives.
Skype (opens in new tab)
Microsoft's trusty app is a long-time staple for seamless voice and video calls, coupled with robust messaging, and even international calling across landlines and mobiles. While Skype has steadily fallen out of favor in recent years, it's still the jack of all trades when looking for Zoom alternatives, ideal for personal, business, and educational use. It supports up to 50 people per call, and available pretty much everywhere.
WhatsApp (opens in new tab)
Facebook's WhatsApp Messenger is another go-to favorite – especially in the mobile space – with free messaging, voice calls, and video calls, all tied to your phone number. However, it's still smartphone-centric and hard to use for those across multiple devices. Calling is also restricted to mobile devices, with up to four participants.
Facebook Messenger (opens in new tab)
This flagship messaging service from Facebook features deep ties to its social network, ideal for personal communication for friends and family. Privacy concerns aside, Messenger's robust suite of cross-platform services include voice and video calls featuring up to 50 people, with your existing Facebook friends all just a few clicks (or taps) away.
FaceTime (opens in new tab)
Chat among Apple friends
For those in circles tied up with Apple, the ubiquity of FaceTime across the iPhone, iPad, and Mac is a streamlined and straightforward alternative to traditional calls. Voice and video calls are supported for up to 32 users across Apple devices, using your phone number or email address. Just make sure your friends aren't using Android or Windows.
Google Duo (opens in new tab)
Simple video calls
Google's latest chat service acts as the cross-platform FaceTime alternative, instead compatible with iOS, Android, computers, and smart displays. It keeps calling simple and generally reliable, supporting up to 12 users per call.
Houseparty (opens in new tab)
Group up together
The hottest casual video chat app making the rounds is Houseparty, already clocking millions of users with its virtual eight-person "parties." It's available across iOS, Android, Mac, and Chrome, designed to invoke a sense of community around video calling among your friends.
Switching away from Zoom
While it's been a bigger week than ever for Zoom, its recent surge in users has highlighted a growing list of issues impacting the video conferencing service. The company recently apologized over security and privacy hiccups, even freezing the development of new features to focus on fixing up the service. Its more prominent than ever, but some look to Zoom alternatives for new features or pure peace of mind.
Microsoft's Skype (opens in new tab) service remains our recommendation for most users, offering a similar suite of video conferencing features, supporting up to 50 participants per call, and ideal for all types of usage. You can even make calls or texts worldwide through the service, with the aid of Skype Credit, starting as low as $10 via Microsoft. (opens in new tab) It's already ideal for quick chats, family reunions, or even large company group calls, and available for free.
For more personal connections, WhatsApp remains on top for instant messaging, offering free, fast communication with your contact list. It's also perfect for one-to-one voice and video calls, or smaller gatherings, given a restriction to just four participants per call. The cross-platform design works across iOS and Android phones, accompanying much of what iMessage and FaceTime offer on the iPhone.
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