You probably know that there’s no shortage of apps to make one-on-one video calls. But those looking for a conference call app for video chats between multiple people have plenty of choices too.
Nobody wants to work with a complicated service or pay money to join a group call. So next time you need to video chat with several people, take a look at these conference call apps.
Appear.in offers simple video conferencing for small meetings. While it’s not quite as easy as it once was, it’s still a quick tool for ad-hoc meetings.
First, you’ll need to visit the site and sign up for an account. Once that’s done, you can create a chatroom with the URL of your choice. Simply send that link to your friends through text, email, or any other means and they can instantly join you (without signing up on their own). There’s no software to download and any modern browser will work fine.
The service allows up to four people in one room. You can “lock” a room if you’re the owner, which requires guests to “knock” when they visit the link. This lets you see who’s trying to join and deny them if you see fit. Appear.in also includes screen sharing and text chat features.
While other tools offer more functionality, Appear.in is a solid choice for quick, simple meetings with no setup. It’s perfect for chatting with folks who aren’t tech-savvy. You can subscribe to upgrade to the Pro plan, but that’s not necessary for most people.
2. Google Duo
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While Google’s Hangouts is a fine conference video call app, we’ve chosen to highlight Duo here because it’s newer, sleeker, and a bit easier to use. You only need to provide your phone number to start using it, instead of signing up for a whole Google account.
Google Duo is a dead-simple app for making group video calls containing up to eight people. It works via apps for Android or iOS, as well as the Duo Web interface. This makes it a good fit if you want to start a group call of people on different types of devices.
If you need power meeting features, it’s best to look elsewhere. But Duo makes video calls simple, which means it’s worth keeping around.
Download: Google Duo for Android | iOS (Free)
True to its name, FreeConference offers powerful video conference calls at no cost. You’ll find more business-oriented features on this service than the others, such as dial-in numbers for audio participants. FreeConference lets you schedule meetings and send out reminders automatically, but you can also start meetings instantly if you don’t need advance notice.
Calls feature screen sharing as well as moderator controls so you can easily mute noisy callers. You’ll also receive summaries of meetings once they’re done and can keep track of your meetings with the mobile calling apps.
The free plan is limited to 400 audio callers (with free international dial-in) and five users in the online meeting. You’ll have to upgrade to a paid plan to raise those numbers and add features like call recording, but you shouldn’t need them for personal use.
One of the world’s most popular messengers also doubles as a group call app. While its video calls only support four participants, the ubiquity of WhatsApp means you probably know plenty of people who use it. There’s value in being able to make a call without having to install a new app or sign up for anything.
Simply start a video call with one contact, then you can bring additional people into the call. This feature only works on the mobile apps, since WhatsApp Web doesn’t support calls. See our guide to WhatsApp video calling for more information.
Download: WhatsApp for Android | iOS (Free)
5. Skype / Skype for Business Basic
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No list of group calling apps could be complete without Skype, if for no other reason than many people you know likely already use it. Using mobile apps for Android or iOS, desktop apps on Windows or Mac, or via Skype’s web app, the service lets you connect with your friends for easy video calls. Screen sharing is supported as well.
A maximum of 25 people can join a group voice chat, while video calls are limited to 10 people. Note that Skype’s fair usage policy holds that a group video call can only last for four hours. You shouldn’t have any problem calling a handful of friends, as long as each has a strong internet connection.
If you need a more business-focused solution, Skype for Business Basic offers more. It includes the fundamentals of the Skype for Business platform, such as Free/Busy statuses and meeting support. For most people, though, regular Skype should be sufficient.
Download: Skype for Android | iOS (Free)
FaceTime was a one-on-one calling app until the release of iOS 12. Now you can use it to make group video calls with up to 32 people. Combined with the fact that FaceTime is preinstalled on all Apple devices, this makes it the best conference call app for Apple users.
Of course, this is only a good choice if you’re looking to call a group of Apple fans. FaceTime is not available for Android or Windows, so anyone without an Apple device will be out of luck.
Though close in name, this tool is different from FreeConference (mentioned earlier). FreeConferenceCall boasts the largest number of participants by far, with support for a staggering 1,000 people. Screen sharing comes standard, and the service offers several integrations and extra features to expand your experience as well.
FreeConferenceCall is the closest free substitute for GoToMeeting on this list. Paid features like annotation, switching the presenter mid-call, screen recording, and even radio streaming all come free. You’ll probably never have 1,000 people in a call, but this tool is absolutely worth a try if you’re serious about your meetings.
Don’t Pay for a Group Conference Call App
These tools offer different feature sets for varying user needs. If you just want to hold a quick family call, it doesn’t get much easier than Appear.in. Skype is great because almost everyone uses it, while FreeConferenceCall and FreeConference, bring business-level features to personal calls for free.
For more like this, have a look at the best free online tools that let you collaborate with your team.
Read the full article: The 7 Best Apps to Make Free Group Conference Calls