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If you’re trying to round up your friends or family for a good ol’ video chat sesh, look no further than Snapchat. In addition to sending disappearing photos and videos, you can also use it for group video chat.
Unlike Zoom or Google Hangouts, it doesn’t require setting up meeting rooms, sending links, or entering passwords. Quarantine is stressful enough, amirite?
Not to mention, there’s always that one clueless friend in the group who somehow misses the text message or email with all the login info. (It’s me. That one friend is actually me!)
Oh, and another perk: You also don’t have to worry about weird, creepy Zoom hackers invading your wholesome virtual gathering.
If you already have Snapchat on your phone, all you have to do is open the app and tap a few buttons to start.
You also have the option to invite up to 15 of your (closest) friends and apply those fun filters you’d normally save for sending Snaps to your crushes. If that’s still a thing people do.
For those of you planning your next virtual hangout, here’s how to set up a group call on Snapchat.
Gather your group
When you open Snapchat, all you have to do is swipe to the right and tap on the “New Chat” icon in the upper right-hand corner. Then, choose the specific contacts you want to add to the group chat.
Once your group is finalized, you’ll be brought to the standard chat window you’d normally use to type messages to one another.
When everyone’s ready to start the video chat, tap the camera icon in the right-hand corner.
If your friends or family are like mine and use Snapchat to communicate often, then you might already have a group set up.
If that’s the case, all you need to do is open the app to the Chat section, tap on the specific group, and then select the video icon.
If you create a new group, though, you’ll always be able to access it from the contacts list so you don’t have to type in everyone’s names all over again.
Those using an Apple device also have CallKit integration. That means you can also start a video call via Snapchat through your main call log on your iPhone, iPad, or MacBook without having to open the app.
Navigating the chat windows
I’ll be honest, figuring out how to navigate everything might be a little confusing at first, but it’s easy to get the hang of it after a while.
Once you hit the video call button, a notification appears to let you know it’s ringing. Make sure your face is in the frame, though, because whoever you’re calling can see your video before they answer.
When everyone picks up, each person’s face appears in a tile while yours is displayed at the bottom in a little circular bubble.
Similar to how most video chat apps work, you can also choose to enter with either video or just audio turned on. And, if you change your mind mid-video chat, you can turn either one on or off while you’re on the call.
If there’s someone who can’t make it to the video chat session, you still have access to the chat window while on the call. So, you can type your messages and chat with everyone simultaneously.
But if you want to hear what everyone is saying on the video call, you’ll have to jump back into that video mode by tapping “Join” in the upper right corner of the window.
Forget backgrounds, you can use filters instead
Sure, switching up your virtual background on Zoom is fun. But those face filters are a lot more fun, especially during quarantine, when you’re trying to hide the fact that you haven’t been keeping up with your skincare routine. Or, washing your hair, or really anything for that matter, but I digress.
When you’re in the video chat, tap on your beautiful face at the bottom of the display and all of the filters will appear below it for you to scroll through and try on. When you’ve decided on the one you want, you can tap anywhere on the display to lock it in and use it for the remainder of the call. Or, change it up if you want. The sky is truly the limit here.
But just don’t let it get too out of hand because while they’re fun, trying all the different options can be very distracting.
And your friends might start to hate you for not paying attention to them. I’m not speaking from experience or anything, here.