When Skype Isn’t Working: 7 Key Settings You Must Check
Most of the time, Skype just works. But sometimes, you’ll run into a snag and find that Skype can’t connect or otherwise isn’t working properly. These troubleshooting steps will solve most common Skype problems, whether your microphone isn’t working or the other person sounds like a robot.
If you still find that Skype is not working after following these steps, ask the person you’re contacting to run through this list too—the problem could be on their end.
1. Check Skype Heartbeat
Before you do any troubleshooting of your own, you should check if the overall Skype service is having issues. If Skype won’t connect or you can’t use a specific Skype feature, check the Skype Heartbeat page.
You can also access this from the Skype app by clicking the three-dot Menu button at the top-left and opening the Settings menu. Select Help & Feedback from the list on the left, then click Skype Status to open the page in your browser.
The heartbeat page informs you of Skype’s system status. If there are any problems with Skype’s infrastructure, you’ll see them here. The page also lists recent Skype issues at the bottom as a reference. You can’t do anything about these issues—wait for Microsoft to fix them and try connecting later.
2. Review Skype Audio Settings
If your Skype microphone is not working, you can test your microphone (and speakers) in the app. Click the three-dot Menu button and choose Settings, then pick the Audio & Video tab from the list.
To test your microphone, speak into it. You should see the blue dots under Microphone move as you speak.
If you don’t see the volume bar move, click the name of your mic next to Microphone and select another device. Keep trying different devices until you see the volume slider move when you talk. In a pinch, you can try using your smartphone as a makeshift microphone .
There’s also a chance that you’ve blocked apps from using the microphone altogether in Windows 10’s Settings panel. To check this, open the Settings app and visit the Privacy section. Under App permissions on the left sidebar, choose the Microphone tab.
Here, enable the Allow apps to access your microphone slider, and make sure the Skype app has permission too. If you’re using the classic version of Skype, scroll down to Allow desktop apps to access your microphone and make sure you have the master and Skype sliders enabled there, too.
No sound in Skype? On the same Audio & Video settings page in the app, make sure you have the correct speakers chosen from the dropdown menu. Confirm that you have the volume at an audible level, too.
Click the Test audio button underneath the Speakers section and you should hear the Skype call sound. If you don’t, select a different device from the Speakers dropdown box and try again.
3. Troubleshoot Audio Hardware
If playing with the options on the Audio & Video panel didn’t help, you should examine your hardware. Some microphones and headsets have volume sliders or mute switches on their cords. Thus, you could have accidentally moved the slider or flipped the switch.
Also, check to make sure that your microphone and speakers are plugged into the correct ports. You can plug USB microphones into any USB slot, while analog microphones must connect to the correct sound jack.
In most cases, the microphone port (input) is pink and the headphone jack (output) is green. However, different audio hardware may sometimes use different colors.
If you’re using a desktop computer and the microphone doesn’t work when it’s plugged into the sound jack at the front of the PC, try the sound port at the back of the computer. You may need to further troubleshoot your microphone or fix general Windows 10 sound issues if nothing here works.
4. Edit Skype Video Settings
Assuming you have a webcam, you can check it from the same Audio & Video pane in Skype’s Settings window. Here, you should see a preview feed from your webcam. Like the audio options, click the name of your device at the top-right to switch to another if you have multiple webcams installed.
If your webcam is connected and you don’t see it in this window, you may need to install or update Windows drivers for it. You can usually grab drivers from your webcam or computer manufacturer’s website.
Like with the microphone troubleshooting, you should also check Windows 10’s privacy settings for camera access. Visit Settings > Privacy and jump to Camera on the left sidebar, underneath App permissions.
Make sure you have Allow apps to access your camera enabled, as well as confirming Skype has permission. Desktop users of Skype should confirm the same settings under Allow desktop apps to access your camera.
Check out our full guide to troubleshooting Skype webcam problems for more information.
5. Make a Skype Test Call
If everything above works properly, try a test call. To do this, go to Settings > Audio & Video in Skype and click the Make a free test call link at the bottom of the page. Alternatively, you can add the Skype user echo123 (named Echo / Sound Test Service) to your contacts list and call it as a test.
The call testing service will ask you to speak into your microphone after a beep. It records what you say and, after a few seconds, plays your message back to you. This ensures that everything is working properly—your microphone, speakers, and the network connection.
If the call worked properly, you should be good to go. And if you still can’t hear another person on Skype, it’s probably a problem on their end.
6. Review Bandwidth Usage
If you—or anyone else on your network—are overloading your network bandwidth with intensive tasks like downloading large files or streaming 4K video, you’ll experience poor call quality.
One of the obvious signs of network congestion is robotic-sounding voices. Skype will usually display a red connection icon when this happens.
Close any programs downloading files (both on your computer and on other devices in your home) and try placing the Skype call again. If you’re on a Wi-Fi network, try moving closer to your router to improve your connection. You might also want to run through our network troubleshooting guide if you’re having further network problems.
7. If Skype Is Not Loading at All
If you can’t log into Skype, you may have an issue with your Microsoft account. Visit Microsoft’s account recovery page to recover your password, then try signing in again.
In case your issues still persist, or you have other specific issues like Skype search not working, it’s a good idea to uninstall and reinstall Skype to clear up any underlying problems. You can also try using the Skype web app instead of the desktop version.
Skype Troubleshooting Made Easy
Using this quick checklist, you can eliminate common Skype problems and make your calls sound great. Most of the time, what seems like a huge problem when Skype is not working is a pretty simple fix.
Remember that for Skype group calls, one user experiencing any of these problems could affect the quality for everyone. If you’ve decided that it isn’t worth using the service anymore, try one of the best free alternatives to Skype .
Image Credits: Grublee, Tomas Jasinskis, RossHelen/Shutterstock