Basics of Using Skype on the iPhone

Skype utilized a social networking tool to completely demolish the expectations of the phone industry, bringing it into a completely different dichotomy right from the start.  As a free way of doing voice, and then video, calls between computers, as well as instant messaging, it created an alternative to the high phone prices.  They took this one step further with the iPhone Skype app, which actually allows you to make voice calls between Skype users on your iPhone.  With this you can completely bypass regular call service and use the Internet instead of your precious, and expensive, minutes.  Here is a guide on how to use Skype from your iPhone.

Once you download and install the free Skype app for the iPhone, you will be asked to log in with your Skype information.  If you do not already have a Skype account you can create one right here, which will require your email and then to begin adding contacts.  Right at the beginning of this process it will let you know that Skype is technically not a replacement for a telephone and you cannot make emergency calls on it.  From there you will enter in your name, Skype name, password, email, and there will be an On and Off switch for if you want to get news or offers from Skype in your inbox.


Once you are up and running, and if you already have an account, you will have multiple tabs in the lower task bar from which to navigate.  The first will be your Contacts, and this will show everyone that you are “friends” with on Skype.  This is similar to social networking and instant messaging formats where by you send requests to people and then they confirm it, allowing you to message or call them.  They will be listed, along with a simple next to them indicating if they are online or not.  A grey circle with an X will show that they are not currently online; a green circle with a check mark will show that they are, and a yellow circle will show that they are idle.  If you want to begin a contact with them go ahead and select them.  It will then show some information from their profile and you will have options to call, video call, or chat with them.  There will also be a button that will take you to their full profile.

The Chats tab will take you to active chats and will give you the ability to see any new chat messages that you may have missed.  Since chats remain constant in a certain sense, you may end up receiving new chats that you will need to then check up on.  If there are none you it will indicate as such and if you go to the All tab at the top you can see all active conversations.

The Call tab may be the most fundamental and interesting.  Though you can make regular Skype calls to other Skype users on your contacts list, you can make regular phone calls to actual numbers in the Call tab.  This will require that you have money in your Skype account that you use to call these numbers, which is less that making long distance calls.  This interface looks similar to your regular iPhone Phone function, but unique to Skype’s design.  Here you enter in phone numbers and make the calls, and you can send SMS text messages to other phones.  This is something that allows Skype to connect with regular phone numbers instead of just Skype recipients, but you need to maintain a Skype financial account if you plan on doing this.


To the right of that is History, which logs all the calls that you have made to different Skype users and regular phone numbers.  This is similar to a call history and reflects the actual calls and not the chat messages.  This history is instead seen in the Chat tab.

At the far right is My Info, which is where you can first adjust your profile and then adjust settings that are important.  In the My Profile section you can add information like your full name, where you live, what language you use, what your birth date is, and even your web homepage.  You can also include a broad About Me section, which is common to social networking services.


In the My Info section you can adjust your status, turn Call Forwarding On or Off, and set up Voicemail.  You can also add Skype Credit, which is the financial aspect that allows you to call non-Skype numbers.  To do this you have to Buy Skype Credit, and if you select this you will be taken to Skype secure page to make the purchase.


When you are in the Contacts tab you can hit the Group arrow in the upper left hand corner of the display if you want to look at different grouped contacts.  These are defaulted in the Skype iPhone app as Online Contacts, Skype Contacts, Saved Phone Numbers, Recently Contacted, and Blocked Contacts.  You can also hit a button at the bottom for iPhone Contacts, which will allow you to add contacts from your iPhone Contacts.  This can usually just mean bringing their saved number into the Skype Call tab so that you can call them from Skype rather than your iPhone carrier.


There are a number of different settings that you can adjust to alter how the Skype app works with your iPhone, but it does not change the Skype account directly by altering the settings that are external to the application.  Go into Settings and then select Skype from the list of apps below the regular settings areas.  At the top will be an On / Off switch for automatic sign in, which is a nice feature to keep on if you want Skype messaging and calling to be a regular part of your iPhone use.  Below that is an option to determine when you Go Offline, which is defaulted at Never.  This simply means that it will never put you offline on its own, and you can choose to have you do it after different time increments.


Below that will be Notifications, which is important so that you can continue to work with Skype consistently.  If you keep the notifications on then you can receive Skype calls and chat messages the same way you get phone calls and text messages.  Go into here and make sure that Sounds and Alerts are both set to the On position.


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