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Coronavirus Pandemic - How To Stay In Touch Via The Internet

Article ID = 252
Article Title = Coronavirus Pandemic - How To Stay In Touch Via The Internet
Article Author(s) = Graham Needham (BH)
Article Created On = 18th March 2020
Article Last Updated = 6th May 2020
Article URL = https://www.macstrategy.com/article.php?252

Article Brief Description:
A useful list of resources that will enable you to stay in touch/communicate during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

How To Stay In Touch/Communicate Via The Internet

We've put together a useful list of resources that will enable you to stay in touch/communicate during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We'll try to keep this article updated over time so do bookmark this page and come back.

Consider that both you and the other user will need the same software/service to be able to communicate and you may not both be on the same platform e.g. Apple and Windows. If you both have an Apple product we highly recommend Apple's FaceTime as it is really easy to use. If you both have different platforms or are in a group with mixed equipment we recommend Skype as it's available on multiple platforms and also relatively easy to use. It's generally easier to use these services with a mobile device (mobile smartphone or tablet) because many computers don't have all the necessary hardware (camera/microphone) and generally a mobile device is more secure/easier to keep up-to-date/secure. Some additional points to note:
  • As long as you use Wi-Fi with these services there should be no additional cost even if you video chat for hours on end
  • If you use the service on a mobile device over a mobile network e.g. 3G/4G you will use "data" - the cellular/mobile network provider you have e.g. O2/Vodafone may limit/charge for using data (some cellular/mobile network providers are offering more/unlimited data during this pandemic - check with your provider if you are not sure). Always use Wi-Fi if you can.
  • Generally, the closer you are physically to your Wi-Fi box the better audio/video quality you will get
  • Many mobile smartphones and tablets have a front and rear camera - it's generally easier to use the front camera for video chats
  • Many mobile smartphones and tablets can be used upright or sideways - upright is great if there's just one of you whereas sideways is better for two or more people
  • If you're going to have longs chats, use a (makeshift) stand to place the mobile device on and sit in front of it
  • If you're going to hold your smartphone / tablet remember not to cover the microphone or the camera
  • With video chats, don't sit with a bright light (sunny window / bright lamp) behind you as the camera will automatically adjust and darken your face
  • If someone in your household has the virus do not share mobile devices unless they have been thoroughly cleaned/disinfected
This article has the following sections:
  1. Video / Audio Conferencing
  2. Messaging
  3. Audio Only / VoIP
  4. All-in-one hardware solutions

Video / Audio Conferencing

FaceTime

For people with Apple products only.

FaceTime online resources: NOTE: A free Apple ID is required – this can be the same account as the one you use for iTunes/iCloud/the App Store = Apple's Apple ID web page
NOTE: Group FaceTime calls/video requires iOS 12.1.4 or later, macOS 10.14.3 or later
NOTE: iOS 13.4 and macOS 10.15.4 appear to have introduced an issue in that if you are running these versions you may not be able to make FaceTime audio or video calls to older Apple devices stuck on iOS 9.3.5 or iOS 9.3.6. Whether this is a bug or is intentional remains to be seen…

Skype

Can be used with Windows, macOS, Linux, Apple iPad/iPhone/iPod touch, Android device, Alexa, Xbox. It can also simply be used via a web browser.

Useful Skype online resources: NOTE: A free Microsoft account is required – this can be the same account as the one you use for Windows/Office/Outlook/Hotmail = Microsoft's Account web page
NOTE: Skype are offering Easy video meetings with no sign ups or downloads.

Cisco Webex

Although primarily business orientated, Webex have put together a special offer including upgraded Free plan, first month free when you sign up for a paid monthly plan, or four months free when purchasing an annual plan.

Useful Webex online resources:

Google Meet

Although primarily business/education orientated, Google are offering free accounts for individuals plus extra features for groups, teams and business.

Useful Google Meet online resources:

Google Hangouts

Although primarily business/education orientated, Google are offering extra features such as larger meetings (up to 250 participants per call), live streaming for up to 100,000 viewers per domain, and the ability to record and save meetings to Google Drive for G Suite and G Suite for Education customers.

Useful Google Hangouts online resources:

Zoom

Although primarily business orientated, Zoom have put together special resources for remote workers, business and education. They are also offering advanced capabilities for those with the free license tier.

Useful Zoom online resources: NOTE: In late March/early April Zoom has been under scrutiny for it's security and privacy. Zoom does not offer end-to-end encryption even though they use that term in their marketing + security flaws are also being found regularly! Use at your own risk.
NOTE: See also Every Zoom Security and Privacy Flaw So Far, and What You Can Do to Protect Yourself. (3rd April 2020)
NOTE: See also Over 500,000 Zoom accounts sold on hacker forums, the dark web. (13th April 2020)

Facebook Messenger

Can be used online via a web browser, an Apple iPad/iPhone/iPod touch or an Android device.

Useful Facebook Messenger resources: NOTE: A Facebook account is required - please consider the privacy consequences of using Facebook

WhatsApp

Can be used with Windows, macOS, Apple iPad/iPhone/iPod touch or Android device.

Useful WhatsApp resources: NOTE: WhatsApp is owned by Facebook - please consider the privacy consequences of using a Facebook company

Messaging

Apple iMessage / Messages

For people with Apple products only.

iMessage / Messages online resources: NOTE: A free Apple ID is required – this can be the same account as the one you use for iTunes/iCloud/the App Store = Apple's Apple ID web page

Signal

Can be used with Windows, macOS, Debian-based Linux, Apple iPad/iPhone/iPod touch or Android device (requires iPhone 5s or newer). Also supports video messages.

Signal online resources:

More information coming in a future update…

Audio Only / VoIP

More information coming in a future update…

All-in-one hardware solutions



If you have any other suggestions please do let us know.

Article Keywords: Coronavirus COVID-19 COVID-2019 COVID19 COVID2019 Video Conferencing Options FaceTime Skype VOIP Voice Over IP teleconferencing tele-conferencing

This article is © MacStrategy » a trading name of Burning Helix. Apple, the Apple logo, and Mac are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


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