Competition time! CLOSED
Don’t forget to enter our competition, you could win a Nokia 2.2 smartphone. All you have to do is comment below this article and answer the question:
Which app do you use the most to stay in touch with your friends?
We’ll pick 3 answers at random and a brand spanking new Nokia 2.2 will be winging its way to the winners. Good luck!
Staying in touch with friends and family is easier, cheaper and more fun than ever. Whether you’re a tech newbie or a master of social media, here’s a handful of tips to help you stay connected.
Try out some new messaging apps
First off, let’s check out a few different ways you can send text, picture and video messages.
Owned by Facebook, WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging services in the world - probably because it’s totally free and doesn’t include any ads. You can send texts, video and picture messages and even quick voice messages using the microphone button. You can also share your current location via Google Maps – ideal for meeting up with mates.
Get WhatsApp for iOS or Android
Available on Android and iOS, Viber adds a real fun element to messaging, with built-in stickers and GIFs to add a bit more colour to your messages. You can also send short audio and video clips – perfect for when you just have to share something with your mates. And with complete end-to-end encryption on all your messages, you don’t have to worry about privacy.
Get Viber for iOS or Android.
If you’ve got an iPhone, chances are, you’re probably using it already because Apple pre-installs it on all new phones. But for those of you who tend to stick to regular text messaging, iMessages don’t come out of your text allowance. Instead, they use your data connection a lot like WhatsApp. iMessage also has a few fun elements, like camera effects, animations and Animojis to add extra personality to your messages.
Get to grips with video calling
We’ve been able to video call friends on our mobile phones for over a decade now, but until fairly recently, we’ve had to cope with poor quality video and unreliability. Now, video calling is loads better, you can get crystal clear HD quality with much better reliability. And plenty of options when it comes to apps.
It’s worth noting though, that all of these options need a data connection to work, whether it’s Wi-Fi or mobile data. So if you’re planning on video calling while you’re out and about, it’s a good idea to check your coverage.
So, let’s take a look at three of our favourite video calling apps…
It’s got one job and it does it brilliantly. Google Duo claims to offer the best quality video calling out there, and you know what, they might not be exaggerating – the video quality is excellent.
Duo has to be one of the easiest video calling apps to use. It automatically syncs with your contacts and when you want to call someone, you just tap ‘Search Contacts’ and pick the person you want to call.
Google Duo works across different devices too whether it’s Android or iOS – use your phone, tablet or computer and chat with anyone, anywhere.
Download Google Duo for iOS or Android
FaceTime is video calling for everything Apple. If you’ve got an iPhone, Mac or iPad, you’ll be able to Facetime other Apple users.
To use FaceTime, all you need to do is open the app and log in with your Apple ID (you’ll only need to log in the first time you use it). Then choose a contact to call and off you go.
Remember, you can only FaceTime other Apple users.
Skype is a one-stop-shop when it comes to keeping in touch with friends. It’s probably known mostly for being a video calling service, but it also features text chat, voice calls, and it even syncs with your phone’s regular texts so you can see everything in one place.
Video chats let you add up to 24 of your friends to the same conversation – great for keeping everyone in the loop.
It works on phones, tablets, PCs and Macs, so whatever you use, you’ll be able to get involved.
Get Skype for iOS or Android
Get collaborative with your music
Music streaming services like Apple Music, Spotify and Deezer all let you share your playlists with friends, and it’s a great way to stay connected with people.
Creating a collaborative playlist lets everyone in the group add their own songs. Which is ideal if you’re planning a party, wedding, or just want to know what your friends are listening to.
And remember, if you’re the playlist owner, you can always stop people from being able to add to it if someone starts throwing in James Blunt songs.
Try new things on Social Media
Ok, this is an obvious one these days because it’s absolutely everywhere. Even if we don’t realise it, social media is ingrained in practically every aspect of our lives; entertainment, politics, work, leisure, sport. And it’s also one of the most effective ways of staying in touch with friends.
Share your timeline on Facebook
Facebook timelines let you share all the things you’ve been up to with your friends. It also comes with Facebook Messenger, which works as a messaging service with all of your Facebook contacts, you can create group chats or send private messages.
Stay up to date with what’s trending on Twitter
Twitter is great for staying up to date with what’s going on in the world by checking out what topics are trending. Celeb feeds can get you closer to your favourite stars, and Twitter is a great way of contacting companies without having to wait on the phone for hours.
Share photos and video clips with Instagram
Instagram is a great way to share what you’re up to with photos and movie clips – like a simplified version of Facebook. It also has a feature called Instagram Stories, which lets you share what you’ve been up to over 24 hours. Pictures and videos you post to your Story will disappear after 24 hours – it’s a great way to give your followers a quick peek into your day.
Use smart devices to connect with friends and family
Smart assistants can be a great way to help you stay in touch with friends and family. Google’s Home Hub and Amazon’s Echo Show both come with a 7-inch screen, perfect for chatting while you’re relaxing at home. Even Facebook is getting in on the action with its new Portal device, which as a camera that follows you around the room - so no need to worry about whether you’re in the shot.
Smart assistants are great for adding extra security to your home. Pair them with smart security cameras to see who’s at the door and even control your locks through your smart assistant. Check out some smart ways to secure your home.
Use reminders so you never forget important days
These days, with our hectic lives, it’s easy for things like birthdays and anniversaries to slip your mind. Well, there’s one sure-fire way to make sure you don’t forget those important dates – get organised with your reminders.
Google Calendar is a great tool to use because you can sync it with all your other devices. You can even share your calendar with others, so if there’s a special date that you want to make sure your partner remembers, just share your calendar and they’ve got no excuses.
Schedule a ‘meet in the middle’ day
If you’ve got friends who live abroad, or maybe you’re the one who lives overseas, a ‘meet in the middle’ day can really give you something to look forward to and help you stay connected.
The idea is simple, just pick a location somewhere in the middle and plan to meet up. Whether it’s just for the day, a weekend break, or even a holiday. It’s a great way for you to see new places and it’s always fun to plan a getaway.