Being able to make free video calls to distant relatives and friends is one of the biggest advantages of the internet.
Using your iPad to stay in touch in this way is very simple and can be much more convenient than using your computer.
There are now quite a few apps that allow iPads to make video calls, but two of them are particularly popular: FaceTime, which should already be downloaded on your iPad, and Skype.
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Video calls with FaceTime
This piece of software is made by Apple itself and it allows video calls between any two Apple devices, for example an iPad and an iPhone. If the person you want to call doesn’t have an Apple tablet, phone or computer, you won’t be able to use FaceTime.
To make a call with FaceTime, open the App – it should be on your iPad’s home screen – and then type in the relevant phone number or email address.
If you have other people’s details stored in your iPad’s contacts, there should be a FaceTime option next to anyone who Apple recognises as having an iPad or iPhone.
FaceTime allows both video and voice-only calls. If you are both connected to Wi-Fi at home, the calls won’t cost anything. But if you FaceTime someone’s iPhone while they are away from home, say, the call will count against their mobile internet allowance and may cost them money.
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Video calls with Skype
Skype is one of the most popular video-calling programs, and it is available on all sorts of tablets, phones and computers.
To make a Skype call, both of you need to download either Skype software (for computers) or the Skype app (for iPads), both of which are free. You can call from an iPad with Skype to a computer or phone with Skype, or indeed to another iPad or tablet.
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Once you have the app, open it and set up an account. You will then need your friend or relative’s Skype account name to get in touch with them: choose 'Contacts' from the options at the bottom and add new details by tapping the icon that shows a person and a plus sign. Then just tap on the contact’s name and choose the camera icon to make a video call.
Again, if you are making a call at home on your Wi-Fi connection, it won’t cost a penny. Like FaceTime, Skype also offers the option of making audio-only calls. If your internet connection is slow for any reason, the video element might not work very smoothly so this could be an alternative.
For more useful tips to get the best out of your technology, browse our articles.