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Microsoft Teams for personal use rolls out to the web and desktop with 24-hour calling

Microsoft Teams PC
Microsoft Teams PC (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft Teams for personal use is now available on the web and desktop.
  • The app allows you to chat, call, video call, share files and other information with your friends and family.
  • Teams supports calls of up to 24 hours with up to 300 people.

Microsoft Teams for personal use is now available on desktop and the web. The availability comes at a great time because Teams includes several features that will make it easier to stay in touch with your family and friends over the holidays. Teams for personal use rolled out to iOS and Android devices earlier this year, so it's now available on all major platforms. Teams for personal use is in preview on all platforms at the moment but still includes several useful features and seems to work well.

Teams for personal use allows you to message, call, and video call your friends and family. You can also take part in group calls with up to 300 people. Unlike many other similar apps, Teams calls don't have a short time limit. Teams calls can last up to 24 hours, which should be longer than most conversations people have. In contrast, the free version of Zoom limits calls to 40 minutes. Microsoft specifies that this limit is in place "until further specified," so the company could change it in the future.

Starting today, you can add your personal Microsoft account to Teams on the desktop and the web. Perhaps more importantly, people don't need a Microsoft account to participate in calls. You can create a link for a Teams call and share it with anyone regardless of if they have a Microsoft account.

Microsoft highlights the following features that are now available:

  • Start a personal chat or create a group chat with up to 250 people.
  • Seamlessly sync your existing chats from your phone to your computer and carry-on conversations on the device of your choice.
  • Talk all day for free with friends and family via video or audio calls.
  • Share video meeting invites with anyone, even if they don't have Teams, and see up to 49 of your friends and loved ones in one frame in Gallery view or Together mode.
  • Upload and share photos and videos from your computer in any personal or group chat.

Microsoft also announced new features for the Teams mobile app. On Teams for iOS and Android, a new feature is in preview that allows you to chat with people even if they don't have Teams installed on their phone. People can then reply to your messages via SMS. This feature is currently limited to the U.S. and Canada.

Starting today, you can set Teams to alert people when you leave a location as well. The preview features for iOS and Android are rolling out gradually, so you might not see them for a few weeks.

You can try out the new features by using Teams on the web or by downloading Teams.

Sean Endicott
Sean Endicott

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

34 Comments
  • This is potentially massive. The greatest advantage Zoom has had amongst general public is the free offering. However, many find 40 min limiting. This move massively undercuts it. If you want to have a long video call with family over Christmas, why not use Teams now?
  • Teams is a mess, the UI is all over the place and if they use the same UI for personal teams, then it will just confuse people.
    Myself I think MS have missed the boat, people have Whatsapp anmd Zoom, they will have no need to use Teams.
  • Teams UI is fantastic. I switched from Slack to Teams because of superior UI and capabilities. Certainly much better than Skype, Zoom, GoToMeeting, Facebook Messenger, or anything else or there. Zoom isn't really comparable, because it's only conference, no real chat or file sharing, at least not in the same league as Teams.
  • Agree. I think those that don't use Slack / Teams in business, or have need for the collaboration, don't always get the interface design.
  • While I suspect you are correct in that it will be difficult to move consumers away from WhatsApp I don't think Zoom has the legs in the long run. I am however interested as to what you think is wrong with the teams UI?
  • I rather load up Zoom. Teams is way too bloated and UI is awful.
  • how is the UI awful? it looks like every other chat app. zoom doesn't even really have chat
  • "The greatest advantage Zoom has had amongst general public is the free offering. "
    Apparently the general public wasn't aware Skype was also free and never had a 40 min time limit.
  • I have noticed that calls don't come through on the desktop, though they do on the web. Another issue is, that I am unable to login to Teams when downloading Teams via microsoft.com. But when downloading via teams.live.com (bottom left), I am able to login to the desktop app. Anyone else seeing this?
  • What's the point for personal use while there is Skype?
  • Teams offers more than just calling and chat. While Teams for personal use will definitely handle calling and chat, you can also leverage it for managing your family's calendar and sharing files, having teams/channels for specific groups of people in your family and friends that have persistent chat running, storing private files in a personal safe, managing tasks/to-do, etc. Teams is so much more than just chat and calling. It is also great for those of us who use Teams for work to be able to communicate with family/friends in the same app that we also use for work.
  • You can't use channels on personal. The UI is not the same across Teams. You have 3 different layouts. Teams personal, business and EDU.
  • Yeah so odd the Teams part isn't in Teams for Personal use. You only get Chat, Video and Calendar. Still decent but hobbled.
  • Teams Personal is similar to Skype, except you have a Calendar too. The Video and Messaging part is similar. You also can't communicate between Teams Business and Teams Personal. They're separate at present. Try and send a message to your work 365 account and it says "this person is not on Teams yet".
  • Skype is awful, been going downhill since MS took it over, saying that I now use Discord.
  • Skype is fine. It's just limited to Video calls only really because no one ever used it for chat anyway.
  • The site for personal teams use is https://teams.live.com. The "teams.microsoft.com" site takes you to the corporate login. It might let you log in but won't work. I just tried the live.com site w/ my personal account and it got me right in. Still waiting on a desktop app update to allow both corporate and personal.
  • So is personal teams not accessible via the client? You have to use the web interface.
  • Connect with friends and family
    Teams is available on mobile. You’ll need the most recent version of the mobile app. Visit your app store to update or download, then add a personal account. If you are looking for audio and video calling from your desktop, Skype is the best option. :-{(>
  • Discord is better, open source and will work on most platforms.
  • Hmmmm, I would have to dispute your claim that Discord is better. Skype and Teams both work across almost all platforms out there and offer more features and capabilities than Discord does.
  • Teams is on more platforms. and how is Discord better? Teams has more features. discord is a fancy IRC chat program.
  • My desktop still says I haven't signed up for teams, and I have the personal iOS app...
  • Please Microsoft, help me understand your process. Skype created this market of video calling. Skype even became a verb for a while. You bought it. You let it languish. It never improved. It was buggy, difficult to use and directionless. It was left to rot on the vine and to be surpassed. Then COVID makes Zoom the defacto leader. It's becoming the verb. ("Just Zoom me." "Let's do a zoom." "Zoom him in.") Now you're back to playing catch up with a new product: Teams. You went from innovative leader by YEARS! To playing catchup. again! What in your culture keeps this process repeating over and over and over again? Microsoft's process as I see it:
    Create advanced products; market creating devices or services
    Almost finish the friendly ease of use, new features/improved usability coming soon
    Ignore device/service, no new features or improved functionality ever arrives
    Let others surpass you with their creation (you inspired) that constantly improves
    Cancel device/service because of lack of interest, low market share It's like your competitors have infiltrated the company and are intentionally sabotaging your efforts!
  • If only there was a thumbs up button for your post.
  • There's a heart button.
  • Teams chat and conference is based on Skype and largely built on the same tech. Skype didn't languish so much as go into a cocoon, then emerged as Teams. Unfortunately, Skype is also still around, which makes this confusing. Think of Teams as the spiritual successor to Skype. It's everything from Skype, better, and then a slew of additional new features.
  • Not seeing dashboard in conversations? Not added yet? Or am I going blind?
  • I can login to the app on the web, but when I login to the desktop app it says I'm not signed up for teams.
  • If I login it says I'm not signed up "but my organisation can" :-/
  • This is not really useful until they enable users to be logged in to multiple accounts at the same time (ie both work and personal). I know it's coming but they should have had that ready now.
  • I do wonder if they should have just built this into GroupMe and kept Teams for Enterprise and combined GroupMe and Skype fully (vs just the links) to have a branded consumer version that at least has users.
  • It looks like it's USA only at the moment but if you follow the US link you can login elsewhere: https://www.windowscentral.com/e?link=https%3A%2F%2Fclick.linksynergy.co...
  • Anyone having issues now making calls with the Your Phone app after installing Teams?