Viber is one of the most popular ways to call friends for free from a smartphone. The app allows you to chat for nothing to any of your friends who have installed Viber on their Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Phone or Symbian device.
Unlike Skype, there is no PC version of Viber (not yet, anyway), so - theoretically - you can only use the service if you have a smartphone. But in actual fact, with a simple hack you can run Viber on a PC or Mac to make free calls to anyone who is using Viber.
It's all done using the free BlueStacks software, which allows you to run Android apps on a PC. You can run Viber through BlueStacks, coupling it with a contacts app to make free calls from your computer to your friends and family. Be sure to check which of your buddies have Viber on their phones already - and if they haven't got it yet, urge them to install it.
What you'll need to run Viber on your computer:
- A Windows or Mac computer
- BlueStacks App Player. Available to download for free for Windows or Mac
- A cellphone (any type will do, as long as you can receive SMS)
- Headphones with built-in mic OR standard headphones and an external mic
How to make a call with Viber on your PC
1. Start by downloading and installing BlueStacks App Player on your PC or Mac. Once the software is up and running you need to head for the ‘App Search’ option and perform a search for "Viber". Once you’ve found it, click on the ‘Install’ button to download and install Viber in BlueStacks.
2. Run Viber by clicking on its icon in the main BlueStacks interface. You’ll be shown a welcome screen. Just click ‘Continue’ here.
3. At the next screen, you’ll be prompted to enter your phone number. Tap in your regular cellphone number here and hit ‘Continue’.
4. You’ll now be sent an access code to your phone via SMS, which you should enter in the box provided. At least, that’s the theory. We never received a message with the code, and if this happens to you, ‘click here’ link in the message that appears under the code entry. You will receive an automated phone call to your cell and a voice will out the code you need. When you have the access code, enter it and click ‘Continue’.
5. Viber should now be activated and you’ll see the following screen. You’ll notice that no contacts will appear in the list. Since BlueStacks doesn’t have a native contacts application, we need to rectify this by installing a contacts app. Quit out of Viber for now by clicking the BlueStacks icon at the bottom of the interface. This will take you back to the home screen of BlueStacks.
6. From the home screen, click on the ‘App Search’ option and perform a search for an app called ‘GO Contacts EX’. Once you’ve found it click on ‘Install’ to download and install it.
7. Once installed, open the GO Contacts EX app by clicking its icon on the home screen. You’ll be presented with the following screen of blank contacts. Let’s start adding some contacts for people you know who are using Viber. Click on the ‘+’ icon to start.
8. Add a contact by entering their name and mobile number in the boxes provided. These are the only two fields you need to worry about to use Viber on your PC, so you can leave the other contact information blank.
9. Keep adding contacts using this same method, until you have built up a list of anyone you might want to talk to on Viber. All the contacts will be displayed in the main GO Contacts EX menu.
10. Go back to Viber by quitting out of GO Contacts EX (press the BlueStacks icon at the bottom to do this), and clicking the Viber icon from the home screen. Any contacts you’ve added who are registered with Viber will now appear in the app’s Contacts tab. To make a call to a contact just click on their name.
11. The contact’s information will now be displayed. There are options to make a free call or send a free message. To place a call to this person, just click on the ‘Free Call’ button. Make sure you are wearing headphones with a built-in microphone (the ones that came with your phone, for example) or you could use a stand-alone mic and standard headphones.
12. Your call will be made and you should hear the dial tone. When the person picks up just start talking! You can now chat for as long as you like for free from your computer. Pretty good, eh?
While using BlueStacks is possible, Viber released Viber for Windows and now officially supports making calls through desktop.