For years I have Skype always running on my computer, because it was a good option for me to consult with my colleagues and classmates during the day. I have a plenty of friends and co-workers, who are really keen on mobile devices, and I knew that they also used Skype extensively.
Some of my friends logged in Skype numerous times during the day. I knew this, because pop-ups notified me whenever someone became available. Some of them appeared to have very strange habit, since I saw them connecting 5-10 times in an hour. Some of them stayed online, although never answered to my text messages, but wrote me a bit later, as if they just have seen the message. And sometimes they wrote that they did not get my messages, which I sent them when they seemed to be online, only when they logged in from a desktop computer.
For the first few months I did not realize that this is some kind of communication issue of Skype for mobile and Skype for desktop. Until one day I got Skype for Android myself.
Before I continue my story, I must admit that the Skype app was a positive surprise for me. Although I used an age-old, cheap Samsung Galaxy Mini, with a poor 3G connection, I could even make video calls on the go, which changed the quality of my long-distance relationship dramatically.
The interface was brilliantly easy, and it has all the features I needed. I could mute my call, and do the dishes until my boyfriend read out a novel for me, I could chat with multiple colleagues from the train to home, and even my mother find me when she lost all the numbers from her phone.
The first problems started when I realized that despite of being disconnected on my computer, I seem to be online on my colleagues’ Skype. I realized, that I forgot to sign out from my Skype account on my mobile. However, there the only way to get offline was to sign out from the app completely. Although I set my status “invisible” in the app, I remained “Away from computer” on other’s contact list.
This was very annoying, since many of my colleagues kept on writing me messages when I was literally disconnected, and expected me to answer as soon as I get to the computer – probably in a few minutes or hours.
Even more annoyingly, if I did not use the phone and left it on my desk, it forgot to sync my messages, therefore, I did not get any notifications from Skype. Since I am home-based and mostly online on all other surfaces of communication, such as Facebook and Gmail, I rarely use my phone during the day. So, if somebody tried to reach me on Skype, he might had to wait days for me to give an answer.
After a while, my phone started to crash whenever Skype started syncing and trying to download an endless chat history, which I produced on desktop during the day. I must admit, I almost deleted Skype from my mobile devices, but then later an update solved most of my problems, except appearing online when I wasn’t.
This issue was the answer to my concerns about the friends who kept signing in and out during the day. They all had Skype connected on their phones and the application logged in automatically, whenever their device was connected to a network or the Wi-Fi.
I do not say, Skype is bad because of the syncing issues. I really appreciate the way the mobile version of this app was developed. It is simple, handy, trustworthy and works even on a device which is not far from being a box of garbage. However, this privacy issue is rather annoying.
Of course, Facebook Messenger has this kind of issue too, but it does not give such a visible sing when someone has difficulties in finding a proper network. I hope, one day this problem is solved, and I can really give a five-star evaluation to my most beloved app. It would be nice to see it soon.