Life with MS

MS-TECH 101 Videos and Voice Calling

By Joanne Fortunato

Video chatting seems almost Jetsons-like, but today, it is a reality. All you need is a Wi-Fi connection and a device with a front-facing camera. Of course, the person you are calling needs the same equipment. The amazing thing about video calls is that because they are made on a Wi-Fi network, you can call to and from anywhere in the world as long Wi-Fi is available to both the caller and the recipient. There are two main programs/apps that you need to accomplish this task: FaceTime (Apple only) and Skype (Android and Apple).
General information for Skype and FaceTime

FaceTime video/voice calls can be made to and from any Apple device that is on Wi-Fi. If the device you are using does not have cell service and no phone number is available, such as an iPod or iPad, an email address is used. The recipient needs to activate FaceTime on their device before they can make and receive calls.

There are several ways to make a FaceTime call. From the FaceTime app, type a mobile number or an email address, or tap the “+” and FaceTime will access your contacts and add them to your list. Then, tap the video camera icon to place a video call. To access from your contact list, tap the video camera next to FaceTime. If they do not have an Apple device, this option is not available.

Once a call is made, if the recipient is available and answers, you will connect automatically. There is no voicemail on FaceTime, so if they are not available, or do not answer, you need to press the red end call icon to disconnect the call. If someone calls you on FaceTime, a message on the screen lets you know it is a FaceTime call. Because it is a video call, you may want to consider this before you answer.


You can only video and voice call others who also have a Skype account. You need the Apple or Android app, a free download. You can create an account from the app or the website Unlike FaceTime, Skype can be used on any Apple or Android device or Mac or PC. You need the Skype ID of the person you want to video call.

To navigate Skype on a phone, you need to swipe to see more options. The screen is too small to show all the options at once. You can access more options by pressing the three dots in the corner. On a tablet, all the options are visible at startup. Skype is similar on both platforms. There may be minor differences, but it is basically the same program.

Visit and search for FaceTime to get more information, or visit to learn more about Skype.

Additional Programs

An additional free program worth mentioning is Vonage. With Vonage, you can call any landline or mobile number in the U.S. or Canada for free. You are allotted 3,000 minutes per month. A great feature of Vonage is that your caller ID is your phone number. This means that anytime you are connected through Wi-Fi, you can call landline or mobile for free and your number will appear as the caller ID. This is a great program to use if you are traveling internationally and want to call the U.S. Many similar programs give you a separate number and only work if both caller and receiver have an account in the program.

In addition, if both users have Vonage accounts, you can text and video chat free as well. The added feature of texting is great if there is a time difference between callers. Like other similar programs, you need Wi-Fi to use Vonage. Wi-Fi is usually available in hotels, cafes, airports, and many other locations. Many times the access is free or there is nominal fee. Staying connected is easy and can be free no matter where you are or where you calling or chatting.

Joanne Fortunato, BS, MA is a retired computer technology teacher in Troy, N.Y. She has a master’s degree in education and has been teaching technology to teachers and students for 30 years. She has published several articles and books on educational computer technology, including several articles with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). She was diagnosed with MS in 2006 and uses technology to aid in coping with the many difficulties that MS can present. She is excited to share this information with others that deal with the same and many other issues on a daily basis.