Getting ready to Skype


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Getting ready to Skype

A man relaxing at home using his tablet to Skype his friends

What's coming up?

In this activity, we're going to take a look at some Skype basics: what it is; what you need to make a call; who you can call and how much it costs.

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What is Skype?

Skype is a popular program for making voice and video calls across the internet. You can get it on desktop computers, laptops, mobile phones and tablets.

It comes already installed on many Windows computers.

To start using Skype, you may need to first download Skype to your device and then create an account. We'll look at that next.

The Skype logo, which looks like a large white S inside an elongated blue bubble
A smartphone showing the Skype app ready to install

How to install Skype on a smart device

If you are using a mobile phone or tablet, you can go to the app store for your device, then and search for and install the Skype app.

If you’re not sure how to find and install apps, our All about apps courses can show you how.

An icon of a padlock

eSafety Tip

When installing any apps on your mobile phone or tablet, be sure to only use the official app stores. For Apple iPhones or iPads, only download from the Apple App Store. For Android phones and tablets, be sure to download only from Google Play. Downloading apps for smart devices from anywhere other than the official stores is not safe and not recommended.

A Mac laptop displaying the 'Get Skype for Mac' button

How to install Skype on a computer

Your computer may already have Skype installed. If it doesn’t, getting it is easy and free.

Visit the website and then:

  • click on Downloads near the top of the screen
  • then, click on the blue button that says Get Skype for Windows or Get Skype for Mac, depending on which type of computer you are using.

You can then follow the prompts to complete the installation. Ask a friend or family member to help you if you don't feel confident to do this yourself.

Registering for Skype

Once you’ve installed Skype on your device, you can follow the steps to create an account.

You’ll need to provide:

  • a Skype name, to help others find you on Skype
  • an email address or phone number that Skype will use to contact you, but which others on Skype won’t be able to see
  • a secure password.

You’ll need to log in with your Skype name and password each time you want to use Skype.

The Create a password panel displaying a series of stars indicating a strong and secure password
An icon of a padlock

eSafety Tip

Skype is owned by Microsoft, so if you created a Microsoft Account when you first set up your Windows computer, you can use it to log in to Skype.

Who can I call on Skype?

You can use Skype to make video calls with other people who have Skype. You can't make a Skype call to somebody using WhatsApp, for example.

Skype works across different devices. For example, you can call someone from a laptop computer, and the person you're calling could be using a mobile phone. As long as you're both using Skype, it will work.

Two friends video chatting on their smartphones using Skype
eSafety tips icon

eSafety Tip

It's best not to accept or send Skype requests to people you don't know.

A graphic showing a smartphone using Wi-Fi to make a video call to another person.

How much does it cost?

Skype uses the internet to make video calls, and you can use your home Wi-Fi connection to talk for as long as you like without paying more than your normal monthly home data fee.

Making a Skype video call from your smartphone may use some of your mobile data, and you may incur charges if you use more than your monthly allowance. To avoid this, you should use a secure Wi-Fi internet connection for any video calls.

Other types of Skype calls

You can use Skype to call regular landline and mobile phone numbers, but there is a charge for this.

Skype also doesn’t allow you to make some types of calls. With Skype, you can’t make calls to:

  • emergency numbers
  • toll-free numbers
The Skype logo and red warnings against 000 and 1300 telephone numbers, as Skype will not permit you to call these using the app

Let's talk

Could I have a video chat on Skype from my computer with somebody using a mobile phone?

Yes, as long as they're both using Skype.

Click to flip

That's right.

Computers can talk to mobiles if they're both using the Skype video calling app.

No, you can't.

Click to flip

Sorry, that's not right.

You can video chat with someone using a different device to you, as long as both devices are using Skype.

A lady using her laptop to Skype with the family


Well done, you've reached the end of the Getting ready for Skype activity.

Like most video calling apps, you don’t need to pay call charges to use Skype. You can talk to other Skype users using you home internet connection, and you can even talk to several people at once. Skype only incurs call charges if you want to use it to speak to somebody on a landline or mobile phone, so always make sure that the person you wish to call is another Skype user.

The next activity, Making a contacts list, we will look at creating a list of people to call in Skype.