Get ready to Viber

If someone asks you to Viber with them, here’s how to get ready for Viber and some settings you might like to change from defaults.

Viber is a messaging, voice/video calling service similar to WhatsApp and Signal.  Screen sharing and file transfers are also possible.

Source: Viber

We’ve seen Viber commonly used in South America and Eastern Europe.  For whatever reason, Viber seems to be more popular outside the USA, UK and Western Europe.

In the current situation it’s a service you might want to setup and test, just in case someone.  Online call services ranked

iPad supported by Viber!

One BIG difference is that Viber works directly on an iPad.  The Viber app for iPad lets you create an account.

You’ll still need a phone to receive a confirmation code by text message. There’s an ‘Activate by phone’ option so presumably a landline number could be used.

The iPad app can link to Windows or Mac Viber software. The desktop install talks about linking to a smartphone but we can confirm that Viber on an iPad can also link to their desktop software.

Wide support for Viber

Viber works directly on iPhone and Android smartphones, as you’d expect.

There are Windows and Mac apps which need a smartphone or iPad connection for setup and account verification. We’re reliably informed that once setup, the Windows and Mac apps will work independantly, even if the ‘original’ smartphone/iPad isn’t available.  That’s different to WhatsApp and Signal which route everything through the smartphone.

Encryption and Privacy

Viber security seems OK, this is their summary:

“Viber’s security protocol was based on the “double ratchet” protocol found in Open Whisper Systems Signal application, with our own proprietary implementation and additions. Our entire security overview is available here.”

Open Whisper is the technology behind Signal and now licensed for many messaging services including WhatsApp and, in some cases by Skype.

The mention of  ‘own proprietary implementation’ might give some very cautious folks a little concern.

Viber does have options to hide chats from selected people, secret and self-destructing chats.

Under Setting | Privacy you can control if people see your online status, read messages. Also  Trusted Contacts.

Settings | Privacy | Show your Photo should be OFF to stop people seeing your Viber profile photo unless they are in your contacts list.

By default all calls are ‘peer to peer’ or ‘end to end’ but that can be disabled to stop callers possibly seeing your IP address.  Turning ‘Peer to Peer’ off will degrade call quality since calls have to be routed through a Viber server, which also adds another security concern.

Under Settings | Privacy | Personal Data you can disable collection of analytics, content personalization, interest based ads and location based services.

Calling ‘real’ phone lines

There’s a way to call standard phone numbers from Viber, called Viber Out.  There are ‘pay as you go’ or calling plans.  Rates etc are available here

It’s similar to Skype’s service, except that Office 365 customers get 60 minutes of ‘free’ calls each month to many worldwide phone numbers.  Don’t forget your Skype minute

File Transfer

Any file can be sent via a messaging chat, up to 200MB.  That’s double the limit of WhatsApp etc.

Photo transfer on Viber

At Setting | Media | Photo Quality control the resolution of photos transferred. The default is ‘Good’ but can be upgraded to ‘Excellent’.

If you want the original photo transferred (i.e. full resolution and extra data like location), use File transfer instead of Photo.  That’s the same trick you can use with WhatsApp and Signal.

Why make WhatsApp send full size, original photos

Send a full size, original image by WhatsApp for Android and Send a full, original image by WhatsApp for iPhone

Screen sharing

With the Windows/Mac desktop software installed, screen sharing is possible.

Group Calls

Available up to FIVE people can join a group audio call.

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