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Houseparty app: The virtual house parties making lockdown more sociable

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(Image: Houseparty)

By Anita Merritt / Jess Morcom : Devon Live 26 MAR 2020

Being on lockdown is failing to dampen peoples’ partying spirit thanks to a new app which enables people to still socialise together, but just in a very different way.

Social video app Houseparty has been downloaded millions of times since the coronavirus struck the UK, and as the name suggests, it connects people virtually through calls so that you can play games with up to eight people at a time while also enjoying a few drinks and some snacks.

It’s available for free for both Android and iOS, and despite its recent popularity, it has actually been in existence since 2016. It is owned by Epic Games, which also makes Fortnite.

Here’s all you need to know about the app:

  • How to use Houseparty

First, download Houseparty from the App Store or Google Play Store.

You will next be prompted to connect to Snapchat or your phone for contacts.

You are not required to sync all my contacts.

And logging in with Snapchat allows you to use your Bitmoji.

When you first open Houseparty, you will see yourself on the front-facing camera, with a few options available.

Swipe up, and you will see your best friends on Houseparty.

Houseparty will ask you to add friends.

Once friends begin to be added, you will start to receive notifications in the app.

The plus button on the upper-right corner, right above the dice, give you the option to add or invite friends.

In the bottom of the screen, the open-lock indicates that other contacts can join and members can add more people to the call; This can be locked.

The smiley face button on the top left gives an overview of friends and notification settings.

The dots on the bottom-left corner provide three options: Share Screen, Record Facemail, and Disable Camera.

Sharing your screen and disabling the camera do exactly what they suggest.

Another option is to send a Facemail, similar to leaving a video message for someone, which will be received whenever they next open the app.

So whilst the basics of the app are fairly self-explanatory, there are several sneaky tricks that you may not be aware of.

  • How to start a game

If you touch the dice icon in the top-right of the screen, it will bring up several free games you can play.

Houseparty currently has four games to choose from – Heads Up, Trivia, Chips and Guac (Houseparty’s version of Cards Against Humanity) and Quick Draw.

Games will automatically close after you’ve finished a round, or if you need to close the game before then, tap the X in the top-right corner of the screen.

  • Turning off notifications

Once you’ve downloaded Houseparty and connected with your friends, you’ll start receiving notifications every time they open the app.

While this is handy for spontaneous conversations, the constant notifications can be a bit irritating.

Thankfully, it’s very easy to turn these notifications off.

Open Houseparty and tap the face icon in the top left of the screen.

Tap Mange Notifications, and you’ll be given options for toggling off all friends’ notifications, or just certain friends.

  • Lock your private chats

One of Houseparty’s quirkiest features is the ability to join any of your friends’ chats with their friends.

However, if you’re trying to have a private chat with a friend, you’ll be happy to hear that you can lock the chat, stopping other friends from joining.

Simply tap the padlock icon at the bottom of the chat screen.

  • Change your name and picture

When you set Houseparty up, you’ll be given the option to sync your account with Snapchat, in which case your photo and name will pull through from there.

However, if you’ve not synced with Snapchat and want to change your name and picture, simply tap the smiley face icon in the top left screen, then tap the pink cog.

Tap Edit Profile, and you’ll be able to change your name, picture, and to connect to Snapchat, should you so choose to.

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