Skype hacks you will love

Tech Tonic

By Surit Doss
  • Published 30.07.18

Even though Skype has lost ground as the number one video-calling app, many people still swear by it. Here are some tips on how to maximise your experience with Skype.

Did you know that your simple webcam, whether on your laptop or desktop, could be used as a security camera? You may want to use this tip when you are working for long hours and need to keep an eye on your children or pets or even your housemaid. You will need a second Skype account for this and an older version of Skype loaded on your computer. Download a version older than from Install this and open it on your computer. Go to Tools-Options-Calls-Call Settings-Show Advanced Options. Opt to Answer Incoming Calls automatically and Start video automatically. On a Mac choose Calling-Advanced on the left-hand drop-down menu and the option will be there.

Now call your second account, your webcam, from your first account. The call will be answered automatically and the camera will come on instantly. A lot of people are also unhappy with the latest Skype updates because when they call their aged parents, the video does not come on automatically. The elderly find it challenging to manually turn on the video. To overcome this problem, get an older version of Skype.

There is another hack that you will love. Skype enables you to send files to your chat contacts and the cherry on the cake is that you can send up to 300 MB. It is also secure. You can not only transfer files and documents during a conversation, you can also do so while video conferencing. Just click on the plus sign or the paperclip icon to select and send the files. Unlike regular emails where you need to go through a special advanced set up to send encrypted ZIP files, Skype by default allows you to send your files securely. Whatever file type you share on Skype will sync across all your devices. This means if you share something from your computer, it will also be available for download on your mobile device.

It is great to hold a virtual conference on Skype and place whatever document you want before your participant at the same time. Skype permits the transfer of files to all the participants. Just click the Share menu button at the top of the text box, choose the file you want to send and Skype will do so. The recipients will see an alert that a file is on the way. If you have sent the wrong file you have to cancel the delivery at once before anyone accepts the package. You can also edit a message you have sent by mistake. Press the Up Arrow key or right click on the message. The option to 'Edit Message' will be displayed. Click on it and your message will become editable.

If you ever need to run two instances of Skype at the same time you will need a Mac. This is useful if you have two Skype numbers. Open Terminal on the Mac and type in:


rm ~/Library/Application\ Support/Skype/

sleep 1

open -n "/Applications/"

A second Skype instance will open and you will be asked to log in into the second account

Transfer contacts: If you set up a second Skype account on a Windows PC, you can transfer your contacts in one go. Go to Contacts-Advanced-Backup Contacts To File. You will then get a .vcf file with the contacts. To import the contacts to the other account, go to the same menu and choose Restore Contacts From File. However, your contacts will still have to approve you on your new account. Despite this, it is a great time-saving process.