5 best video apps for staying in touch with loved ones

While we’re all being told to #StayHome as much as possible, we’re lucky enough to live in a time where alone doesn’t REALLY mean alone at all.

In fact, we’re more connected than ever before – with friends and family just a few taps away!

How can video chatting help you cope with studying from home?

Sure, you might not talk to many people on a ‘normal’ day, but in this strange new normal we’re all adjusting to, communication is one of the best tools we have. Just one little video chat per day can:

  • remind you that we’re not alone – we’re all in this together!
  • give you the chance to swap study tips with your classmates
  • boost your mood on the more difficult days
  • help you use this time well to reconnect with old friends

With so many ways to call, video chat and even host a virtual party, it can be a little overwhelming to know where to start – but we’ve listed a few of our favourite apps to help you stay connected.

From simple two-way video calls to gaming and party apps, here are five ways to stay in touch while studying at home:


The original way to stay in touch via video call, Skype has been the first-choice app for solo travellers, uni students and long-distance relationships for years – so you know it’s a service you can trust. As well as allowing up to 50 people to participate at the same time (that’s one big family!), it also has a handy subtitle feature – so it’s great for speaking to older family members who may be hard of hearing.

Available for: IOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Web and Xbox

Participants: up to 50

Cost: free


Originally designed as a professional conference calling app, Zoom has become a popular way to contact friends and family in a more informal setting – especially given the current circumstances. From hosting family quiz nights to streaming live exercise classes, Zoom is a versatile favourite and a great way to stay connected – don’t let the physical distance stop you!

Available for: IOS, Android, Windows, Mac via web

Participants: up to 100

Cost: free

WhatsApp Video

Student at desk preparing for university interview

One of the most popular messaging apps for iPhone and Android, WhatsApp has another benefit – video calling! Great for a one-to-one catch up with your best friend and up to three others, you can also leave voice notes, video messages, texts, gifs and more with this versatile and easy-to-use platform.

Available for: IOS, Android, Windows, Mac via web

Participants: up to 4

Cost: free


If there’s one software that’s gone ‘viral’ since social distancing came into play, it’s HouseParty – the app that lets you jump between group calls with friends (and their friends!) emulating the vibe of a real house party. You can chat to new people, play games and do quizzes. In fact, you could jump from group to group all night long and never get bored – perfect for the extrovert who’s itching to socialise!

Available for: IOS, Android, Windows, Mac via web

Participants: up to 8

Cost: free

Marco Polo

The video chat app with a twist, Marco Polo lets you leave a video message to your friends – which they can watch and respond to at their own leisure. Can’t reply with a video message? You can text or snap a quick photo instead, and all responses are saved so you can re-visit them later on. It’s a great option for those who struggle to find a time to suit everyone, or who would prefer to avoid the pressure of a pre-arranged video call.

Available for: IOS, Android, Windows, Mac via web

Participants: up to 8

Cost: free

Netflix Party

Missing those nights spent binge-watching Netflix with your mates? Thankfully, with Netflix Party, you can recreate them without leaving your sofa – simply connect with friends via the app, then you can watch films and TV at the same time. There’s even a chat option, so you can gasp, swoon or ask questions just as you would in real life!

Available for: Chrome on a desktop or laptop computer

Participants: up to 500,000

Cost: free

You may also like to read 7 study strategies for learning from home or how to stay active.

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Alice Dunbar

Hi, I'm Alice and I'm one of the Senior Content Editors at INTO. I love how studying abroad brings different cultures and nationalities together, helping make the world a more exciting and compassionate place. In my spare time, I enjoy crafts, blogging, cooking, documentaries and singing along to musicals – loudly!

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