How to use Houseparty: video chat and play games without leaving home

One of the biggest apps right now is Houseparty. Available on Android, iOS (for iPhone users), iPadOS (for iPad users) and macOS (for Mac users), the “face-to-face social network” focuses on video chats, quizzes and games to bring people together digitally when they can’t be together physically.

This is not a new app. Houseparty was launched by Life on Air in 2016 and was acquired by Epic Games in mid-2019. With the increase in the number of people staying at home for long periods of time, it is quickly becoming one of the most popular options. popular on the app stores.

While many other apps offer free video calling – such as FaceTime, WhatsApp, Google Duo, Skype, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, Zoom – Houseparty’s addition of quizzes and games gives it a unique appeal for friends and families who want to do more than just sit in front of a camera and talk.


How to download Houseparty

If you are using an Apple device (iPhone, iPad or Mac), you can download Houseparty from the App Store.

If you’re using an Android device, you’ll want to head over to the Google Play Store on your smartphone or tablet to download Houseparty.

On a Chromebook or Windows PC? Then there is good news because Houseparty also has an in-browser app for Google Chrome.

Want a new phone to use Houseparty? Try one of the solutions below:


How to configure Houseparty

House party

(Image credit: Life on Air Inc)

Have you downloaded Houseparty? Excellent, then you will need to register, tap the app, and follow the onscreen instructions to register.

You will need to enter your name, email address, mobile phone number, and choose a unique username. As Houseparty has been around for several years, a lot of obvious usernames are already taken, so you might need to get a little creative.

Once you’ve picked that killer username, it’s time to link the service to your contacts. You can choose to give the app access to your phone’s contact book, and you can also pair the service with Facebook and Snapchat to make your network of friends as wide as possible.

Houseparty will automatically recognize your contacts and friends who have already signed up, letting you dive into the chats almost instantly.

We installed Houseparty on a number of different devices, and on a few we failed to retrieve our contacts from the contact book. We have currently only found this issue on certain Android devices, but it is possible that it can also occur on other devices.

If you are having trouble finding your friends through Contact Book, Facebook and Snapchat integrations, you can also search for your friend’s username and add them that way.


How to use Houseparty

Once you’re ready, you’ll be taken to the main screen, where you’ll likely see your own face from the selfie camera on your phone, tablet, or computer.

The plus icon in the upper right corner allows you to find your contacts and group multiple people into a “Houseparty” for group calls.

Underneath there is a dice icon, which is a quick link to some of the games available on Houseparty, including the Quick Draw piction game and the Ellen DeGeneres inspired Heads Up.

Tap on a game and you will then be asked to add friends to play with you. Wait for them to connect and let’s go!

LR: main screen, find friends to chat, games to play (Image credit: TechRadar)

To quickly start or join a chat / house party, swipe up on the screen. Here you will be able to see the friends you have recently spoken to and any currently active “home parties” (group chats) that you can join by tapping.

A word of warning, Houseparty only allows a maximum of eight people per call, so if you want to talk to a larger group of friends or family, you’ll have to find another app.

If you want to grab a partner’s attention, you can tap the hand sign icon next to their name to send them a notification on their device, or if you want to directly enter a video chat, you can just tap on the phone icon.

You can also use the search bar on this panel to find contacts that do not appear in your recent calls list and add them to a discussion.

LR: swipe the panel up, Facemail appears here, see who’s online (Image credit: TechRadar)

Swipe right to left on that pane, and you’ll be taken to your inbox, where contacts can send you private video messages when they want to leave you a message and you’re not there. Houseparty calls these Facemail and you can also save them and send them to your contacts.

Once you’re on a call, you can use the buttons at the bottom of the screen to turn your mic and camera on and off, switch between your device’s front and back camera (if it has any), and the icon. padlock lets you ‘lock’ the chat to prevent others from joining – useful if you want to have a private conversation.

To exit a call, just tap the crosshair icon in the lower right corner of the screen.


How to turn off party notifications at home

Houseparty can be a lot of fun, but if you’re lucky enough to have a plethora of friends, family, and coworkers, the sheer volume of notifications the app sends out is anything but fun.

By default, the app is set to ping all of your contacts when you open it, and you will receive a notification every time one of your friends opens the app. As you can imagine, this can get pretty boring, pretty quickly.

The good news is that you can easily turn off these “around the house” notifications. Tap the face icon in the top left corner, then tap ‘manage notifications’ and toggle the two sliders at the top of the screen to the off position. This will turn off all of these notifications.

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Alternatively, you can toggle these settings on a friend-by-friend basis. So if there’s someone special you don’t want to miss, you can keep their “home” notification turned on (assuming she hasn’t turned it off), while also blocking out old coworkers. and exes rejected from being nuts every time you open Houseparty.

Is it safe?

Is Houseparty safe to use?

House party

What Houseparty looks like on Mac (Image credit: Life on Air Inc)

As we noted above, you’ll want to tap the padlock icon to lock chats. Internet questions – a UK-based children’s charity – said you should do this to make sure others can’t appear in your chat unsolicited.

The charity said, “It’s important to show and sit with your child to enable privacy filters and other controls while video chatting. This keeps video chats private and secure.”

While this relates directly to kids using the app, it’s good advice for everyone, as some social media users said others appeared in their uninvited chats.

From a privacy standpoint, Houseparty appears to have similar policies to other video calling apps. Forbes spoke to a cybersecurity expert – Lukas Stefanko, privacy researcher for ESET – who said there were no clear issues with the Android app.

Stefanko told Forbes: “I analyzed the app’s permissions usage and since the app offers video chats with your friends, it makes sense that the permissions requested are needed. I couldn’t find any usage. abusive sleazy by the application. “

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