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How to use Skype to stay in touch with friends and family

01 July 2015 ( 17 March 2020 )

Not sure how to use Skype? Get up to speed with this free video call service and stay in touch with friends and family no matter where they are.

Grandma and granddaughter using laptop
Skype is a great way to stay in touch with family around the world

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to talk to your friends and family face-to-face, even when they’re on the other side of the world? Skype, of course, makes it possible to do just that. Better still, it’s free.

There’s nothing to stop anyone with access to the internet from using Skype except getting over the hurdle of making the first connection. Here’s how:

How to use Skype

You don’t need to be tech savvy to learn how to use Skype. It works on any device that connects to the internet and the basic service is free.

If you’re not sure how to download Skype, just visit the Skype website and click the ‘Download Skype’ button. You’ll be directed to a page that gives you the option to download the version you need for any internet-enabled device, including:

* Mobile phones/smartphones.

* Personal computers (PCs).

* Tablets and laptops.

* Internet-connected TVs.

Installing Skype on your computer or device is easy, you’ll just need to set up an account with a Skype password. Follow the directions offered by Skype, which will take you through each step of the process.

Making the call

All you’ll need to make a Skype video call are a webcam, microphone and speakers. These are generally built in to most computers and devices, but can be purchased separately if needed (and can offer better sound quality than those on your computer). 

To ensure your first Skype call goes off without a hitch, make sure you:

* Connect to Skype and make a test call to check the sound and video quality.

* Confirm the Skype username of the person you’re calling.

* Test your connection by sending a Skype message first.

* Take into account any time differences when you make your Skype calls.

Remember, too, that with Skype, you can talk for as long as you like. Skype-to-Skype video calls are free, though you may have to pay a packet data charge if you’re using a mobile device. 

Later, you may want to purchase Skype credit so you can make direct calls to mobiles and landlines, but many Skype users are just as happy with the free service.

Making that first Skype call can be daunting. But once you see your loved ones on the screen in front of you, you’ll wonder why you ever settled for anything less.

Learn more about how to use Skype with this beginners’ guide video.

How to make video calls on your iPad


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.