Houseparty is a video chat app designed for spontaneous communication – more for when you’re bored and want to chat with a friend, rather than scheduling a meeting. That’s why it was initially preferred by young people. But it has grown in popularity across all age groups as people stay at home to practice social distancing.
By the way, the application is also known for its connection with the game. It comes with built-in games such as Heads up, you can play with your friends. Last year, it was acquired by Houseparty Fortnite creative Epic Games.
When you open Houseparty, you can instantly see which of your friends are online and talk to them with one tap. In fact, when you’re online (assuming Houseparty is running) your friends will get notifications and you’ll get the same for them. Also, if the room (aka conversation) is unlocked, they can see and join conversations you have with others. While Houseparty encourages spontaneity, privacy can be an issue. (Actually, Houseparty has somewhat backfired from potential security issues, as has Zoom; violation reportswhich were apparently never proven.) We’ll cover how you can adjust these features to maximize security.
Can be used for house party iOS, Androidand macOS operating system; there is also a Chrome extension this is you one browser version, which is still in beta. (You can access the browser version without the extension). However, the app is really designed for use on mobile devices, so the desktop and browser versions have limited functionality. For example, you cannot play games like in the mobile version.
To use Houseparty, you must first create an account. (Here’s how to do this.) During the setup process, Houseparty will give you the option to add friends. Once they accept your invitation, you can start chatting with them.
Start a call or text your friends on mobile:
- Click on the smiley face in the upper left corner
- Tap “My friends”
- Tap your friend’s name
- Press the green “Call” button to call them or press the “Say Hello” button to let them know you want to talk. You can also use the Facemail button to record a video message for them. On Android, if they’re not available, you’ll see a “Forward Note” icon instead of a “Search” button.
- On an iPhone, you can also send a message by typing in the bar labeled “Schedule” at the bottom of the screen. On Android, tap the “Forward a Note” icon to send a message.
You can quickly start a chat with your recent contacts:
- Open the app and swipe up
- If a friend you recently chatted with is online, you can click the “Join” button next to their name to start the conversation.
- If they’re not online, you’ll see two buttons next to their name. Click the call button to call them or wave your hand and tap the button to send a notification that you want to talk.
When you and a friend have a conversation, you are put in a “room”. If you don’t want others to join the call automatically, you can lock your room by tapping the lock icon at the bottom of the screen. You can always invite people to the room even if it is locked; also friends can request to be added to a room. Here’s how:
- Click the + icon in the upper right corner (if you have locked the room, this button will look like a padlock with a + sign next to it)
- Tap the circle next to the names of the friends you want to add to the conversation.
- Then tap “Invite to Room”. Your friends will receive a notification that you have invited them to your room. They can tap “Join” to start the conversation.
- If you’re in a locked room and a friend wants to talk to you, they can wave at you and get a notification asking if you want to add them to your current call. Tap “Invite Here” to add.
- You can send text messages to people in your room, but not to multiple people or to an entire group, even if you’re in the same conversation. Tap your friend’s face to send a message during a group call and you’ll be able to forward a note to them.
To exit a call, press the X in the lower right corner.
Keep your virtual distance
If you have opened the app but are not ready to speak, you can mute yourself and turn off your video. Here’s how:
- If you’re using Android, tap the camera icon to disable or enable the camera. If you’re using an iPhone, tap the three dots in the lower left corner, then tap “Disable Camera”.
- Tap the microphone icon towards the bottom right corner of the screen to mute the sound
You can also turn on private mode that automatically locks the room you are in:
- Tap the smiley face in the upper left corner
- click the gear icon
- Toggle In Private Mode
Every time you open the Houseparty app, your friends will be automatically notified that you are online. Don’t you want this? To set your notification preferences:
- Click on the smiley face in the upper left corner
- Tap on “Manage Notifications”
- Disable the “Send My Notifications” option to prevent your friends from receiving notifications.
- To stop receiving notifications when your friends are signed in, disable the “Get Notifications From My Friends” option.
- Under the Friends subheading in Notifications, you can edit the settings for each friend. Toggle on the switch under the ghost icon to stop sending notifications to that friend when you’re signed in. To stop receiving notifications when your friend is signed in, turn off the switch under the home icon.
- On an iPhone, if you press and hold the Houseparty app icon, you’ll have the option to “Sneak Home” which means you can go online without telling your friends.
How to use Houseparty on your desktop or laptop?
you can download desktop house party app if you are using a Mac. For other operating systems, Houseparty also has a Extension for Chrome connected to browser version the application. (The browser version works in some Chromium-based browsers, but not in other browsers. It didn’t work in Safari or Firefox.) The interfaces of the Mac app and the app in the browser are slightly different, but the build steps are slightly different. call is similar. Note that you can only access Houseparty from one device at a time.
Note: The first time you use it, the extension will ask for three permissions: to read and modify your data in the Houseparty app, to read your browsing history, and to communicate with “cooperating” websites.
Click the extension or open the Mac app; You’ll get a drop-down list of contacts with your name at the top. By clicking the arrow next to the status above your name, you’ll find yourself “Online” (the app is open and you’re in a room), “Around” (the app is open, but you’re not currently in a room so friends can contact you), or “Offline” (you can’t be contacted). Houseparty notifies your friends when you’re online.
The Chrome extension gives you a fourth option, “Online (Incognito)”; this means you are online and available, but your friends will not be notified.
Click the “Go Online” button to put yourself in a room or change your status to “Online”. Now your video and audio are enabled and a friend (or friends) can join you in that room (unless you lock it).
In the browser version, on the left you will see a column with your contacts.
In the Mac app, the popup with your contacts will remain open. In both versions, next to each contact, you can click the call button to contact a friend or click the wave button to let a friend know you want to talk.
At the bottom of the screen (or in the video window if you’re using the Mac app) you’ll see some buttons. Click the camera icon to mute your video, click the padlock icon to lock the room, or click the microphone button to mute yourself. There is also a button with an arrow inside the monitor icon. Click this to share your screen.
If you’re using the Mac app, you’ll also see a button with two arrows that lets you change the shape of the video window from balloon to rectangle. After switching to the rectangular window, you can click the green + sign in the upper left corner to switch to full screen.
Those are the basics of using Houseparty, just one of many free group video chat apps. There are several alternatives, including FaceTime, WhatsApp, and Zoom. They offer different features and limitations (like the time you have for a call or the number of people who can attend) so you can choose the right one for your needs.
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