Time for another answer to a reader’s question. This time it’s a question about apps and ‘How can I use FaceTime on a Windows PC?’ I am answering this as a matter of urgency as there is a serious security risk to your PC if you Google that question.
The person who asked whether they can use FaceTime on a Windows PC said they had downloaded three apps from websites that offered FaceTime for Windows. It is this that I need to address first.
There is no FaceTime for Windows. FaceTime is a proprietary technology owned by Apple. A Windows version is not offered and not supported by either Apple or Microsoft. Both companies seem content to leave well alone so no Windows version is expected at any time in the near future.
Remove FaceTime for Windows
So why do websites offer FaceTime for Windows? Your guess is as good as mine. I would suspect that the apps installed are either other video chat apps or malware. You need to remove it from your computer immediately.
If you have downloaded anything from websites purporting to offer FaceTime for Windows, uninstall it now.
Either navigate to the install folder on your computer and use the uninstall app if there is one. Or use something like CCleaner to force removal. Then run a full antivirus scan overnight to remove anything the fake app left behind. Then, run Malwarebytes Anti-Malware to make sure there is nothing your antivirus missed. Then run Spybot to hoover up anything the previous checks missed.
FaceTime alternatives for Windows PC
Now your system is hopefully clean, we can look at FaceTime alternatives for Windows. You won’t be able to interact with a FaceTime user and you will have to get them to use the same app otherwise nothing will work.
Skype is the natural Windows alternative to FaceTime. It works in much the same way but is more open and will work on most devices, Windows, Apple, Android or whatever. Skype to Skype calls are free and you can Skype to a cell or landline too if you pay a modest sum for the call. Video and voice quality is usually very good and the app allows you to swap files, type messages and other stuff while you call too.
Jitsi is an open source video chat app that puts security front and center. It encrypts all traffic between computers so all of your traffic is safe. Voice and video calls cannot be monitored and you can even hold video conferences securely. While you can have an account and access premium services, you don’t actually need an account to use it, which is neat.
Viber is almost a carbon copy of Skype with many of the same features. Like Skype, all parties need to use Viber to be able to video chat but you can call out of Viber to a cell or landline for a modest fee. While Viber got into trouble for collecting user data recently, it has since instigated a cleanup operation and end to end encryption so your calls and data are now safe.
You can make video calls on Facebook although many don’t realize it. While many may be dubious about giving the social network even more data to use against them, it is possible to use VoIP from within the platform. Use the Windows desktop app to call other Facebook users on desktop or mobile, for free. It works well and offers good call quality but no security.
Google Hangouts ensures the search engine giant isn’t being left out of anything. Designed as a competitor to WhatsApp, Hangouts offers video and voice chat through the browser or via an Android phone. The minimalism that characterizes most Google apps is present here too but everything works as it should. Hangouts is apparently being replaced by Google Duo and Google Allo but I have seen little sign of that happening as yet.
Yahoo Messenger is the final FaceTime alternative for Windows. It looks and feels a lot like Skype or Viber and does much the same thing. All callers need to have a Yahoo account to be able to chat and there is no encryption but call quality is decent and most people over a certain age still have a Yahoo account. Yahoo isn’t so good with privacy though to consideration needs to be given to how secure you need to be before using Yahoo Messenger.
So as you know by now, there is no FaceTime for Windows and any website saying otherwise is not telling the truth. The good news is that there are lots of alternatives you can use between operating systems.
Got any other FaceTime alternatives for Windows? Tell us about them below if you do!