Houseparty is an app that lets you video chat with up to 8 people – here’s how to use it
Stay social while social distancing.
One of the hottest apps right now is Houseparty, a looser take on video chatting that lets users hang out when they’re not able to be physically around each other. It’s been around for a few years now but skyrocketed to the top of the download charts thanks to the social distancing rules that are currently in place to combat the novel coronavirus.
Sure, you could video call with FaceTime, or Hangouts, or a million other apps, but Houseparty has a couple of twists to the usual video calling formula that helps it stand out from the pack. This includes various games and trivia to help spice up the video call.
Oh, and it’s owned by Epic Games so expect it to be supported for a long time.
To start, download the app (Google Play, iOS, Mac App Store, Google Chrome extension, website) and create your account. From there you can link your address book and Facebook and Snapchat contacts to find the most friends possible.
Once set up, you can start a Houseparty for your friends to find, or dive into an existing room that someone on your list created.
Here’s how to use Houseparty
Okay, once you open the app, you’ll probably be on the friends’ list page. You can swipe up to get back to this page at any time from the video chats.
Here’s what you need to know about this screen:
- Here you’ll see House Parties (group chats), any friends you’ve recently spoken to, and a bunch of reminders to link your account to your contacts, etc.
- The icon to the left of Houseparty is Facemail, which lets you send video messages to offline friends
- The Paperplane icon to the right is for text messages to friends
The video chat page is where it’s all happening though:
- Tap the Smileyface icon to add new friends
- Tap the Plus icon to drag existing friends into chats
- Tap the Dice icon to start a game, like Trivia or a version of Pictionary
- The Three dots icon lets you record Facemail, Share Screen, or Disable Camera
- Tap the Reverse icon to switch between front and back cameras
- Tap the Lock icon to make your room private. This means you have to add people manually, they can’t just drop in uninvited
- The Microphone icon lets you mute/unmute yourself
- Hit the Cross icon when in a call to exit
Houseparty lets you group up to eight friends together in a fairly informal video call. Anyone can drop out at any time, and if there are spots and the room isn’t locked – even friends of your friends could swing by if they wanted. Make them feel welcome, k?
The only other thing to note is that it seems that the only way to delete your account is either from the iOS app, or by contacting their support. Hopefully, this is a minor oversight, and the Android app will get updated to let you easily delete your account if you decide to.
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