Houseparty is a face to face social networking app. This means you can call family and friends and see their face whilst you talk. It is a great way of keeping in touch and seeing your loved ones, especially during this difficult time.
One advantage of Houseparty compared with other video calling apps is that you can play games with one another whilst you connect. This can help interact with young grandchildren and adds a bit of fun!
You can also have up to 8 users on one call – which is more than similar services such as WhatsApp allow for.
Finally, you can spontaneously and easily join onto friend’s video calls or ‘House Parties’ that are already going on. This means you can dive in and out of different conversations, catching up with multiple groups of people.
You can download Houseparty onto your smartphone or tablet – as long as you have a front-facing camera on it. Read on for our guide on how to use Houseparty or use the links below to jump straight to each section:
If your relative struggles with technology, then you may be better off buying a purpose-built video-calling device for the elderly. Read the Age Space guide to the Best Video Calling Devices for the Elderly.
Downloading the Houseparty App
The Houseparty app is free to install.
If you are an Apple User, head to the Apple App Store, search for Houseparty and install the app. An Apple device is any iPhone or iPad.
If you are an Android User, head to the Google Play Store, search for Houseparty and install the app. An Android device is any other smartphone or tablet, brands include Acer, HTC, Samsung, LG, Sony Ericsson and Motorola.
We have a 5-day, half board escorted coach holiday worth £299 to give away to one lucky Age Space reader. Four nights at The Grand Burstin Hotel on Folkstone’s picturesque harbour plus three escorted coach trips to Canterbury & Whitstable, Rye & Hastings and Deal.
Enter the competition here.
Getting Set Up on Houseparty
1. Open the App
When you open the Houseparty app, your screen will look as follows:
If you already have an account (perhaps you have used the app before on a different device before), and you can remember your details – sign straight in.
Otherwise, you will need to sign up.
2. Create New Account
After clicking Sign Up, the following page will appear:
You need to enter your email address and full name in the boxes as shown above. You then need to create a unique username and password. Make sure to note down these details!
Finally, enter your date of birth in the last box.
3. Enter Mobile Number
After entering your details and clicking next, your screen will look at follows:
Enter your mobile number in the indicated box. This is so the Houseparty app can recognise you are a real person. You will then be sent a code via text message so you can prove the number you entered is yours.
4. Text Message Verification
After entering your mobile number, you will be taken to the following screen:
If you entered your mobile number correctly, you will have been sent a code to enter. Enter this code into the 4 digit box. On most smart phones, the phone will recognise you have been sent a code and will suggest entering it for you. You have 10 minutes to enter the code before it expires.
5. Find Contacts via Phone Book
After verifying your phone number, Houseparty will assist you in finding your friends and family as contacts.
Click Next, and Houseparty will access your phone book (it may ask you for permission to do this – Click OK). Houseparty will be able to tell if telephone numbers you have saved, use the app already. Houseparty can then automatically add these numbers as contacts to video-call.
6. Find Contacts via Facebook
After adding contacts via telephone number, Houseparty will ask you if you want to add contacts through connecting your Facebook. Don’t worry if you do not use Facebook (or the people you would like to video call do not either), you can also add contacts using their username.
Click Next, if you wish to find Facebook Friends to add on Houseparty. Otherwise, click skip in the top right hand corner.
7. Setting Permissions
After adding contacts (remember if you didn’t do this through telephone book or Facebook, it’s fine you can add by username), it is time to set permissions. Houseparty is a video calling app so uses the camera and microphone on your device. This means when it asks for permission to use Camera and Mic you should click OK.
Notification permissions are about whether you are notified about something happening on the app when you are not using it, for example a friend coming online. We recommend having notifications turned on because you can see when your loved ones are ‘In the House’ (available to call).
Location permissions are about finding contacts that are near you geographically. We recommend denying location permissions as it is not a necessary tool to use the app.
How To Make a Video Call on Houseparty
Finally, you are set up and ready to use the App – your screen should look as follows:
Every time you open Houseparty, you will see your own face. Lucky you! Additionally, a new joke or fun fact will be in the middle of your screen.
To add contacts by username, click on the plus in the right hand corner. Then click, ‘Add New Friends’, then ‘Add by Name’. Enter your relative’s unique username, and send them a request to connect. Once they have accepted, you can video call one another.
The face icon in the left hand corner is where your contact list is. This means, anyone who you have added as a friend through telephone contact list, Facebook or username will be here.
To create your own Party (video call with more than one user), swipe up on the main page (where you can see your face).
You can then wave at contacts (this is like making a phone call – lets them know you want to speak). You can also see Parties already going on here and click Join to be in on the Video Call already taking place.
Locking Private Chats on Houseparty
One of Houseparty’s unique features compared with other video calling apps is the ability to join any of your friend’s chats with their friends.
However, if you would like to have a private chat with your friend, or multiple friends, you’ll be glad to know you can lock the chat and stop other people from joining.
Just click on the padlock icon at the bottom of the screen. Click on it again if you want to unlock the chat and let other people in.
How To Play a Game on Houseparty App
When on a video call or ‘In the House’, you can play games. If you click on the dice icon at the top right of the screen, it will come up with 4 fun games to choose from:
- Heads Up – a fun timed guessing game
- Trivia – general knowledge quiz
- Chips and Guac – Houseparty’s version of Cards Against Humanity
- Quick Draw – testing your artistic and guessing skills
For example, below is a game of Quick Draw. You have to draw a picture for your friends to try and guess.
Games will automatically close after you have finished a round. If you need to close a game before then, tap the X in the top-right corner of the screen.
Privacy Options & Settings
Turning Off Notifications
If you turned notifications on, you will receive notifications every time your friends are on the Houseparty app. This is handy to see when your friends are online or ‘In the House’ so you can catch a good time to speak to them. However, if you have lots of contacts, it can start to prove a bit irritating.
Thankfully, it is very easy to turn these off. Simply click on the face icon in the top left of the screen. Click ‘Manage Notifications’ and you will be presented with options for switching certain friends notifications off, or you can turn off for all friends.
If you are uncomfortable with mutual contacts being able to enter your conversations, you can enter private mode. When you click on the smiley face icon in the top left hand corner, you will find the Houseparty settings page. Here, you can turn the Private Mode toggle to on. This means every time you Video Chat with a friend, the room will be ‘locked’ (no one else can join).