The Houseparty app has become everyone's go-to socialising tool while we're all stuck indoors, and has topped the download charts across the board.
The free app lets you chat and play games with your friends and family while you both stay in your own homes.
If you're looking for a quick guide to getting started or you have a specific question then read on.
How to download Houseparty app
Head to your chosen app store and download the free app. You can get it on the App Store or Google Play. If you like you can also use Houseparty on your desktop by adding a Chrome Extension.
Now you need to sign up - you need your email, phone numbers and to choose a username. Remember your username is how others find you, so make it easy.
How do I add friends on Houseparty?
The app will ask you to grant it access so your contacts can be added. You'll see a list of your friends who already have Houseparty installed. Just click 'add' and they will be automatically added to your address book. If you click 'invite' you can ask friends to join who haven't got the app. You can also add people manually - you just need their username. There's a little face in the top left side of your screen that takes you to Add Friends, click Add By Name.
How do I start a Houseparty?
When you first launch up the app you'll see your own face before a menu appears listing the friends you recently called as well as active party sessions. You can join these if you like, but if you want to start your own then swipe down the menu for your home screen.
There's a plus sign in the top right corner - hit that and you will see your contact list. Hit the ones you want to invite then click 'invite to room'.
Again, from the home screen, you can start things by choosing a game. There's a dice image in the top right corner on the Home screen. Choose the game you want then click the plus button to invite players to the room.
How many people can you have in a Houseparty?
You can have up to eight people in one room at a time. When another person joins the screen splits so you can see everyone at once. You'll end up with a tile-like look to your screen, unlike Hangouts which switches to show who is speaking. When there's an uneven number of people your screen will be the biggest on the screen.
Why is my video switched off on Houseparty?
If your Wi-Fi is poor then your video function will be switched off, but you can stay in a party just with audio.
How do I play games on Houseparty?
When your friends are all in a video chat/room you can find the list of games by hitting the top right dice image. Everything is pretty self-explanatory.
When you want to stop the game it's a little more complicated. The game will stop automatically when you finish a round, but if you want to jump ship early you can only do this once everyone in the room agrees to end the game. You all need to hit the 'x' in the top right corner. If you hit the 'x' in the bottom right you'll all be thrown out of the room so don't do that!
How do I lock the door on Houseparty?
All you need to do is hit the padlock on the bottom of your screen. People can then ask to join still, but it's up to you whether you let them in. To lock the door automatically go back to the home screen, hit the smiley face there and then the cog which takes you to your settings page. You can turn on privacy mode here - that's it.
How do I turn off Houseparty notifications?
It can all be a bit overwhelming when you get notifications from every app you own, let alone when you get told when any Tom, Dick or Harry enters a room on Houseparty. Don't worry you can switch the notifications off on Houseparty so you never see 'X is in the house' again. Head to the home screen and hit the top left smiley face. Click 'manage notifications'. You can choose to stop sending and receiving notifications from here.
How do I sneak into a Houseparty?
You can also switch off the notification that tells everyone you've logged in. You can 'sneak' into the house by clicking on the notifications you get, then the app loads without anyone being told.
How do I change my name on Houseparty?
Bored with your name already? Or too hard to find? You can change your name to make it all easier. First, check whether you've added a profile picture - that helps. To add a picture or change the display name go to the settings section (click the smiley face and then the cog).
Why can't I see the game on my screen?
This seems to be an issue that crops up occasionally. There doesn't seem to be a fix, but you can just leave and then rejoin the chat. We know, that's the same as saying switch it off and back on again, but it works. A round doesn't last that long so anyone who dips out won't miss too much.
Is the Houseparty app safe?
The app is pretty secure. The rooms all come with the 'lock' function and you can choose who you chat with. For parents wondering if it's safe for their kids to use there's also filters to block out people who aren't explicitly invited.
Accounts are also secure. You can get messages to chat from anyone, but you can ignore these. No video can also begin without agreement from both parties. It may be worth having a chat with your child to make sure they know about the higher privacy settings and ensuring they are set up. Houseparty also has a warning that pops up if someone sneaks into a chat.
Just be aware there is no age limit for the app as well.
How do I record Houseparty?
If someone you want to chat with isn't available you can record a video message to send to them via the app. The friend will be notified and you get a notification when they've seen it. You just hit the ellipsis (the series of dots) on the bottom left of the screen to send a message.
The only warning: Houseparty doesn't let you know if anyone is recording the chat so just keep that in mind.
- For the latest news and expert tips on getting the best deals this year, take a look at our Black Friday 2021 and Cyber Monday 2021 guides.
I have another issue with Houseparty
If you have another issue with Houseparty you can get help by shaking your phone. When you shake the phone a prompt appears which lets you give feedback. Just type in your question.
- You can mute yourself if you don't want to leave a room but want to cut sound for a bit.
- Remember to check you've locked your room.
Done chatting? Take a look at our TV Guide or our guide to the best movies on Netflix to find something to watch or the best series on Netflix. If you want to watch along with friends then have a read of our Netflix Party app guide.