The best voice calling apps for iPad that let you call all over the world, no actual phone needed!
Looking for the best iPad apps to let you make audio and video calls? Apple doesn't include a Phone app on the iPad, and maybe that's just as well. Do we really need to see people with 7.9- or 9.7-inch devices propped up to their heads? Yet iPad owners may certainly need to make calls too, and like the giant conference phones of old, in some cases, bigger really can be better. So, if you absolutely, positively need to get your call on, and the iPad is what you want to use, you'll need to check out some alternatives. Luckily, there are several excellent voice calling apps to choose from. But what audio and video calling apps for iPad are the absolute best?
Apple's FaceTime Audio is included as part of iOS 7 on every iPad as part of the FaceTime app. It's just like regular FaceTime but, as the name suggests, is voice-only instead of video. You can use it to place calls to anyone else who's also using iOS 7. It works great, the audio quality is amazing, especially over WiFi, and it's completely free to anywhere in the world.
If most of the people you call are iOS users, FaceTime Audio is your go-to.
Free - Comes with any iPad running iOS 7
Microsoft's Skype is easy to set up and simple to use. It's also completely free if all you want to do is call other Skype users. If you want to use it as an actual phone replacement, you can sign up for their paid service and get assigned a phone number that people can use to call you just like they'd call any other number. Skype supports both voice and video calling as well as regular chat. It's also one of the most widely used voice calling apps in the world, so the odds of friends and family using it may be greater than other services.
If you want an easy solution that's popular throughout the world, use Skype.
Google Hangouts is a universal messenger and calling app for iPhone and iPad. Anyone that you have in your Google contacts can easily be reached with Hangouts. The best part is you don't even have to have a phone number. Hangouts supports audio and video calling, both individually and as a conference. Hangouts is completely free to use in the US and Canada for regular phone calls. It's always free anywhere in the world from Google account to Google account.
For a versatile messaging app that's flexible and completely free in the US and Canada, you want Google Hangouts.
The Facebook Messenger app for iOS lets you make free voice calls to your Facebook friends in several countries. This makes it a great option for folks who are on vacation and just need to stay in contact with friends and family. Since Facebook Messenger uses data to power phone calls, you should be able to contact Facebook friends anywhere you're on wifi or have access to data. Just be sure when traveling abroad you either have a local SIM card with unlimited data or you're on a wifi network.
If staying in contact with close friends and family while traveling is your biggest concern, Facebook Messenger has you covered.
Talkatone is one of the only apps available for iPad that fully uses everything Google Voice has to offer. It lets you make truly free voice calls a to any number, anywhere in the world, without having to forward calls from another number. It also works really well when used in conjunction with GV Connect. If you don't want to use Google Voice, you can also acquire a US phone number for your device via Talkatone. The interface is long overdue for an update, but if you use Google Voice, or want to, it's worth a look.
If you live and die by Google Voice and want access to all the features it offers, you'll want Talkatone.
These are our favorite picks for best phone apps for iPad but we know that sometimes there are country restrictions or other options that we miss. Let us know what you use in the comments below and why you picked it!
Note: Originally published, December 2013. Updated, July 2014.