How to stay connected to loved ones in isolation
Just like many countries around the world, New Zealand is currently in isolation. The thought of being alone or having to stay with only a few people you know can feel daunting. Fortunately, we live in a world where technology can keep you connected to your loved ones. That is why we have put together this blog to show you isolation apps that you can use to connect with people you may not see for a while. Just because you aren’t in close proximity, doesn’t mean you can’t connect.
Isolation Apps – House Party
Houseparty is the app for those looking to connect or host a virtual social. The Houseparty app works on iPhone and Android, but you can also use it on your Mac or in Google Chrome. Houseparty also offers apps to play games with friends, chat or jump on a video call. Unlike Skype or FaceTime you don’t invite people to your call by ‘calling them’ instead of you just go on the app, check who is online and join into a chat with them. You can go into group chats, you only need to know one person from the group. As long as they haven’t ‘locked their room’. Locking your room means that the conversation is private and no one else can join.
Houseparty uses a split-screen to make multiple video-chatting easy between multiple users, adding in a feature that allows for secret chats among participants. You can also create rooms and ask people to join your video-chat room by sending a link through SMS text message.
House Part Hacking Rumours – Addressed
There have been rumours of the “HouseParty” app hacking phones and stealing information. However, there is no proof of this at all. The Apps owner (Epic Games) has offered a substantial reward for anyone that can provide even a shred of evidence that this is the case. Since the launch of the iPhone in 2007, there has only ever been a single virus to infect iPhones. Furthermore, the majority of iPhones it did infect were jailbroken (see below) by the user, which bypasses most of Apple’s security features. This statistic alone should be enough proof these claims are a smear campaign. The Google Play store is not as secure as Apple’s “App Store” but the “Houseparty” app has been developed by 1 of the largest games developers in the world, would they really risk there $15 billion dollar company for your Spotify logins?
Jailbreaking is when you install a cracked copy of the iPhone/iPads operating system. Meaning you can so can steal apps and make your iPhone do anything you want.
Isolation Apps – Facebook Messenger
Facebook Messenger is a FREE mobile messaging app used for instant messaging, sharing photos, videos, audio recordings and group chats. The app, which is free to download, can be used to communicate with your friends on Facebook and with your phone contacts.
In order to use Facebook Messenger you must first have a Facebook account. You can sign up through the Facebook mobile application or by visiting Facebook.com.
If you already have a Facebook account, or just created one, you can continue by downloading the Facebook Messenger application from Google Play, App Store, Windows Phone Store, and Blackberry World, or by visiting Messenger.com.
- Instant messaging
- Photo/video sharing
- Group chats – users can chat with their Facebook friends and phone book contacts
- Ability to record voice messages
- Live video chat // video calling
Isolation Apps – Zoom
If you work from home, you’ve probably heard about Zoom, one of the leading video conferencing software apps on the market.
It allows you to virtually interact with co-workers or employers when in-person meetings aren’t possible. This makes telecommuting seem much more human, as it helps you feel connected.
Zoom is a cloud-based video conferencing service you can use to virtually meet with others – either by video or audio-only or both, all while conducting live chats – and it lets you record those sessions to view later.
- One-on-one meetings: Host unlimited one-on-one meetings even with the free plan.
- Group video conferences: Host up to 500 participants (if you purchase the “large meeting” add-on). The free plan, however, allows you to host video conferences of up to 40 minutes and up to 100 participants.
- Screen sharing: Meet one-on-one or with large groups and share your screen with them so they can see what you see.
- Remote Control: As well as Sharing your screen with your colleagues, you can grant them permissions to remotely control your computer.
Social Media Challenges
Since social distancing has been put in place, we have seen the rise of ‘social media challenges’. The “draw something” challenge, is where users draw an object using the creative tools on Instagram Stories, then tag five friends to do it, too. There is also “see a dog, share a dog,” which encourages people to post photos of their pets. This is a good way to interact with friends and family and keep them entertained of course.
Even if you don’t use social media, there are other ways of staying connected with loved ones. We recommend using Outlook as it has many awesome features. Read our blog on Outlook shortcuts you need to know.
FaceTime supports up to 32 people at a time to call each other, which is more than most other services. However, it can only be used to call someone with a compatible Apple device — it will not work on Windows or Android phones. The benefit of using FaceTime is that you don’t have to use the camera, so it can act like a normal call but you won’t be charged as long as your connected to WiFi. When you’re in a WiFi hotspot, they’re completely free. When you’re not, your carrier’s data network carries your voice.
Isolation Apps – Google Duo
Google Duo is a video and audio calling app made by Google, similar to Apple’s FaceTime, Facebook’s WhatsApp or Messenger and Microsoft’s Skype. Duo is free to use and works across both iOS and Android devices – unlike Apple’s FaceTime.
The app has recently upped its group calling limit to 12, so you can chat with all your family and friends. Duo will use your phone number and connect with people in your contact list who also use Google Duo. It’s very simple and easy to use.
Isolation Apps – Google Hangouts
Google Hangouts is the business version of Google Duo. Similar to Zoom, Google Hangouts is a unified communications service that enables text, voice, or video chats, either one-on-one or in a group. Google Hangouts is built into Gmail, YouTube, and Google Voice, plus there are Hangouts apps for iOS, Android, and the web. It’s essentially a useful and cost-effective collaboration platform for the average person as well as enterprise customers.
Discord is a chat app, similar to programs such as Skype or TeamSpeak, or professional communications platforms like Slack. It’s geared specifically toward video game players, providing them with ways to find each other, coordinate play, and talk while playing. It supports video calls, voice chat, and text, allowing users to get in touch however they please.
We understand that adjusting to working from home can be hard but we are here to help. If you have any issues or need help with your devices then call us on 0800 424 335. As an essential service, we are here to help and have a revised service allowing us to remotely fix your problems.