Tips for setting up group video calls

  • Try to find somewhere quiet and well lit just as you would with any gathering
  • It’s best to only use one device per room to limit the number of people using up your internet connection and avoid getting nasty squeaky feedback noises
  • Try to get the quickest internet speeds as possible – try sitting with your phone in the same room as the wifi router, plug an ethernet cable into your laptop or use a desktop computer
  • Calls will use data so it’s better to use your house WiFi rather than your phone’s data for calls
  • Consider plugging in your phone or laptop charger whilst on the call so the device doesn’t go flat half way through the call
  • Try to position your device at the same level as your face so your friends are not forced to look up your nose

Good software to use

Jitsi Meet is very easy to use for groups of up to 50 and is completely free. You can start a call, optionally set a password then share a link with others to join the call.

Zoom is very popular for group video calls with excellent connection and good group calling functionality.

  • An app with a very good connection quality that allows up to 100 people to join a call for free
  • Free accounts are allowed 45 minute calls but sometimes long calls are allowed to go on longer and there’s nothing to stop you starting a new call when you hit your limit
  • Zoom video calls are easier to manage through the desktop application but you can use Zoom on Android and iOS devices too

Houseparty: up to 8 people can join a video call. This is very easy to use but as it’s a social networking app you’ll need to “lock your room” once everyone’s joined the call to stop other friends wandering in and out, unless that’s what you want of course.

Some video calling apps restrict the number of participants and some perform better than others, so experiment to see what works best for you.

Another option would be to use a chat app for your video calls. This can be a better option for some as you can keep text-chatting when you’re not on video together. Here are some good options:

  • Skype – up to 50 people can join a video call. The new Meet Now feature lets people join in without creating an account.
  • Facebook Messenger: up to 50 people can join a video call
  • Google Duo: easy to use on smartphone for up to 12 people
  • WhatsApp: up to 4 people can join a video call