Houseparty is, as the company describes itself, the "face-to-face social network" that encourages group video chats as a way to chill with your friends without actually chilling with your friends. This isn't the app meant for work meetings or webinars. Houseparty lives up to its name, offering in-app games for everyone to play so you'll never have to miss trivia night even when all your friends are hiding from a life-threatening virus.
Unfortunately, like any software, Houseparty can suffer from slowdown and errors every now and then. Here are a handful of steps you can take to get the app working again.
1. Leave and rejoin the chat
If you can join chats but can't hear, see, or talk to anyone, try leaving and rejoining the group. It's a simple solution, but sometimes the issue fixes itself when you rejoin.
Be aware, though, that if you're in the middle of playing one of the built-in games featured on the app, you might be knocked out of any rounds you miss. You should be able to join the game again when you get back into the group, though. If this still doesn't work, ask the host to restart the entire session and re-invite everyone into the party.
2. Give the app permission to work on your phone
If your video or audio still isn't working, then perhaps you haven't given the app permission to access various features on your phone. These permissions usually pop up when you first open the app — they're the messages that ask if it can use your camera and microphone. It needs these permissions to capture your voice and video during chats. To see if Houseparty has all the permissions it needs, head into your phone's settings.
- Access the settings by dragging down on your screen the same way you do to check for notifications. Click on the tiny gear icon in upper-right corner. You can also get to your settings by clicking on the 'Settings' icon in your apps.
- Once you're in the settings, scroll down until you find the 'Apps' category. Click on it, then select Houseparty in the list that appears. Scroll down, click on 'Permissions,' and make sure it has access to your phone's camera, contacts, microphone, and storage.
- Go into your iPhone's settings and select 'Privacy' to browse through all the permissions available on your phone. When you tap a category like 'camera,' you'll see which apps have access to it. Go through each category and tap on Houseparty to let it use your camera, microphone, and any other features it needs to work properly.
3. Check if Houseparty is having problems
It might not be you or your phone — it could be Houseparty having server-side problems. Use a website like Downdetector to see if there's an outage going on or visit the official Houseparty Twitter account for any announcements about user reported issues. Browsing the Twitter hashtag #housepartydown can also help you check if you're the only one experiencing problems.
The app could be acting up because it needs an update, too. Although updates usually happen automatically, sometimes they don't install until midday or late night. To install your updates sooner, look for Houseparty on Google Play or the App Store and hit 'update' if the button appears.
4. Clear your Houseparty cache
If the app is still acting up, then it might be time to clear the cache. A cache is basically user data that's kept on the phone to let it load your settings faster. However, sometimes that data can become corrupted or bugged out for some reason. By cleaning the cache, you'll clean out any bad data. This process should not delete the app or your account from your phone (although you might have to sign-in again).
- Head into your settings and select 'Apps.' Scroll until you find the Houseparty app, click on it, and then tap on 'Storage' to reach a screen with the 'Clear cache' button at the bottom. Select it to clean out the cache.
- The ability to clear out the cache on an iPhone dpends on the third-party app. For Houseparty, you should be able to clear the cache by going into the settings, selecting the app, and look for the 'Reset cache on next launch' option. If it's not available, you may be out of luck.
5. Uninstall and reinstall the app
Lastly, if nothing else is working, then it's probably time to unplug it. Uninstalling the app will wipe it from your phone, allowing you to make a clean re-installation that, hopefully, fixes any problems you might've had. For both Android and iPhone users, press down on the app's icon to bring up a small menu that offers an 'uninstall' or 'delete app' option. Select that to delete the app from your phone.
Once that's done, head back to Houseparty's store page and reinstall the app to get back to the party.