If you ask us, Google is more enlightened than Apple. When the search engine giant created Google Duo, a dedicated video conferencing app for Android-powered smartphones, it was broad-minded enough to let iOS users in on the party. It doesn’t matter which smartphone system you favor, if you download Duo, you can talk face-to-face with anyone else who also has the app, regardless of their operating system loyalties.
Apple’s FaceTime equivalent, though older and more established, doesn’t share the same attitude of cross-OS communication. The iPhone’s default video conference connection stands alone among the major video callers as an OS exclusive. It may be a part of the brand’s long-running strategy of creating a sense of prestige around its products, but it looks like an antiquated move in today’s world of agnostic apps. If you don’t want to have to know what brand of smartphone a person uses before making a video call, then this post is for you.
We’ve gathered together the best apps for making a video call between Android and iOS–because we don’t base our mobile decisions on the available apps; we expect them all to be open to us. The designers of the five applications below understand that smartphone users want connections, not impediments.
The Best Apps for Making a Video Call Between Android and iOS
1. Facebook Messenger
1. Facebook Messenger
Facebook doesn’t have a dog in the iOS versus Android fight. The social media giant has started to venture into the hardware realm with its relatively recently released, and quite innovative, Facebook Portal, but it doesn’t seem likely to produce an operating system any time soon. As a result, Messenger will work across the OS divide with ease. That’s great because the 2019 Facebook Messenger update has produced what is arguably the best social video platform currently available on mobile.
A sleeker, more data-light version for iPhone has been promised (to match the version previously supplied for Android) and should make Messenger less of a smartphone burden. Messenger may soon have a desktop companion as well, and, perhaps most importantly, allow streamed media to be shared in-call. Stack those features on top of an already quality group calling product and Messenger is probably the best-performing platform in the Facebook stable.
Slack’s popularity is built on its flexibility, so it’s only natural that it should produce a smartphone app for iOS, Android, and Windows phones–despite its heated Microsoft rivalry, Slack is smart enough to pursue customers regardless of their mobile preferences.
The Slack experience is still built for and performs best in a desktop environment, but there’s no drop off between the iOS and Android versions. It’s still among the most intuitive and diverse ways to manage your workflow and combine all forms of professional communication, from chat to messaging to video calls.
Another Facebook social caller smart enough to avoid any iOS and Android friction, WhatsApp is a universal meeting place that prioritizes who you’re calling and not what technology they’re holding in front of their face. The group video chat limit of four isn’t great when stacked against the competition, but the realities of smartphone screen size make it big enough to conduct a proper video conversation and the ease of the connection is worthwhile.
WhatsApp is appealing because it makes social life easy. Bridging the OS divide is essential to that experience and there’s no more seamless bridge available than WhatsApp, which also allows multimedia picture and video sharing.
Microsoft’s flagship video calling application is for everybody. The recent social media-focused makeover was intended to make the app more fun, but it still delivers as both a professional and personal bridge across the OS divide. There are some tiny differences between the experience on Android versus iOS, such as automated messaging options and the execution of functions like screen sharing, but the continual rollout of new mobile features is consistent across the two leading smartphone systems–a necessity that no doubt galls the maker of Windows phones.
Skype is as accessible and functional as ever, and if you’re making a business connection it is still the default setting for common video conferencing ground–who doesn’t have a free Skype account?
The poster child of user-friendly video conferencing, Zoom’s makers have always been aware of the need to overcome the smartphone Android/iOS divide. While no desktop-first video application can translate its full power across to mobile, Zoom does as good a job as any of not differentiating between smartphone experiences. You can share any application running on your iPhone or Android device across the desktop version, and, provided you download the necessary app, you can also join or host video meetings from your mobile.
As is the case with all the cross-OS applications, the ability to ignore a video caller’s mobile hardware just makes the video experience easier. Users can access and share their phone contacts with one-touch simplicity, and incorporate any personal image, video, or file they store on their mobile into a video meeting.
The OS divide may still be a source of pride for those loyal to one service over the other, but for most smartphone users, any barrier between professional and personal connection is tiresome and archaic–and those behind the best video conferencing apps understand.