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How Skype works

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How Skype works: You’ve always heard of  Skype , Microsoft’s famous service that allows you to make free calls and video calls over the Internet all over the world at no cost, but you’ve never explored the subject. But now is the right time to clarify all your doubts: a friend of yours is moving abroad and you need an easy-to-use tool that allows you to stay in touch.

Well, if this is indeed the case, what better time to learn  how Skype works ? I would say none, so it is very fortunate that you happened upon the right tutorial at the right time. In this guide, you will find all the information you need: how to download the program on your computer, smartphone and tablet, how to add friends, how to send messages and even how to make calls and video calls.

Are you looking forward to learning more about the topics I mentioned to you? Okay, first of all take a few minutes of free time all to yourself, sit comfortably and let me explain everything in detail, I’m sure that at the end of the reading you will be absolutely satisfied with what you have learned and you will look forward to sharing these information with a friend in need of similar advice. Let it bet? Have a good reading.

Index

Skype requirements

Skype is a popular cross-platform VoiP software and, to work properly, it needs specific technical requirements on Windows and macOS . I indicate them to you below:

Windows

  • Operating system : Windows 7 / 8.1 and Windows 10
  • Processor : at least 1 GHZ
  • RAM : at least 512 MB
  • Other : DirectX v9.0 or later

macOS

  • Operating system : macOS 10.9 or later 
  • Processor:  Intel processor with at least 1 GHz (Core 2 Duo)
  • RAM : at least 1 GB
  • Other : latest version of QuickTime

For Windows 10 , the application downloadable from the Microsoft Store is also available . On the mobile side, Skype is available for  Android and iOS / iPadOS .

Skype pricing

Through Skype it is possible to make free calls to users who use the desktop or mobile platform, while international and national calls to traditional users are subject to a fee. You can take out a monthly subscription or purchase rechargeable Skype Credit. The subscription prices currently available are as follows.

  • Italy subscription : € 7.93 per month with 400 minutes to be used on landlines and mobile numbers.
  • Italy subscription : € 3.66 per month with unlimited minutes to be used on landlines.
  • World subscription : € 15.86 per month with unlimited minutes to be used on landlines and mobile numbers.

As for the purchase of Skype credit , valid for calls all over the world, it is possible to purchase a rechargeable virtual card at a cost of € 5.00, € 10.00 or € 25.00. For more information on rates, visit the official Skype website .

How to use Skype without an account

Skype Web

Before explaining in detail how the classic version of Skype works , I want to point out the possibility of using the service without registration and without installing programs on the PC , acting directly from the browser (provided that you use one of the supported navigation software, i.e. Chrome and Edge ).

By connecting to this web page and clicking on the Create a free meeting button , you can create a chat room to share with anyone who wants to join your video conference. The link to the room will be shown to you within a few seconds: you can then copy it (by clicking on the icon with the two sheets), share it (by clicking on the appropriate button) or start the call (by pressing the appropriate button). It should be noted that the link does not expire and can therefore be used at any time.

Once you have visited the address of the conference, anyone can join by simply clicking on the Join as guest button and setting a username or logging in with a Skype account (optional). It should be noted that guest accounts (those created by putting only the name and without logging on to Skype) expire after 24 hours.

For the rest, there is not much to add, as the interface of this web version of Skype is very intuitive: at the bottom there is the chat field , with the buttons next to it to send attachments, invite contacts, create polls etc. while at the top right there are the buttons to start / join the call (you can choose whether to activate the camera and / or microphone and you will have to allow the site to access these components) and leave the group .

Once the video call has started, you will find in the lower center the buttons to adjust the microphone / camera and hang up, on the left the button to start recording the conversation and on the right the buttons to open the chat , share the screen , send a reaction etc.

Download Skype to your computer

On Windows, Skype can be downloaded as an application for Windows 10 or as a desktop client.

In the first case, start the Microsoft Store by clicking on its icon that you find by searching in the Cortana bar (the one you can see at the bottom left, corresponding to the wording Write here to search ) and then, in the text field located at the top, (near the button with the magnifying glass symbol ) type Skype by clicking on the corresponding result you see on the screen. Run the app installation, pressing the Get button and then start it, by tapping on Start .

If, on the other hand, you want to download the Skype desktop client  (also for Windows computers ) ,  connect to its official website and, on the main page, press the Download Skype for Windows button . Once the download is complete, start the executable file you just obtained by double clicking on it, and then click on Yes , Install and wait for the automatic installation to finish. The Skype client will then start automatically.

Skype installation

Do you have a Mac ? No problem. To install Skype on macOS , connected to the official website of the program, click on the Download Skype for Mac  button and wait for the download of the dmg file.

Skype Mac installation

At the end of the download, start it by double clicking on it and then, in the window you see on the screen, drag the Skype icon to the Applications folder of macOS to finish installing the program. To start the program, click on its icon that you find in the Launchpad .

Download Skype on smartphones and tablets

Skype app installation

Skype can also be used on Android devices and on  iPhone / iPad , by downloading the application from the Play Store and the App Store respectively . In the first case, start the Play Store by tapping on its icon that you find on the main screen of your device (it is the one with the colored play symbol ), then using the search bar at the top, type Skype and press the Search key from the keyboard of the device, in order to identify the card of this application.

Now, to install it, tap on its icon and press the Install and Accept buttons ; wait for the download and automatic installation to be completed and finally start the app by pressing the Open item from the Play Store . Alternatively, tap on the app icon, which will have been added on the main screen of the device.

To install the Skype application on iOS / iPadOS , on the other hand, first start the App Store from the main screen (it is a blue icon with the symbol of a stylized “A” in the center); then tap on the Search button located at the bottom and then on the text field at the top, corresponding to the wording App Store , so as to type Skype in the search engine and tap on the corresponding result.

Now, press the Get button and then Install and, if requested, confirm the installation, using the Touch IDFace ID or typing the password of your iCloud account. To start the Skype application , press the Open button from the App Store or tap the icon that will have been added on the main screen of your device.

How Skype works on a computer

When you start Skype for the first time,  you need to log in, as you need a Microsoft account in order to use this VoIP application.

If you start the application on Windows , you may be prompted to log in with the Microsoft account associated with your computer; alternatively, use the text field in the center to log in or create a Microsoft account. If you need a hand to carry out the registration procedure, you can also read my tutorial dedicated to the subject.

Once logged in, you need to perform audio verification and video verification to test the webcam and microphone. Then you have to accept that the contacts of your Microsoft account are automatically synchronized with Skype and press the OK button , to access the main Skype screen.

The contacts in your Microsoft account will be automatically synchronized and will be visible in the Contacts section on the left. The contact icons are marked with colored dots: the green one indicates that the user is online on Skype and available for conversation, the yellow dot indicates that the user is not at the computer, while the red dot determines that the user is busy and will not receive notifications about conversations.

To set your Skype status click on your photo from the top bar and then on the item relating to the status you want to set (eg Available ) from the menu that opens. In addition there is the Invisible option , which is used to use Skype without showing yourself online to contacts.

The other useful functions of Skype concern the addition of a contact, a procedure necessary for sending messages to a person, which can be carried out by pressing on the Contacts item from the sidebar, then on the wording New contact and finally on Search in the directory of Skype . Then, using the text field located in the left sidebar, type the name of the person you want to add to Skype and, once identified, press the Add button you see on the screen.

Once you have added a person to your contact list, you can interact with them: click on their name and use the Write a message text field to send a text message. You can also send multimedia content and documents, by pressing the button with the photo symbol respectively , corresponding to the chat. Instead, press the button with a microphone symbol to send an audio message to the selected user.

The other interaction tools are the button with the symbol of a business card and the symbol (…) which, respectively, allow you to send the contact of another user and to share positions , video messages , surveys , money , OneDrive links. o Spotify and more.

Optionally, you can also invite a third person to join the conversation you have active with a user. To do this, press the button with the symbol of a little man you see at the top of the chat and then, select, from the drop-down menu, the contact to add by clicking on his name and then pressing the Done button .

Skype also gives the possibility to make calls and video calls over the Internet to users of the platform but not to landline or mobile numbers (for the latter options it is necessary to purchase Skype credit or to subscribe to a subscription, with prices starting from 3.66 € per month).

To start a call or a video call on Skype , click on the user’s name from the Contacts section (on the left), then press the button with the symbol of a video camera (for the video call) or on the button with the handset symbol (for the voice call).

Once the connection is started, there are the buttons with the symbol of a video camera (used to activate and deactivate the video camera and activate the background blur), the one with the symbol of a microphone (used to activate and deactivate the microphone), the symbol …  allows you to display a menu of shortcuts ( Start recording , Enable subtitles , Perform background blur , Disable incoming video , Put the call on hold and Audio and video settings ), the button with the speech bubble allows you to call up the text chat, while the one with the square(bottom left) allows you to create a snapshot.

Skype

In addition, on a computer, it is also possible to use Skype for Web , an online version of the software whose use is very similar to the desktop version.

How Skype works on smartphones and tablets

Skype app

How Skype works on mobile devices is different than the client on Windows and macOS . When the application is downloaded, press the Start button and then the Sign in with the Microsoft account button , then logging in with the account data you previously registered. If you need more explanation about it, read my dedicated tutorial.

Once logged in, customize Skype by choosing the light or dark theme , authorizing the synchronization of contacts and giving the app the permissions related to the camera, microphone and sending notifications.

As for the use of Skype on Android and iOS / iPadOS , you can find its main features in the bar below: the button with a cartoon symbol is the section of the Chat that shows the list of contacts inside of the platform.

To add a person to Skype contacts, press the Contacts button located in the bottom bar, then tap the button with the little man symbol at the top right; in the Search text field type the name of the person to invite. Then complete the operation by pressing the Add button to send the request.

You can also tap on a contact, to view the conversation screen and, via the text field below, send text messages, emojis and stickers (the symbol of a smiley face ), send voice messages (the microphone symbol ) and possibly also attach multimedia content (the s symbol of the camera ). Other sending options are visible by tapping the button with the symbol (+) , such as the ability to send GIFs.

Also through the mobile application it is possible to call (the symbol of a handset ) and video call a contact ( the symbol of the camera ). To perform this operation even faster, press the button with the handset symbol from the bar at the bottom; locate the Skype contact and press one of the two buttons just mentioned.

The options for interaction during a call / video call are visible in the bar at the bottom: there is a button with the microphone symbol , which is used to activate or deactivate the audio, the button with the camera symbol , which is used for activation or deactivation of the camera, the button with the square (bottom left) to take a snapshot and the button (…) to see the buttons to add people , start a recording , send a heart (or other emoji) and share the screen and toggles to turn on off incoming video and subtitles .

Skype app

To hang up the call, press the button with the handset symbol you see below. I remind you that calls made on  Skype are free only if made to users of the platform via the Internet; calls to landlines and mobile numbers, on the other hand, are subject to charges.