Houseparty has become popular among teenagers and college students, mainly because it makes video chatting with friends quick and convenient. Houseparty shows you which of your friends is online; you can then open the app and join a call instantly. You can also play one of Houseparty’s built-in games with friends when you’re on a call together — in fact, Houseparty was acquired by Epic Games, known for creating Fortnite, last year.
Houseparty allows users to make group video calls with up to eight people. It is available for both Android and iPhone; there’s also an app for macOS and a Chrome extension that drops you into the browser version of the app (which is still in beta). But both the Mac and web versions are mainly meant to be used as additions to the mobile app. And keep in mind that you can only use Houseparty on one device at a time.
Here’s how to set up an account:
- Download and open the app
- Tap “Sign Up”
- Enter in your email, full name, and birthday. Type in a username and password. You also have the option to add a profile photo or to connect your Snapchat account.
- Next, you’ll need to verify your phone number. Type in your number, then tap “Send SMS.”
- Houseparty will text you a code to verify your number. Enter it on the following screen.
- Next comes a series of windows that will allow you to add your existing contacts as friends on Houseparty. The app will ask permission to access (separately) your phone and Facebook contacts to see if anyone you know is already registered with Houseparty. In either case, you can either allow the app access, or refuse. (Note: If you refuse and then change your mind, you can always go back and allow the app to access your Facebook friends or phone contacts later.)
- If you do allow access, Houseparty will give you a list of your contacts who also use the app. Tap on the green “Add” button next to the name of each person you’d like to add to your Houseparty friends, then click “Next.” You may also see a list of people who are Houseparty friends with the contacts you’ve just added (sort of like Facebook’s friends of friends). Again, tap “Add” next to anyone you want to add. You might also get a screen with a list of your phone contacts who aren’t on the app, asking you if you want to invite any of them to the app. Tap the green “Invite” button next to anyone you want to add.
- Lastly, Houseparty will ask for permission to send notifications and to use your microphone and camera. Tap the circle next to each permission. You’ll get a pop-up window asking you to confirm.
- Finished? You’re ready to use Houseparty!
Something to be aware of: When I set up my Houseparty account, I didn’t recognize some of the people in the “add” list, and they weren’t in my phone contact list either. Another Verge staff member who added me as a friend on Houseparty was asked to add one of my friends; someone she didn’t know.
For this reason, it may be a good idea to skip importing contacts from Facebook and your phone, and instead add people individually. It’s simple:
- Tap the + in the top right corner
- Select “Invite New Friends” to send a link to a friend via another app. Otherwise, tap “Add New Friends.”
- Tap “Add by Name” to search by username. Tap “Add” next to anyone you want to add. Your friends will have to accept your request in order to connect on Houseparty.
- If Houseparty can’t find them, you can select “Copy Profile Link” at the bottom of the screen to send your friends a link to your profile. The link will either connect them back to the app, where they can send you a request, or prompt them to download Houseparty and set up an account.
Once your friends accept your requests, you’ll be able to hop on calls with them. We’ll walk you through all of those steps in an upcoming article.
Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our ethics policy.