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Best FaceTime alternatives for video calls

While Apple's FaceTime popularized video calls on smartphones, there are plenty of other apps that now offer a top-notch experience.

Riodfranz/iStockphoto

An embarrassing bug that compromised the privacy of FaceTime calls on iOS and Mac has surprised many Apple users. The problem occurred when you tried to place a call, but before the call connected, you could hear the audio of the person on the other end. Apple took over a week to respond to the flaw, which has prompted an investigation from the New York attorney general's office

If you're in need of a video call app replacement for FaceTime or simply want to try another option, these are the apps to start with.

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Skype

With Skype (download for iOS or Android), placing an HD video call is free and easy. The app supports up to 24 people on a call. It's perfect for school projects, chats with big families or work conferences.

Simply create an account and add your friends to your contacts list. Most recently, Skype added the ability on mobile and desktop to record, save and share your video calls. Last year, Microsoft upgraded the app to include captions and subtitles.

Skype
Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

Facebook Messenger

Facebook's Messenger app (download for iOS or Android) is a video call platform widely used because of its association to the social media network. Even though it split from Facebook in 2014, Messenger has more than 1 billion users.

You can make a video call from almost anywhere and it's free over Wi-Fi. Messenger has fun Snapchat-style filters, supports group chats and has easy-to-navigate controls. It's quick to navigate from the standalone app or through your Facebook dashboard.

Facebook Messenger
Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

WhatsApp

WhatsApp (download for iOS or Android) landed the No. 1 spot as the world's most downloaded app in 2018. It's a popular alternative to Skype or Messenger and its presence has grown globally.

To crack down on the spread of false information, the app only lets you chat with 10 people and forward a message to five people at a time.

WhatsApp is also working on a fingerprint lock and recently launched picture-in-picture video playback.

Whatsapp
Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

Google Duo

After axing Google Hangouts, the tech giant has revamped Google Duo (download for iOS or Android) for video calls.

Google updated its two-way video chat app with more streamlined tools for easier video and audio recording for when the recipient is offline. Of course, the app has live video and audio chats too.

Google Duo probably isn't the best app for group video chats. The app could add conference calling capabilities soon, however. Users may still want to operate with Skype for now.

Google Duo
Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

Viber

Viber (download for iOS or Android) lets you message, video chat and exchange files for free on an encrypted platform. You can also make audio calls to landlines for a small fee.

While you're messaging, you can send gifs, stickers, emojis and join or create chat rooms centered around your favorite bands or businesses. When you're on a call or chat, you can play games in Viber with your contacts.

Viber
Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

IMO

With the IMO app (download for iOS or Android) you can make free video calls or chat with family and friends for free.

The app has a more simple interface. IMO supports group calls and fast photo and video sharing with hundreds of stickers to spice up the message. WhatsApp might've robbed IMO of most of its popularity, but some users still rely on the app for quality calls.

IMO
Screenshot by Shelby Brown/CNET

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