Skype is getting a major makeover with hints of Snapchat thrown in

Microsoft has announced (opens in new tab) a major new update for Skype, overhauling the interface with a fresh new look. The new Skype is totally rebuilt from the ground up with a new design and some handy new features to boot.

The new interface is split into tabs that let you quickly move to different parts of the app with a swipe. The whole interface can be customized with colors of your choosing as well. The examples of the redesign show off a bold and colorful interface, but customization presumably means you can tone that down a notch or two if it's not for you.

The new Skype is also taking a bit of a cue from Snapchat with a new feature called Highlights. Living in its own tab next to chats, Highlights lets you post photos and videos of your day for others to see in a dedicated feed. The whole thing sounds similar to Snapchat stories. From Microsoft:

Highlights lets you create a highlight reel of your day with photos and videos, so you can share everyday moments. To post a Highlight, swipe to access your camera, take a photo or video, then post it to your Highlights or send it directly to your contacts or groups. Once you post a Highlight, your friends and family can react to it with emoticons or by jumping into a conversation. The new Skype is your canvas, and now you're free to share in more expressive ways with your closest friends, family and groups.

Another tab, labeled Find, makes it simple to track down add-ins and bots you might want to add to the experience. Given Skype's — and Microsoft's as a whole — emphasis on bots as of late, that's no surprise.

All of Skype's familiar features, of course, remain intact. Calling is still here, and chat remains front and center in its own dedicated tab. The biggest change is simply the new look, which is likely to cause polarizing reactions between those embracing the breath of fresh air and those who much prefer the current design.

Frustratingly, Windows users will have to wait a bit longer to get their hands on this refresh. Microsoft says the redesign is gradually rolling out on Android over the next several weeks, with iPhone to follow. Windows and Mac versions will be released "over the next few months."

Download Skype from the Windows Store (opens in new tab)

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • great if only skype was WORKING on windows phone
  • Works on mine, although I never use it.
  • Then how do you know it works?
  • I do use it and it works fine for me. :) Have been using it for SMS for quite a while now and never have any major issues (falling in and out of cellular can be a headache at times), and use it daily for skype messaging. I for the most part enjoy my experience.
  • I use it too but have some issues. People can't see me and i really want the "delete" conversation
  • The UI needed something as the old skype was better for my parents... The hamburger button to find their contacts is not jiving very well... I don't like the current UI much either but I still use it
  • Do have an issue with Skype changing fron the Number your texting with back to Skype.
    It happens all the time to me. Was just wondering if anyone else was having this issue?
  • yeah same to me. Also have an issue where SMS sync disconnects randomly and then I have to repair my Surface and Lumia 950.
  • I had some issues with the app crashing all of the time until I did a hard reset. Now its been very stable.
  • Because I have a friend who always contacts me on skype.
  • I use subscription for overseas calls.
  • It works for me too. At least for a while. It starts to hang and bug after about 30 min of video calling. The app for windows 10m sucks.
  • Mine always complains that my camera is busy. Arg.
  • How is it not working?
  • After they spent 2 years getting it out of preview, they rebuilt it lol
  • Yeah the Skype team are idiots. plus when will they ever "decide" that GroupMe should be part of the skype UI built in?
  • I'm starting to conclude that UWP is bascially a broken framework.  Nothing works right. But yeah, Skype is especially bad.  The UWP app is almost as broken on the destktop as it is on phone. BTW, I just got an S8, and I can tell you, Skype works great on the device.  I kinda thought maybe Skype just sucked.  But that's not it at all.  It's only Skype on Windows 10 that sucks.
  • How many refreshes before they stick to one? Probably the only thing MS is consistent with is relasing updates for Windows and specially mobile at the very end 😋
  • I think they'll never stick to one. They time is moving on and they have to stay current to current trends :)
  • Do you know Mr Nadella wrote a book entitled, 'Hit Refresh'?XD
  • To be fair, they refreshed their Android and iOS apps back in 2013 as well. WP kept the same design from 2012 to 2016 and then it got refreshed. The problem is, with this refresh, Skype also will need to be iOS-ish, Material Design-ish and Fluent Design-ish. To this day, Skype has NEVER provided all functionalities it could on Windows Phone. I expect we'll still get Fluent Design before this new Snapchat like experience on Windows/Phone.
  • Lel XD
  • nice
  • With no surprise family members gets late.
  • "It will be available first on Android devices, releasing gradually over the coming weeks, followed by the new version for iPhone. Versions for Windows and Mac will be released over the next few months." Uhm?
  • Yikes
  • I guess they will let the ios and android users work out all the bugs so when we get it, it will be nice and bug-free. Haha
  • we have Discord which is better in everyway than skype
  • While I love Discord for chat and voice. It does not have video chat as of yet.
  • I enjoy using Discord for gaming. Not as a chat/video sharing app.
  • I have a feeling that it's easier and more convenient to build apps for Android and IOS. All their other apps, Microsoft Garage, Sway were Android/IOS first, Microsoft Garage is probably Android only. This tells you something, I even believe the devs see it the same way as well. Feels sad.
  • I get if they don't release the update for Windows 10 Mobile, but even the PC app will be getting the update "in the coming months"?!! SERIOUSLY, MICROSOFT? So they don't care about the 500 million (~450 mil) PC users?! iOS and Android first in this case doesn't make sense.
    Then again, if they can update the UWP for PC, it can be done for Mobile too.
    Wonder if the delay is due to Fluent Design being still in the works. It's probable. But then that'll mean that it looks different on different platforms. They'll have to somehow imitate the fluent for iOS and Android too.
    The new update does look cool though! A good refresh and its also nice to see Surface devices being shown in the video. 😁
  • They may add Remix 3D support, then it would be worth the wait.
  • PC users wanting to use Skype are using Skype and are likely OK with it. What they are trying to attract is 'young' mobile users who are using every messaging app under the sun except Skype. Guess what platforms those 'young' mobile users who are using every messaging app under the sun except Skype are using. You have two guesses. Hint, not Windows Mobile.
  • I got rid of Skype. Hated it. Didn't work well with texting. Wouldn't let me delete texts. VOIP calls had bad quality, etc. etc.
  • Don't miss it.
  • VOIP calls are great for me. It could be poor connection or an old update?
  • Works great with texting. Maybe you quit too early?
    You can delete texts and text threads on your phone, not on PC.
  • Are you sure you can delete texts? The last time I used it the only option was to "hide" conversations. Actually, what happened is originally you could only hide conversations, then there was the option to delete messages, and then that was removed, or so I thought. That said I do remember the option being variable. Some conversations you could delete, others you could only hide, which made no sense. But I haven't used it in a while because I thought the UI was overly complicated for texting.
  • Yeah, I get SMS/text messages from my home alarm, each from a new number, and I delete them all the time. But you can only delete texts from Skype on your phone; Skype on PC only has hide.
  • I only use the Skype app for texts, and I just checked from my phone. From inside a conversation, long pressing a message has an option to "Delete SMS Message."  From the conversation list, a long press on the contact (or contacts) has an option to "Delete SMS Conversation."
  • But they keep coming back forever on the PC even after deleting on the phone. I chose the 30 day setting; I would like NEVER. I get text, read it, delete it. How long do these texts last. Forever? To me, deleting it should mean it's gone.
  • Yes, the syncing isn't perfect. Deleted messages sometimes take a while before they disappear from Skype on PC. I have several that were deleted on phone but where nothing happened on PC (ever). But it sounds like you have this issue for all of them?
  • Yep, Facetime and Facebook video calling are infinitely better than the current version of Skype, which is a shame, because it used to be really good.
  • Lies. Skype is THE only app AFAIK that let's you delete messages for both people chatting and it still has the best sound quality on the market.
  • Discord
  • do you smell the fresh air ;) 
  • I bet this launches alongside all of the Win10 on ARM devices to show off the Ultra Portable PCs and what theyre capable of from a communications standpoint. By then all of your Android and iOS friends will be able to download it if they dont already have Skype and Windows 10 will have a truly universal messaging platform available (major plus for their phones next year) Sjype has desparately needed a major update for sometime, and now i guess we know why... they were working on one
  • 🔜
  • Microsoft now makes apps with xamarin, test them with Android and iOS then later port it to Windows Bcos of their low consumer user base, while Microsoft is busy making money building for other platforms first as their primary target Windows faithfuls are getting no love. Microsoft is simply saying if u can't use our platform and wait for apps to be built and port over switch to Android or iOS, nice one Microsoft
  • Is there really money to be had in putting free, non ad-supported apps on the other platforms?
  • Data
  • I would argue that MS doesn't use data in the same way as Google. MS seems to be using the data/telemetry it gets on things like Skype to improve Skype. Google, transparantly uses data for ad purposes, to sell, and use on their other properties. This can be debated, but I think that generalizes it.  Driving a following in Skype is beneficial in that it exposes MSs other offerrings O365 both home and business particularly. 
  • Its stupid thad Microsoft just release Skype for Windows "months" after other platforms....
  • ? I've had Skype for Windows for some time. The desktop version longer than that. 
  • (eyeroll)  If I *just* want to video call, why are they burying that functionality under mounds of crud I won't use? And the spam issue on Skype (the adult-site spam has been a problem forever) has not been resolved.  It needs to be more locked down and secure.
  • Maybe they will release a new, sleek "Skype Mini" for only calls...?
  • I am all for refreshes, BUT there better be a Dark Mode option. If I have to stare at a piercing White background while trying to check out all those new shiny features, then I probably won't even bother.
    Also, unless they let people change their usernames, the refresh is dead in the water. Most people have used Skype in the past and don't want to start a new contact list just to make such a simple change. This push is almost more "getting older users back" than it even is about finding a new customer base.
  • Dark mode exists today on UWP version for PC and W10M. Also a pick to use the Windows default.
  • both the curret and this beta preview dont have dark mode outside of windows
  • This^, so this^!
    I can't live without dark mode on phone apps anymore, even many PC apps. Not happening. I code in a dark mode text editor, it's just so damn comfortable and easy on the eyes.
  • The new Skype for Windows 10 is really nice. Strangely people do not use them as often. I have heard people asking WhatsApp to make a full featured app (not a wrapper) for PC. My only suggestion to them is "USE SKYPE".
  • I don't use the new one just because it doesn't recognize my Logitech headphone on my laptop 😔
  • It (kinda) did. WhatsApp is in the Windows Store.
  • I just want them to put in Skype SMS Relay in the Android app like they said they would over half a year ago
  • Works great on my 950 xl.. I'm just disappointed we have to wait last for this update!
  • Not surprising that Windows users will have to wait. App usage is much higher on iOS and Android than Windows mobile and desktop. I hope that when it is released on Windows that it has the new fluent design language applied to it.
  • This new design is PERFECT following the 2017 design trends!!! Just WOW
  • Minus the horrendous gradients which better be able to be turned off.
  • I think adding more social networking functionality to Skype is a good idea. It is better than trying to establish a brand new social networking application and Skype has a built in user base.     
  • I hope the new Windows Skype looks the Surface Hub version.
  • Still not using MDL 2.0 iconography. This is the second significant "redesign" that ignores global Microsoft design methodology. I think Skype needs a front office shakeup and some oversight from the Office team.
  • No Fluent Design System? Skype exempt from that?
  • My biggest issue with Skype is, it only allows for VOIP calls. If you can use it to replace MS messaging to receive texts from cellular calls, there should be an option to also make cellular call from within the app. I get that it's supposed to be messaging and VOIP, but having this option would be nice. If I'm not mistaken, making Skype the default messenger app was supposed to be the goal at some point, right? Why not add this feature? It's the only reason that I don't use it as my default messaging app. Not being able to make cellular calls natively through the app is a no go for me.
  • Also don't like the new look as much or the same as i don't like the look on WP maybe there is something big planned for uwp and mac that the "mobile os's" won't get like fluent design that well see on Windows "mobile"
  • What will happen with the Skype UWP? They just redesigned the whole app for Windows Platform. Now they'll change it all over again?
  • What is the version number of these latest update...??? I do not see on lumia 640 ,build 15215
  • I hope that thing stays on iOS
  • Crap organization favouring other platform than its own 😒
  • Don't they always say "totally new, built from the ground up" or something similar?"
  • Any inside news on SMS relay between windows 10 and Android?
  • You mean androidPhoneGuy...
  • Unfortunately yes. Had to switch
  • I thought the skype we use now itself was a new design. Funny. Haha.
  • Typical.  So very typical. Giving us the finger once again.  But I'll bet they STILL don't support the full feature set that exists in the Messaging app.  I tried to use it as my default SMS client, but it so badly sucked at that, I had to go back to Messaging.
  • Wait... People still use Skype? Lol
  • Hundreds of Millions, yes
  • Donald Trump?
  • Apparently he now has an iphone with just one app - Twitter.... Lol.
  • Cool cool cool!
  • Why is it on android first and not Windows and they just refreshed it why another refresh
  • Yup that is how skype rolls. Truth told though no one liked the Wm app either so they are just searching for their ui
  • That's sad Oh well...glad ill be switching over to android next week...i love my Idol 4s with Windows tho but Microsoft continues to let me down
  • i am seriously gonna throw a ***** fit if this not coming to my lumia 950.
  • Lol. Of course it is. It's just skype being skype making like 100 different apps and calling them new.
  • Over the next few months for Windows... Not interested if the Skype team is treating Windows as third class. I will stick with Hangouts.
  • Skype is a joke at 8.5 billion dollars. With this new reboot from Skype, Microsoft tries to get teenagers to use Skype again as they see their market share is seriously crashing down. But the TRUTH is IT'S TOO LATE!!!! because since they bought Skype in 2011 they never took Skype seriously. Neither on Windows and windows phone. Now Microsoft is just trying to catch up with the competition. Today Teenagers have great ways to communicate and i don't think they'll use Skype anytime soon. Whatsapp, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat are on all smartphone tennagers and they're just enough. Each app has his utility.  The real question is why would I need to install Skype today? Maybe for group video call on a 5 inch screen?! I don't see any other reason to install it. And i don't think group video call is widely used but that's my opinion. This is kind of sad because they will fail. Just remember how many times they started over from scratch and how successfull they were. Never. Skype 7  (buggy), Skype for W8 (no features), skype for w10  (you still can't delete in 2017 a conversation and use the sharing option can't show Skype), skype w10m (slow and buggy as hell), skype WP silverlight (crap in all ways you can think). I cant 'count how many bugs i had with this software. If you want a list ask me, it will be easy i tried to use Skype for many years, and i don't understand why most of directors of Skype have not been fired.   
  • Guys i forgot Skype Qik, their first attempt to take on Snapchat but it miserably failed. And can someone tell me why Microsoft keeps Groupme alive??? And why they not merge the features with Skype? But we have to remember that Microsoft has Skype for businness/Enterprise to simplify all of this.
  • Well Skype brought GroupMe then Microsoft brought Skype. GroupMe was supposed to replace the now defunct rooms (which used messenger as it's back end). However since many people have multiple messaging apps already, groupme has a uphill struggle to gain market share. Personally i think GroupMe would have had a larger market share if Microsoft focused on windows phone.
  • Too. Many. Messaging. Apps. (and they're all trying to do the same exact thing).
  • Microsoft is in the business of selling services. So, Skype is not allowed to be too good for small teams aka families, while Skype4B has its own set of problems. WhatsApp and Hangout does, too, so there you go. One could argue, in spite of lacking effort and innovation, if buying Skype was only to get the name.
  • God, I hope our version isn't as white as this one. Blinding!
  • Skype works really well for me on PC (UWP) and W10M (UWP) - I'm not sure I want it to change too much, I don't think the world needs another Snapchat. Also not sure the brand can really transition to this kind of product - They are missing out by not using the GroupMe team, maybe they could rebrand that and build something new. Skype is not really known well for being a snapchat like product and I don't think MS can successfully change that perception whilst keeping the name
  • Is Microsoft still planning to abandon the desktop app and move to their cloud-based Skype service?