“What are you up to?” means the same as “What are you doing?”
It is a very common way to greet someone and open a conversation. Generally, an extended answer is not expected. You can simply say “not much”, followed by one or two things that you are doing. Hopefully, this will carry the conversation forward. However, if you just say “nothing”, the conversation won’t go anywhere!
A: Hey! What are you up to?
B: Not much, just watching TV.
A: Cool, what are you watching?
You can also ask “what have you been up to?” You would probably ask this if you know the person already and it has been a while since you last spoke to the person.
A: Hey! It’s so good to see you again! What have you been up to?
B: Ah well, I have been pretty busy with work deadlines…
You can also ask about future and upcoming plans by indicating a time frame at the end of the question.
A: What are you up to this weekend?
B: I’m going to catch up on sleep. I’m exhausted from studying!
Author: Katy Lia, Cambly Tutor
If you’d like to keep this conversation going with Katy, give her a call on Cambly or make a reservation with her here: https://www.cambly.com/en/student/tutor/Katy%20Lia