Best livestreaming apps

Live-stream to your friends or the public with these seven easy-to-use apps.

You can get almost-instant gratification from videos on YouTube or social media, but you and your viewers can get instantaneous gratification -- and the thrill of the moment -- from live video. Live-stream to your friends or the public with these seven easy-to-use apps.

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If you'd rather not learn a new app: Facebook (iOS, Android)

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Facebook Live, once exclusive to celebrities, was finally rolled out to everyone in January 2016. With Facebook Live, you can alert your audience that you'll go live at a specified time. To start livestreaming from the mobile app, go to your status field and select Live Video. (On the Web version of Facebook, you can't livestream, but you can watch others' videos -- find Live Video in the left rail, under Apps, which will take you to a map of live-streamers.) Type up a compelling description and then tap Go Live to stream for up to 90 minutes. When you're done, you can upload your video to Facebook in HD.

If you have a large Twitter following: Periscope (iOS, Android)

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Live-streaming is equally easy on Periscope. Just press the broadcast button on the homepage's bottom rail, answer the question "What are you seeing now?", and determine levels of access to your video. You can also live-stream directly to Twitter. Then tap Start Broadcast. Press and hold your screen for advanced controls like sketching, switching cameras, and ending your broadcast, which you can perform with simple taps and swipes. Followers can show their love with hearts or comments, and you can respond.

To broadcast to the most places at once: Livestream (iOS, Android)

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Use Livestream to broadcast from your phone or tablet to Facebook, Twitter, or any website that includes Livestream. Just tap the record button to stream. Swipe horizontally to change filters, and swipe vertically to switch cameras. Make your stream identifiable and discoverable by giving it a catchy name and categorizing it in one of 10 sections, including Arts & Entertainment, Politics & Society, and Sports. The app's built-in chat lets you interact with followers.

If you want the most bare-bones app: Streamup (iOS, Android)

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Streamup is a minimalist broadcasting app that gets the job done. To live-stream, just tap the broadcast button, briefly describe what your show's about, and hit Go Live. Tap the hamburger menu to reverse the camera and to chat with viewers.

For the stat obsessed: YouNow (iOS, Android)

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With YouNow, get started by tapping the broadcast button on the upper-right corner of your screen. Tag your broadcast from one of a dozen suggested keywords or search for more, and then decide whether you want to share to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or all of the above. Tap Go Live to start your broadcast. Simple swipe controls let you flip the camera, invite a guest to join, or type a message to your audience. When you're done, you'll get helpful analytics, such as your number of viewers, shares, and likes.

If you love special effects: Kanvas (iOS, Android)

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Getting started with Kanvas is easy: Press the plus button on the bottom rail, then describe your live stream and select sharing destinations, which include Kanvas, Tumblr, Facebook, and Twitter. Then tap Go Live. But what really sets Kanvas apart is its hundreds of cool effects, filters, GIFs, and drawing overlays. Just tap GIF or the drawing button to add one. If you make a mistake, erase your handiwork with the press of a button.

For videos with guests: Upclose (iOS, Android)

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On Upclose, tap the camera button to begin your broadcast. Then give it a title, tap to select one or more categories among 17 that include Food, Travel, and Techies. Once you're live, you can comment, or tap to open a menu to add or block sound, change the camera direction, or stop filming. Tap the followers button on the top right for face-to-face interaction with viewers.

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About Joshua Rotter

Joshua Rotter is a copy editor for Download.com and covers iOS.