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Understanding The Ins and Outs of Facebook Voice/Video Calling Features

14/03/2018

This article is designed to show you how you can make free calls (either voice or video) through Facebook Messenger across the primary platforms like: iOS, Android and your PC.

Many people do not realize that if they have Facebook Messenger installed, that they have the ability to make voice and video calls for free. While the quality might not be quite as inspiring as you would find with Skype, things are well on their way to getting there.

Making Calls on Messenger from iOS, Android and Computer

If you want to make a voice or video call from your phone, it is required that you have downloaded and installed the Facebook Messenger app from the AppStore or Google Play.

Computer users have two options: either you can sign in to Messenger.com or download a standalone app to use on your PC.

If you are looking for more information on how the process works, here is how you make calls for free with Facebook.

Making Calls on Messenger from iOS, Android and Computer

📱 From The Messenger Application

This procedure does not differ between iOS and Android platforms.

  • Open the Messenger App
  • Tap on the contact you want to call
  • On the top right corner, you will see a video and voice call icon. You can click on these if the icon is blue. If it is grey, the contact is not online or is not running a version of Messenger that permits voice or video chat.

🖥 From A Computer

If you are using Messenger via Messenger.com or with standalone software, calling your contacts is equally as easy. Here are those steps:

  • Either open the software on your computer or visit Messenger.com
  • Use the search bar to locate the contact and start or rejoin an active thread with them
  • Tap the phone or camera icon on the screen to start a voice or video call

👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 Group Calling Technology

Perhaps one of the most unique features of the video calling with Facebook is group video chats. This allows a group chat (upwards of 6 people) to join a video call together. By clicking the camera icon on your screen, all the chat participants will be notified that you would like to video chat.

How To Receive Facebook Calls

As with any conversations, sometimes you are the recipient. Here is how you receive calls on Facebook:

  • You must have the most recent version of the Facebook app or Facebook Messenger on your smart phone or computer. In order to connect to a call, you need to be connected to mobile data or WiFi.
  • For Apple users, your notification will come from the lock screen. You just have to slide it to open the app and answer the call. Android users get notified with a full screen interaction, much like receiving a normal voice call.

Turning Of Messenger Voice/Video Calling

You might find that voice and video calling through Facebook is more trouble than it is worth. If people are constantly trying to connect in this way with you, you can easily deactivate the ability to use this feature through the app.

You do not need to be tech savvy at all, in fact the steps to deactivate this feature are quite simple.

NOTE: You cannot pick and choose who can voice/video call you. You can turn this feature off for everyone or for no one. If you want to stop a specific annoying contact, you have to block this profile.

🖥 From Your Computer

  • Log into Facebook
  • In a deactivated chat, you can see a gear on the bottom right corner. Click on this and then “Turn Off Voice/Video Calls”. If the chat is activated, this gear can be found on the top of the screen.
  • You have options to disable voice/video calls for set periods of time (1 hour or 8 hours) or to turn them off until you turn them back on manually.
    If you have video calls turned off to your account, you will no longer receive notifications.

📱 From The App

  • Open the app
  • Tap on the small picture of you that shows up on the left of the screen.
  • Select “Notifications
  • Then tap “Notifications in Messenger
  • Uncheck Sound

As was said before, you cannot completely disable voice calling but you can at least avoid being constantly notified that it is happening.

How Much Data Do These Calls Use?

You might already know that voice calling and video chats over mobile data can leave you spending great volumes of the data you pay for every month. After some initial tests regarding the consumption rate for these features, here is what we learned:

Consumption for Voice Calls

consumption for Voice Calls on FacebookYou can expect that the average voice call on mobile data will spend roughly 350 to 400 KB for every connected minute. This is actually pretty substantial, considering a 10 minute call will not even exceed a measly 4 MB on average.

To put it in plainer terms, you have roughly 2500 minutes of talk time per available GB of data to use. Just so you stay informed though, WhatsApp uses about half of this data, offering closer to 5000 minutes per GB.

Consumption of Video Calling With Facebook

There are more factors to consider when you are talking about video calling over a mobile network. The quality of the imagery changes with the strength of your connection, offering higher resolution and equally higher consumption rates when your signal is strong.

In our tests, we found that the average expenditure ranged between 4 and 5 MB per connected minute. This is roughly 10 times the estimated amount for just voice calling, but it is better than the average consumption rates for services like Skype.

Hopefully this was able to give you all the information you could want or need about calling contacts through Facebook. If you are still having some trouble, feel free to drop a comment below so I can help you through it.

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