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A Beginner’s Guide on How to Use Skype

The world is video chatting more than ever before, and seniors aren't an exception. Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Skype are just a few of the high-tech platforms we've used for work meetings, family time, and catching up with friends. Though there are many platforms to choose from, we have found Skype to be easy and intuitive –– perfect for seniors who are learning the ins and outs of video chatting. This guide will take you through how to use Skype step by step. You'll be video chatting with those sweet grandbabies or your friends in no time!

Table of Contents

How to Download Skype
Creating an Account
How to Do a Test Call
How to Add Contacts
How to Make a Skype Video or Voice Call
How to Send an Instant Message
Can I use Skype Online without Downloading the App?

How to Download Skype

If you'd like to download the Skype app on your computer or smartphone, there are a few quick steps to follow. We'll walk you through how to download Skype on a Computer, iPhone or iPad, and Android phone below. Then, we'll show you how to create a Skype account.

FYI: Since Microsoft owns Skype, if you have a Microsoft account already, you should be able to use that to sign in to Skype. If you don't have one, you can create a Skype account in a few quick steps, which we'll cover later.

How to Download Skype on a Computer

Keep in mind that this process will vary slightly depending on if you have an Apple (Mac) or Microsoft computer, but the steps are pretty much the same. Below we'll cover downloading the app on a Mac. If you have a Microsoft computer, you can follow the same steps; just replace the word “Mac” with “Windows” when it appears in a step.

Step 1. Open your preferred web browser and visit Skype.com.

Navigate to Skype.com

Navigate to Skype.com

Step 2. Click “Downloads” at the top of the page.

Click

Click “download” from the Skype Home Screen

Step 3. Click on the blue “Get Skype for Mac” button.

Get Skype on your computer

Get Skype on your computer

Step 4. After you click the blue button, the Skype installer will automatically download it to your computer.
Step 5. Once it is finished downloading, double click on it in the left corner of your computer.

Skype - Double Click on

Skype – Double Click on “Download”

Step 6. This is the one step that differs for Mac and Microsoft computers. If you have a Mac, ignore this step and skip to step seven. If you have a Microsoft computer, an installation window like the one below will pop up automatically. Click “Install.” Then, skip ahead to step nine (steps seven and eight only apply to Macs).

Step 7. Next, drag and drop the Skype icon into the Applications folder.

Move Skype to the Applications folder

Move Skype to the Applications folder

Step 8. You should see the blue Skype icon in your Applications folder. Double click it to open Skype.

Skype in the Applications folder

Skype in the Applications folder

Step 9. Once the Skype app is open, click “Let's go.”

Skype - Let's go!

Skype – Let’s go!

Step 10. You can sign in with an existing Microsoft account. If you don't have one, we'll show you how to create an account a little later.

Sign into Skype from your desktop

Sign into Skype from your desktop

How to Download Skype on an iPhone or iPad

Step 1. Tap the App Store icon on your iPad home screen.

Apple App Store icon

Apple App Store icon

Step 2. Search “Skype” and tap “Get.”

Search Skype on the Apple Store

Search Skype on the Apple Store

Step 3. After it has finished downloading, tap “Open.”

Skype - Tap

Skype – Tap “Get” in the Apple Store

Step 4. Once the app is open, tap “Let's go.”

Skype - Tap

Skype – Tap “Let’s go” on your iPhone

Step 5. You'll need to sign in with your existing Microsoft account if you have one.

Sign in to Skype on an iPhone

Sign in to Skype on an iPhone

How to Download Skype on an Android

Step 1. Tap the Google Play Store icon on your home screen.

Google Play icon

Google Play icon

Step 2. Search “Skype” in the search bar.

Search for Skype on Google Play

Search for Skype on Google Play

Step 3. Next, tap “Install.”

Installing Skype in the Google Play Store

Installing Skype in the Google Play Store

Step 4. Once it's done installing, open the app by navigating back to your home screen and tapping the Skype icon.

The Skype icon

The Skype icon

Step 5. Next, you'll want to sign in with your Microsoft account. If you don't have a Microsoft account, keep on reading.

Android Skype sign in

Android Skype sign in

How to Create a Microsoft Account to Use Skype

If you don't have a Microsoft account, you can set one up to sign in to Skype. Whether you're using your desktop computer, tablet, or smartphone, creating a Skype account is pretty much the same process on any device. The only difference is in the first two steps; we will explain when we get there.

Step 1. On your computer, open your preferred web browser and visit Skype.com.

Navigate to Skype.com

Navigate to Skype.com

Or, if you're using a mobile device, tap the Skype app icon on your mobile device.

The Skype icon

The Skype icon

Step 2. On your computer, click “Sign In.” On the drop-down menu, click “New to Skype? Sign up.”

Sign in or sign up for Skype from the homepage

Sign in or sign up for Skype from the homepage

If you're using a mobile device, tap “Let's go” on the app home screen. Next, tap “Sign in or create.” Then, click “Create one!”

Signing up for Skype in the app

Signing up for Skype in the app

Beginning with step three, the desktop and mobile sign up is essentially the same. So, no matter what device you're using to create your Skype account, you can use the following directions.

Step 3. You can use your phone number or email address to set up a Skype account. For this example, we have used our email address. After you're finished entering one or the other, click or tap “Next.”

Create an account on the Skype app

Create an account on the Skype app

Step 4. You may be asked to verify your phone number or email address by entering a verification number. Skype will send the number directly to your cell phone or email address (whichever you provided). You'll need to enter the number sent to you on the screen below. Before clicking or tapping “Next,” uncheck the blue box to avoid unwanted emails from Microsoft.

Skype - Verify your email address with a code

Skype – Verify your email address with a code

Step 5. Choose a secure password for your Skype account. Remember to write it down for safekeeping! Click or tap “Next.”

Skype - Create a secure password

Skype – Create a secure password

Step 6. Then, you'll be asked to enter your first and last name. Others will be able to view this name on your Skype account. If you're like us and prefer to keep personal information private, you can opt for a nickname or just use an initial for the last name. For example, “First name: John Last name: S.” Then, click or tap “Next.”

Enter the name you'd like others to see on Skype

Enter the name you’d like others to see on Skype

Step 7. Finally, you'll need to go through security verification. It sounds a bit intimidating, but all you have to do is complete the tasks you are prompted to complete. Skype is making sure you're a real human and not a robot creating a fake account. Tap or click “Next” once you've finished the security question.

Skype - Verify that you're not a robot

Skype – Verify that you’re not a robot

Step 8. Now that you have your very own Skype account, you can personalize it by adding a photo of your smiling face. Or, maybe, you'd prefer to use a photo of your furry friend for your profile picture. That's allowed too! If you'd like to skip this option altogether, select “Skip” in the top right corner.

Skype - Choose your profile picture or skip it

Skype – Choose your profile picture or skip it

Step 9. Next, you'll want to grant Skype permission to access your camera and microphone so your friends and family can see and hear you. These permission dialogue boxes will pop up automatically when you set up your account. After you have clicked “Allow,” you're all ready to go!

Allow Skype to use your microphone

Allow Skype to use your microphone

Allow Skype to use your camera

Allow Skype to use your camera

How to Do a Test Call on Skype

Before you make a Skype call, you can do a test call to make sure your camera, microphone, and speakers are working correctly. This can be done on your desktop.

Step 1. The first step is to log in to your Skype account by visiting Skype.com and signing in. Click “Sign In” then click “Use Skype Online.” Go ahead and enter your phone number or email address and password to get signed in.

Sign in or sign up for Skype from the homepage

Sign in or sign up for Skype from the homepage

Step 2. Once you're signed in, you'll see your name on the left top corner of the screen. To the right of your name, there are three small gray dots. Click those.

Skype - The three dots to access settings

Skype – The three dots to access settings

Step 3. Next, click “Settings.”

Skype - Click on

Skype – Click on “Settings”

Step 4. Click “Audio & Video.” Then click “Make a free test call.” You'll be prompted by an audio recording to test out Skype in a few simple steps. If something does not go correctly with your test call, for example, if you cannot record or hear a message, Skype will walk you through some troubleshooting steps.

Skype - Make a free test call

Skype – Make a free test call

How to Add Contacts on Skype

To add contacts to your Skype account, you'll want to make sure you know their Skype Name, email address, or phone number. You can search for them by first and last name, but that can be difficult if they have a common name. It may bring up many results, and you don't want to add the wrong person. Yikes! So, we recommend searching for your friends and family members by their phone number or email address.

Step 1. Sign in to your Skype account via Skype.com, the app on your laptop, or the app on your mobile device. The steps are the same on all three.
Step 2. Click or tap “Contacts.” Then select “New Contact.”

Skype - Click

Skype – Click “Contacts”

Step 3. If you know your friend or family member already has Skype, you can search for them by their Skype Name, phone number, or email address.

Search for new Skype contacts

Search for new Skype contacts

Step 4. Type in their Skype Name, phone number, or email address in the search bar. When you find them, click or tap “Add” to add them to your contact list.

Adding new contacts on Skype

Adding new contacts on Skype

How to Make a Skype Video or Voice Call

Step 1. When you're in the Skype app, you can start a Skype call by clicking “Contacts.” Next, click on the name of the person you would like to call. Then click the gray phone button in the right top corner. (In this example, we are calling the Skype “Test” call contact.)

Calling a contact on Skype

Calling a contact on Skype

Step 2. Once your Skype call has started, the screen will look like the image below. Once you're on the call, there are a few important features you should learn to use, which we'll explain below.

Skype - Your video call will look like this

Skype – Your video call will look like this

Mute Button

Click the microphone to mute yourself. This is important to do while you are not speaking, especially if there is background noise where you are. Just don't forget to click it again when you want to say something!

Skype - Mute and unmute yourself

Skype – Mute and unmute yourself

Turn Video On or Off

If you want to only use audio, like a phone call, simply click the camera button to turn off your video. The person you're chatting with won't be able to see you, only hear your voice.

Skype - Turn video off and on

Skype – Turn video off and on

End a Skype Call

When you're finished chatting, click the red circle to end the call.

Skype - End Call

Skype – End Call

Add Another Contact to Your Skype Session

If you would like to video chat with more than one person, Skype makes it very easy. All you have to do is click the dark gray circle in the top right corner of the video screen to add another contact to your Skype session. Perfect for family time and catching up with friends!

Skype - Add another contact to your call

Skype – Add another contact to your call

How to Send an Instant Message on Skype

In addition to voice and video calling, Skype allows you to send instant messages to your contacts. Here's how to send a note to one of your contacts via Skype!

Step 1. In the Skype app, navigate to the left side of the screen and click “Chats.”

Skype - Click on chats

Skype – Click on chats

Step 2. Click on the name of the person you would like to send a message to.

Skype - Click on your chosen contact's name

Skype – Click on your chosen contact’s name

Step 3. Type a message in the gray chat box at the bottom of the screen. When you're finished typing, click the blue circle to send your chat.

Skype - Type and send messages to your contacts

Skype – Type and send messages to your contacts

Can I use Skype Online without Downloading the App?

Yes! If you would prefer to avoid downloading the Skype app, you can still use the video chatting service via Skypes' “online” platform. It looks almost identical to the app and is just as easy to use. For the best experience, we recommend using a computer or laptop to do this. Also, keep in mind you still need to make an account (see our direction on that above). You will need to use the Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge web browsing application. The Skype online platform won't work on Safari, Firefox, or any other web browser.

Step 1. Using Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge, head to Skype.com
Step 2. In the right top corner, select “Sign in.” Then click “Use Skype Online.”

Sign in or sign up for Skype from the homepage

Sign in or sign up for Skype from the homepage

Step 3. After that, you can use Skype to make calls, send chats, and add new contacts following the steps we covered above. Happy Skyping!

Written By

Morgan Redding

Writer and Editor

Morgan has been writing about the senior living industry for the past five years. In addition to over 400 hours of research on topics like medical alert systems, health insurance, and technology for older adults, she also brings her previous experience working… Learn More About Morgan Redding