Getting Started with Skype on Mac OS X

July 4, 2011, By Christian Cawley

You can’t possibly have failed to have heard about Skype, the popular instant messenger and voice over IP chat service. Thanks to Skype you can chat and webcam with friends and family around the world, saving money on expensive phonebills into the bargain!

Available for Windows and Mac OS X, we’ve previously taken a look at the Windows version of the chat client, but there are a couple of differences in the Mac OS X version which warrant revisiting the subject matter.

While the principles remain the same, you will find that using Skype on Mac OS X is a slightly smoother experience than on Windows, mainly thanks to the improved user interface. If for some reason you have never used Skype before, then head on over to www.skype.com and signup; while you’re there, take a look at the optional subscription charge and the ridiculously low charges for calling landlines as an extension to the standard “Skype to Skype” free service.

Getting started with Skype on Mac OS X

Installing Skype on Mac OS X

First of all, you will need to visit the Get Skype page to download your copy of the software. Note that this page detects your operating system, so visiting it from a non-Mac computer will reveal a different version and a different download link.

Once the file is downloaded to your Mac, double-click the DMG file to mount it and wait as the installation process completes. This shouldn’t take too long, but you will need to follow any instructions that are displayed. After installation you will be asked to sign-in to the chat client, using the credentials that you previously setup.

If you opted to purchase a subscription or make a one-off payment you will have the added benefit of Skype-to-landline/mobile calls, otherwise you will be restricted to other Skype users.

Skype to Skype Calls

To launch Skype, open Applications and click the Skype icon; shortly thereafter the chat client window will open. If you have friends on Skype already you can search for them using the Add Contact tool, and once you have done this simply highlight the contact in question to speak to them!

You have a choice between text chat (the blue speech bubble icon), webcam chat (the green camera icon) and voice chat using either Skype or a landline number which can also be added to the contacts details. Webcams and microphone/headset combinations must be configured before you can engage in communication using those tools, while text chat requires only your computer keyboard.

Calling Landlines with Skype for Mac OS X

The Prices tab on the Skype website reveals the various offers and options that are available. For instance, you might call Australia from Greenland for as little as 1.2c per minute, which is obviously very good value indeed!

After you have bought the appropriate credit, making a phone call with Skype is as easy as using a mobile phone or landline. Simply ensure that you have a working and configured headset, click the Phone button on the Skype window (or use Window > Dialpad) and dial the number! Within seconds the call should be connected and your conversation started.

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