4 Ways to Make Skype on the iPhone Even Better

46 Comments

By now you know that I think the Skype-for-iPhone app is simply awesome. After spending some more time with it, I’ve come up with four things that would make the app not only better, but nearly indispensable.

1. The software needs to be much more tightly integrated with Apple’s address book. At present, you can’t really use your entire address book for making SkypeOut calls. Adding a Skype field (just like IM) to the Apple Address Book would make Skype more useful.

2. It should allow me to see who I called last, my 10 most recent calls and most importantly, my entire call history. That would allow me to quickly call back both the most recent number I dialed and the ones I dial most often.

3. It needs sound alerts. Unless I’m missing something, it seems that Skype for iPhone lacks sound alerts for, say, incoming chat messages.

4. An SMS feature should be included. If I can send text messages through Skype, I’m likely to spend more time using the app.

Last, but not the least — and like many of our commenters — I would like the app to boot up faster.

If you have any suggestions on how to improve Skype for the iPhone, let us know.

46 Comments

Anonymous

And freakin give skype push notifications, otherwise it’s useless for using like a real VOIP phone.

Vic

I have just installed the skype app on my iPhone 3g 8gb and for some reason I can receive calls through skype from a friend using skype on their phone but i can’t make calls to someone on skype. Does anyone have any solutions?

MsJulie

1) Make it push mode (meaning I can go to another application, Skype would still be running)
2) Calls, omg in the USA (AT&T), Britain (TMobile) we can’t make calls, (banned in Canada & Germany), why even have the application if you can’t make calls? So very disappointing.

Unfortunately all Skype for iPhone for a lot of people is just text chat *yawn*, thank goodness I didn’t have to pay for this application.

For the person that said cam to cam on iPhone, lol do you realize how fast the battery would drain if you could? Also the camera is on the BACK of the phone…so unless you sit in front of a mirror you’d never see the other person.

DCook

For JailBroken iPhone Tips with Skype:

To Run Skype on Edge or 3G – Go To Cydia, DownLoad – Voipover3g

To Run Skype in Background, Make & Receive Regular Phone Calls – Go To Cydia, DownLoad – Backgrounder

EnjoY

+One more...

+ U need Insomina from Cydia – this the avoid that the WiFi etc stalls when the iPhone goes to sleep mode :)

Randall Stross

I found this to be the case as well. The WiFi would always disconnect when the phone was hibernating. The Cydia solution works quite well.

Asher

I was pretty of dissappointed. Here’s my situation. Looking at the iphone, really wanted it. Heard that at&t service spotty in my area. My next door neighbor right across the street has a 2g. She loves it, get service in the house, no problem.

So I buy a 3g yesterday, everythings great, love it. Unfortunately I get home and no service in the house! I was planning on using iPhone for new business I’m starting.

So I get the idea. I’m running iPhone off of my wireless router. I get Skype, pay for 3 months service for unlimited calls to landlines, pay for a online number for skype. About $25 altogether

So now I planned to forward my number to my skype number, so I can receive and make calls while no service in the house.

I worked….but only when the skype is open! When the iphone goes into standby after a minute or so, calls get kicked into voicemail.

Miserable…I thought this was going to work. Now I wonder if it’s worth it to keep the iphone…nothing else close to as nice!

Ted T.

The sound quality is amazing: I was in Costa Rica yesterday, found out that Skype was available on the iPhone, downloaded it, called friends in Italy (Skype to Cell phone), NYC (Skype top Skype), & SF (Skype to land line) — it sounded like they were all sitting next to me. This App is amazing as is. And the smooth, easy, no computer needed to install Apps iPhone functionality is something I bet those other oh so powerful cell phones don’t have.

As for the Contact import question — is there a two phone number per contact limitation?

For those complaining it doesn’t work over 3G — this is an AT&T imposed limitation people, wake up and start paying attention already. That said, I would gladly pay AT&T a five bucks a month more to permit Skype over 3G, so I can make free international calls anytime, anyplace. When do you think Skype will show up on the Blackberry Storm? If you answered “never”, you are indeed correct.

Push notification integration in iPhone 3.0 would be great.

Keonda

Skype, let us accept new contact requests in the app please.

Pdaug

Personally I was very happy with the App. I have a week-non existent signal inside my home. Skype allow me to place calls instead of using my home land line. Not the most economical solution but it does work. Thumbs UP!

Sriranjan

Push notifications. I need to be signed in even when the app isnt running and be able to receive messages.

A.B. Dada

I used the iPhone for about 3 days before it became relegated to a toy for me — the lack of background processing is 100% a no-go for a multitasker such as I. I moved to TMobile’s G1 and it’s been a glorious tool for my hectic like.

That being said, I would happily give the iPhone a try just for Skype use. For me, the telcom provider that lets me have relatively global access (through WiFi or GSM) will be the one who wins my dollars and euros for the long haul.

Sadly, I don’t see Skype having the opportunity to be that provider. When I was in Paris, FR last month, I was unhappy with the WiFi rollouts by the larger pay-as-you-go providers. It is beyond me why T-Mobile/DT (or AT&T) can not move forward with a global GSM plan with value. I’d be $200 a month, each and every month, for global GSM access. Even just major city access, or Euro-American access would be fine.

So instead of worrying about VoIP application stability, I just juggle a handful of SIM cards into my unlocked G1 and make it work. It’s a hassle, and considering I pay well under $200 a month for a handful of SIM cards, the mobile providers are losing a very profitable business to shanty-build VoIP software applications that only work when there’s a WiFi signal present.

Ridiculous.

Shai Berger

To all the commenters who want Skype to run in the background – the iPhone SDK does not allow that. That’s not a bad compromise on their end to ensure the stability of the phone as a whole. But it’s a pretty big limitation for something like Skype because it means you can’ t receive Skype calls unless you keep the app running all the time.

Note that Blackberry and Android do not have this limitation in their SDK. There are rumors Apple will be adding background tasks to the SDK in the future.

sternbo

I think the first thing the new Skype app should do is not immediately crash when I try to enter my Skype username. I am simply unable to even get started – every time I touch the input field, the app craches (returns to Springboard). Happens even right after reboot. Have also tried FreeMemory, to no avail.

Using iPhone OS 2.2 on a jailbroken 3G iPhone. Someone above mentioned something about needing a file Cydia, maybe I need some additional detective work. However right now, the Skype app simply is 100% defunct. So right Fring is still my Skype app.

Kevin C. Tofel

From what I heard here at CTIA, if the Skype folks hear that your app is crashing, their first question is: “Are you running it on a jailbroken phone?” That tells me that they know it doesn’t work (or isn’t stable) on a jailbroken phone for whatever reason. I don’t know that reason, but from what I’ve seen and heard here, that’s the issue. Root cause could be the above mentioned file update, but I couldn’t say.

sternbo

Kevin, thanks for the confirmation. The would be the first App Store app (out of almost one hundred) which would somehow have any issue with running on a jailbroken iPhone. Oh well. Thanks again.

sternbo

Interestingly, I was able to kick Skype into the background – using the Backgrounder Cydia application. I then called my SkypeIn number from my home land line, and the backgrounded Skype sprung to the foreground and I could answer the call.

Peter Sisson

Great post – Two items that you mention:

1. Better contact integration
2. Missed calls / Call history

may be a limitation imposed by Apple’s SDK. Does anyone know more about this? I would think if it were possible they would have done a better job here. Call history integration is a glaring omission.

Two other critical missing items:

3. Runs in the background
4. Works over 3G

(3) requires Apple to make an OpSys change, which they say may happen by the end of the year,
(4) Ain’t gonna happen, at least in the US. That’s prohibited under the contract between AT&T and Apple – apps that try it don’t get approved in the app store. I don’t think AT&T will let that change any time soon.

Until then, Skype will primarily be useful for placing cheap international calls when its convenient (i.e. you have wi-fi access). Not for inbound, not for domestic. My company Toktumi is working on a simple dialer that gives you access to cheap calling without needing Wi-Fi and taps into our hosted office phone service. It won’t be as sexy as using Skype over wi-fi, but it will be useful for people who want two numbers on their cell phone, one for business and one for personal.

Andreas

Incoming SMS messages and alerts about that the battery is low interupts Skype calls. I have to press ok before I can hear anything again.

MAC

Hello Om,

I am happy to have Skype for Apple iPhone. The only problem is that I have a cracked version and for this you need an extra file from Cydia but I cannot find it?! So I am happy for every info to get Skype running on my iPhone. Greetings, Niki

mudman

I read on Wired Blogs that you need to update “Mobile Substrate” from “Cydia” for Skype to work. Good luck!

Nemo

We get it, Skype has finally come to the “worlds most advanced smartphone”, welcome to 2006.

I hope you guys cover some CTIA goodness for the rest of us who aren’t amazed by ‘revolutionary’ and ‘innovative’ features like VoIP on Mobiles and Cut ‘n Paste.

John Starta

The iPhone client needs the ability to specify what country code to automatically add for phone numbers in your Apple address book without them. The desktop Skype client has this feature, so I was surprised not to see it in the iPhone client.

David Mashburn

i agree 100% without the iphones copy and paste this would suck. I still think it sucks but it sucks less. All my numbers are formated without the country code.

C.K. Sample III

re: #2 it has a History tab that lists All and Missed. It doesn’t seem to pull remotely from Skype service, as you can clear the history locally.

nhickmarin

5. Make calls pc to pc and pc to cellphone or pc to land line for free.

Tanveer Sharif

Hi Om,

It should call switch calls between VoIP via WiFi and 3G. Vopium sent in an application that did exactly that, but Apple has blocked it.

With best regards

Tanveer

Pdaug

Not trying to sound like a Jerk. How do you figure doing a Video chat on your iPhone? You are going to need a mirror.

Avner Aviad

Skype should run in the background and wake up when you receive a Skype call.
Hanging in the app so you can get a call does not work for me.
As it is, it’s like you have a one-way phone, just for calling.

Best, if it would integrate (or replace) the regular phone app.

Doctor

Jailbreak > cydia > backgrounder. Runs skype in background, phone rings when you get incoming call, even when phone is asleep. You still need to manually open the app whilst its ringing but its a start.

Ronaldo

Installed backgrounder from cydia on my JB 2g iphone and set Skype to run in background and it works! Phone will ring when in background, but you have to open the Skype ap to answer the call. I put my skype icon first on page 1 so I can get to it easily when the phone rings. Also have read about updating mobile substrate, but didn’t have to do that on my phone.

Have read a lot of places where you can’t run in background, but it DOES WORK ON 2.2.1 JB PHONE!

llamasonic

i’d like skype on the iphone to allow for some sort of presence without being in the foreground. perhaps a small daemon that only would launch (do you want to launch skype?) skype upon incoming call or chat.

Kasper Retvig

As an very frequent user of Skype I also like the Skype for iPhone app and had been looking forward to its release since the app that so far have incoporated Skype really do not work very well.

However, I was extremely disappointed to see that the app doesn’t support Skype call via 3G. That almost render it useless for me because lets face it the only time I can be sure to have access to wifi on my iPhone is when I am either home, in the office or at a friends house and at those places I already have access to Skype via a computer so whats the point?

Also Skype’s client for the Symbian platform has for a long time supported Skype calls via the 3G network so I simply don’t get this wierd choice from Skype. Maybe it’s an iPhone thing – crappy 3G hardware I don’t know but I am very disappointed.

Jonathan

Hi Om –

1. You can access all your iPhone’s contacts from the Call tab – just click the address book icon to the left of the call button.

2. Isn’t that information in the History tab?

3 and 4 would certainly be great additions :-)

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