Best phone apps for iPad: Skype, FaceTime Audio, Talkatone, and more!

Best phone apps for iPad: Skype, FaceTime Audio, Talkatone, and more!

The best voice calling apps for iPad that let you call all over the world, no actual phone needed!

Apple hasn't ever included 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, and one is even built-right in!

FaceTime Audio

Best phone apps for iPad: FaceTime Audio

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

Skype

Best phone apps for iPad: Skype

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.

Talkatone

Best phone apps for iPad: Talkatone

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 (below). It may not have the prettiest interface in the world, but if you use Google Voice, or want to, it's what you need.

If you live and die by Google Voice, you need Talkatone.

GV Connect

Best phone apps for iPad: GV Connect

GV Connect allows you to place calls using your Google Voice number or listen to voicemails and manage your Google Voice chats. It also makes a great companion to Talkatone since it pulls in everything from your Google Voice account. There's even an option in settings that allows you to place calls with Talkatone, if you have it installed as well. Just dial a number and the Talkatone app instantly opens.

If you use Google Voice and Talkatone, GV Connect will round out your experience.

WePhone

Best phone apps for iPad: WePhone

WePhone is a simple to use third party phone service that lets you place calls anywhere in the world at much lower rates than your carrier. Since the calls work over data, they work wonderfully on your iPad. For people that don't place a ton of international calls but have the need, WePhone is a perfect option. It's easy to use for anyone since it looks just like the dial pad we're all used to on our iPhone.

If simplicity is your main concern and you don't mind paying a little for that convenience, it doesn't get much easier than WePhone.

Your picks?

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!

Allyson Kazmucha

Editor for iMore, Potter pundit, and the ninja in your iOS

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There are 26 comments. Add yours.

Becjr says:

FaceTime is my go-to app. The only people who ever want to face time are my kids... And they just make silly faces. [Face palm]
These apps can certainly make you iPad "ph-ablet-tastic"!
(I just couldn't resist. )

Sent from the iMore App

gvndeb60 says:

Talkatone is the winner for me. All you need is a data connection and off you go regardless of if the other party has a specific app. I used it on my recent trip to Europe for free calls. Worked great and I could text as well.

ZeroLeonheart says:

Currently using Google Hangouts for calls on my iPad mini retina. It works pretty well, but I'm thinking of going back to Skype.

poiman says:

Skype and FaceTime here.

BeyondtheTech says:

I like Talkatone, but I don't use it enough to warrant a monthly subscription. And I loathe ads. I'd rather pay a one-time fee to get rid of it, but Talkatone doesn't offer it anymore.

Sent from the iMore App

WyndhamMisio says:

Some of these apps only work in the US. Perhaps you should think about this when reviewing. Disappointing.

Allyson Kazmucha says:

Read the last para please. I am US based. It's not something I can help...

Sent from the iMore App

WyndhamMisio says:

I should have worded my comment more carefully, to say that Apple and the apps themselves should make regional restrictions clear.

I would hope that iMore and others would take this up on our behalf, after all, if Apple and the app developers distribute something which is not for for purpose then this must be wrong. Unfortunately, for us who live outside the US, we see (perhaps unfairly), that US-based reviewers just don't care because it doesn't affect them. I'm not saying this is you personally, but that is how it comes across. Unfortunate, but true.

Only with your help can this problem be effectively addressed.

asuperstarr says:

I enjoy face time. I will have to take a look at the talkatone app. Great comparison and showcase.

Sent from the iMore App

smailpouri says:

FaceTime isn't cross-platform :-/

- Viber, it has now an option Viber Out, and it's cross-platform.
Quality is really good ! Free No Ads. WITH PUSH

- Hangouts does it all on IOS and it's free, No ads. The UI isn't perfect :-/

Skype doesn't have push notification, so I don't even understand why people can/do rely on a phone app like Skype that only works when in the background. It's a phone app.

eddietec says:

I use skype every day... And it's annoying to receive notifications in the phone and iPad (they are not sync)

Sent from the iMore App

Allyson Kazmucha says:

Viber is iPhone only

Sent from the iMore App

smailpouri says:

Actually it's not
Www.viber.com/#desktop
Www.viber.com/#iphone
Www.viber.com/#android
Www.viber.com/#windowsphone
Www.viber.com/#blackberry
Www.viber.com/#bada
Www.viber.com/#nokia

Also they implemented Video Calls on the desktop versions, soon to come on the mobile ones, hopefully

Cheers

zdn1042 says:

I use FaceTime to those using iOS devices and Skype for everyone else.

Sent from the iMore App

linsiris says:

It has been ages since I last used skype, but seems like it has improved a lot. I think that even though it doesn't have a pretty UI majicjack should've been added to the list; it looks like a pretty basic app but gets the job done, free calls to any number no need of credits or anything. But I admit that FaceTime right now is the only one I use on a daily basis.

Sent from the iMore App

Cojrom says:

I mostly use skype for video calling. I'll use FaceTime with anyone who has an iPad, iPhone, iPod touch or mac. FaceTime is more integrated and reliable but Skype has really improved over time.

Sent from the iMore App

iDisturbia says:

Skype for now .... until Apple comes up with their own.

Anything from google .... I don't even let the guy finish talking as soon as he / she tells me they're using something from google!

taguntumi says:

Skype and Bria. The latter allows me to use a UK phone number in Canada to make calls to the UK PAYG.

sdreelin says:

I've used Talk-a-tone and GV Mobile+, but since Google added calling through Google Voice into Hangout's I've dumped the rest.

Pontavignon says:

Different phones according to use-case or location. FaceTime for iOS/Mac calls, Fongo to both receive and make calls in Canada or to Canada from elsewhere, MagicJack for U.S. calls, Skype when I have any doubts about the rest. With the mini and Bluetooth I no longer use a cellphone.

bellaedward1090 says:

These iPad apps indeed provide best services to the users. I would like to add few more names such as UberConference, Freeconference, Accuconference etc. which provide features like international calling, call recording and many more.

Kevin Douglas says:

Hey, I am a huge fan of Skype and I love using it for social interactions. But for business meetings, security and guaranteed attendance is what I need; hence have switched over to RHUB.

Long Term says:

Security is the primary concern of businesses such as mine. All of the apps you mentioned, with the possible exception of FaceTime, have security issues. Skype has had back doors for years (google "TomSkype"), and Reports from last year revealed that Microsoft has given the NSA access to all of its services, including Skype, Outlook chat and Sky Drive. Microsoft's continued refusal to deny this speaks volumes.

Of all the apps reviewed here, only FaceTime claims end to end security (Apple claims it cannot decrypt FaceTime messages). While this is encouraging, FaceTime is not cross-platform.

This leaves businesses scrambling for a secure solution. An encrypted SIP solution may be the way to go, but the plethora of competing schemes makes SIP-based solutions less than ideal.

Businesses are still waiting for a drop-in, end-to-end secure replacement for Skype.