FaceTime: how the app works on iPhone, iPad and Mac — 2022

If you're new to the Apple ecosystem or never even knew about FaceTime, you've come to the right place. This native application of the company is present on most of its devices and is mainly used to carry out video calls The voice calls with internet. It is also available on iPhone, iPad, Mac, as well as other non-Apple devices.

What is FaceTime

Currently it is possible to find the FaceTime application in practically all the devices of the Californian brand and, as we already told you, it is an application that allows you to make individual or group video calls, but it also allows voice calls. Of course, in any of the cases you need to have an Internet connection, because it does not work through voice coverage but through WiFi, Ethernet cable or mobile data of the device.

FaceTime works through an Apple ID, either an email or phone number (depending on how you've set up your profile). Therefore, it is not a system that a priori is open to anyone and since it does not work through usernames to use as in other apps, it is understood that it is more private, although if someone knows your Apple ID or has you saved in their agenda will be able to make a call to you.

Compatibility on Apple devices

As we have already anticipated, there is the possibility of having FaceTime installed natively in iPhone, iPod touch, iPad y Mac . It can't be uninstalled, so if you don't use it you'll still have to have it, although it doesn't take up much space either. Regarding the version of the operating system that these devices must mount, the truth is that the service has been operating for many years, so in theory there are no impediments. However, it is recommended to always have them updated to the latest version to avoid errors and enjoy the latest news.

group facetime mac

It should be noted that the reason that it is not in other devices of the company is basically due to the fact that the rest do not have a camera. We are referring to Apple TV, Apple Watch and HomePod, which have their own operating systems and yet do not have this app, although it can be forced as we will explain in other sections. As you already know, all iPhone, iPad and Mac have a camera or the possibility of connecting an external one and that is why they are fully compatible.

FaceTime on Android and Windows

Although officially there is no mobile, tablet or computer that has FaceTime as an application without being from Apple, it does not mean that calls from this application cannot be accepted on them. As of 2021, it is possible to make calls from an iPhone, iPad or Mac to any other device. The way to do it is Web way , that is, the other users will not need to have the app, but rather access the call link with a browser.

This is a very limited system for those other users, since they will not have all the options that you have on Apple devices, but they will serve so that you can at least establish a conversation without the need for them to have an Apple device. Although, yes, the caller must have one of these software versions:

    iOS 15 or laterin the case of iPhone and iPod touch. iPadOS 15 or laterin the case of iPads. macOS 12.1in the case of Macs.

facetime devices

How FaceTime is activated

This is actually an automatic process and will only appear on screen when you sign in for the first time on a compatible device with your Apple ID. A pop-up window will open informing you if you want to activate this service together with iMessage, which are linked. It should be then when you accept it, although if you did not accept it at the time or it did not even appear, you must follow certain steps.

It costs money?

We believe it is convenient to start with this section, since there is some controversy in this regard. It must be said first that FaceTime as such is a free service as well as the iMessage messaging service it is associated with. However, there companies telephone that they can charge a small amount of money of no more than 20 cents per activation, so the recommendation we make is to consult your operator and if you see something strange on your bill, claim it.

FaceTime works over the internet, so in the end it will be necessary to have a Wi-Fi connection or mobile data rate to be able to use it, which can be considered a cost. Although it is evident that it is one of the many benefits of the Internet and FaceTime cannot be described as paid for it.

Activation on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Ve a FaceTime.
  3. Activate the corresponding tab.
  4. Select what you want your FaceTime contact method to be (phone number, email, or both).

activate face time

Activate it from a Mac computer

  1. Open the FaceTime app.
  2. Accept the activation of the service.
  3. In the toolbar go to FaceTime > Preferences.
  4. Select the settings you want, including the method of contacting the service via email, phone number or both.

activate facetime mac

Possible activation errors

In some cases, some errors may occur during the activation of the service, such as the following:

  • Waiting for activation.
  • Wrong activation.
  • An error occurred during activation.
  • Unable to login. Please check your network connection and try again.
  • Unable to contact iMessage server. Try again.

facetime activation error

Well, before any of these errors you should perform the following checks:

    Make sure you have internet connection, either through WiFi or mobile data, since it is essential to activate the service.
  • Check that you have the ‌latest software update available.
    • You can download the latest on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch in Settings > General > Software Update.
    • To download it on Mac you must go to System Preferences > Software Update or App Store > Updates.
  • Go to the corresponding FaceTime settings, turn it off and back on .
  • Reboot the devicein case there was some kind of background process that was affecting the activation.
  • If Apple's servers are overwhelmed, wait some minutes and try to try again.
  • In case a long time passes and you have not been able to proceed with the activation, contact Apple .

How to make or receive calls

Knowing how to make FaceTime calls, what type they are and how many participants can be added are essential aspects to get to know the application perfectly. We will talk about this precisely in these next sections.

make and receive

Of course, you can make or receive a call at any time if you meet the requirement to have it activated and have a connection to the network. The reception of them does not have much mystery, since you will receive the same notifications as with any other call, being able or not to accept the call. Of course, to start them there are different methods that are available through iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Mac.

    From the application itself:You will only have to open the app and search for the contact in question. If you had recently made a FaceTime call with him, you can find him directly in the recent panel. Also from the app you can create link to the video call and send it to one or more other people through any other app, this being the only way to allow those who have Android or Windows to access it. From the contact card:you only have to open the phonebook of the device, locate the person you want to call, and among their data and options you will find the possibility of making a call through FaceTime. Via Siri:You will only have to invoke the assistant and say make a FaceTime call to…, followed by the name of the person as you have it saved in contacts. If you want it to be a voice call, the command is similar: make a FaceTime voice call to…. In iMessage:you can from the Messages application, as long as the other person has their associated Apple ID, find the option to call them through FaceTime. It also works for group chats, being able to start a call with all of them.

Calls to Android and Windows

As we have already mentioned in previous sections, the calls made to users with these operating systems are made via the web, but for them, since in your case you can continue to use the native app of your device. To do this, simply follow these steps:

  1. Open FaceTime on your device.
  2. Click on Create link.
  3. Choose an option to share it (AirDrop, Messages, Notes…). You can also directly copy the link to the clipboard.
  4. Share this link with another person, either by one of the ways suggested in the previous point or by pasting the link on WhatsApp, Telegram or any other application.

When the other person receives the link, they simply have to enter it through their browser, accept the conditions, choose a name and give them the corresponding access permissions to the camera and microphone. It must be said that this method of creating links will also be valid for sharing it with people who do have an Apple device, who will access it directly from their FaceTime application.

Types of video calls

As we have already mentioned, in this application you can perform video calls which, as the name suggests, not only involves having voice but also video. Although any of the participants can later mute or hide the video, either temporarily or for the entire video call. On the other hand, we find the possibility also mentioned of doing voice calls which are identical to a conventional call, only through the internet.

In fact, we like to emphasize this last internet point due to the urgent need to have a good connection. There are times when you do have network access, but it is a slow connection. Precisely this could be the cause of problems during calls, so it is advisable to always make them via WiFi and also make sure you have optimal speed.

Individual and group calls

Whether in one of the aforementioned video calls or voice calls, you can find the possibility of making calls individual between two people (you and another), but also called group . Regarding the latter, there are some peculiarities that you should know:

  • iOS 12 and macOS 10.14 or later are required to make calls of this type.
  • The participant limit is set at 32 (counting you too).
  • You can make individual calls and then, using the Add button, add participants.
  • It is possible to remove participants from the video call and add others at any time.

Switch a normal call to FaceTime

If you are making a normal voice call, it is possible to turn this into a FaceTime video call. Of course, for this you must meet the requirement that the person you are talking to has FaceTime activated and you have it in contacts. If this is true, you will only have to enter the call, press the corresponding FaceTime button and that call will automatically hang up and the video will start, although the other person must accept said call.

pass call to facetime

Options available during calls

A voice call in FaceTime has an interface similar to that of a normal phone call, and you can have the option to mute yourself, hang up and little else. However, when it comes to a video call, be it individual or group, you can access some settings such as the ones mentioned below.

change the camera

If you're using an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, you'll see that the front camera is always activated by default, although you can switch it to the rear at any time, so that other people can see you or what's in front of you. To do this, you simply have to press the button in the form of a camera that appears in the options and in which it precisely says change camera.

And we have referred to those devices with iOS and iPadOS because, of course, on a Mac you cannot perform this action. Computers only have one camera and therefore you can't switch to another one that doesn't exist. Unfortunately, not even connecting a second camera to this can be done, although at a given moment the other camera can be configured as the main one.

Mute microphone and hide video

At a given moment you may want to cough, talk to another person who is with you and therefore you want to silence yourself so as not to disturb. Well, on the microphone button you can mute yourself at any time and give yourself a voice again just by pressing it. Normally it appears with the mute sign, so like the previous one it does not have much loss and this is an option available on all devices with FaceTime.

facetime video call mac iphone

Similarly, there are times when you may prefer that the other person does not see you and you can hide the camera. To do this, you won't need to cover it with your finger or anything similar, since all you have to do is press the camera-shaped icon that appears on the screen. You can then put it back at any time.

Take pictures during calls

During a video call it is possible to take a screenshot in ‘Live Photo’ of the participants. To do this, you must press the capture button that is identical to that of the Camera app on an iPhone. Those photos will be saved in the Photos app, and unlike a normal capture, they will crop the box you appear in, along with the various settings boxes.

That yes, this it's not a secret technique with which to take photos of the other participants, since they will be aware of it because a sign will appear on their screen notifying you that you have taken a Live Photo. In the same way that you can find out if someone takes a photograph without permission.

image effects

In an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch there are a series of effects that, although they may vary depending on the model of the device, are usually the same in all as long as you have the latest software version available. Here are some of them:

    Memoji stickers:you can place anywhere a fixed sticker with one of the Memoji that you have created. Filters:You may add a filter to the video call so that other participants see you with different light effects, color and brightness than natural. Text:you can write anything and fix it at some point in the callout and as you move the text will stay in the same position. He drew:a drawing can be made by hand and fixed in the same way as the previous options. Animoji and Memoji:it is possible to hide your face with one of these elements and have it follow your movement and even imitate your gestures. Others:if you have any apps with FaceTime features it will show up too. For example, from the Apple Watch Fitness app you can add the trophy stickers that you have obtained with the watch.

Facetime effects

Background blur effect

Although it is one more effect like those of the previous section, we believe it is convenient to highlight it especially due to its particularities. Apple doesn't call it a blur effect as such, but calls it Portrait mode as well as its photo modality on iPhone and iPad, since in the end it is just that: blur the background and keep the subject in focus.

If you want to activate this function during FaceTime video calls, you will find it in the same section of effects mentioned previously, being able to activate and deactivate it at any time and without implying that the rest of the effects are deleted. Occasionally, it is also possible to find it by opening the control center if you are on an iOS or iPadOS device.

mute background noise

One of the great novelties introduced by Apple in recent times is precisely related to noisy environments. If you're making a FaceTime call in an environment with a lot of background noise (construction works, other people's conversations, music, etc.), you can choose an option whereby the other participants only hear your voice.

facetime noise cancellation

For it, if you're on an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad you must lower the control center during the video call and choose the option voice isolation . On a Mac, this option will appear in the upper menu bar, towards the right, and you can also find it in both cases with the Standard and Background sound options. It should be noted that this noise cancellation is surprising for its good operation according to the tests that we have carried out both ourselves and other users.

Share screen

If you meet the requirements of having a device running iOS 15.1, iPadOS 15.1, or macOS 12.1 or later, you may find the option enabled. As its name indicates and as in other applications, it is possible display the content of your screen to the rest of the participants, staying in a corner of it if you wish (if not, simply deactivate the camera).

On iPhone, iPod touch and iPad will appear in the upper right corner with a box in which the icon of a person appears. Yes you're using a mac You will find the same icon, only at the bottom of the screen and then at the top the options to share full screen or just a window will open. Once you confirm this option, a 3-second countdown will begin until the content begins to be shared.

facetime screen sharing

It is worth noting that the function of Shareplay is also available via FaceTime. This is none other than the possibility of playing multimedia content simultaneously between call participants. From Apple TV +, Disney +, Apple Music, Twitch... If you share the content in this way, the playback controls will be unified in all, pausing and resuming the content simultaneously for all participants.

Other important aspects of the app

In addition to what has already been mentioned, there are other sections to highlight and what we could also qualify as frequent doubts. Using FaceTime on other devices apart from those mentioned, limitations, how to eliminate it... We will analyze all of this in these last sections.

Works on Apple TV and HomePod

We said at the beginning that there are certain Apple devices that, despite not having a FaceTime application as such, can be recipients of this type of call. The way to do it is extremely simple. for Apple TV You will only have to duplicate the screen of your Mac, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch on this device and you will be able to make the video call through TV, but remember that in the end the rest of the participants will be watching you through the main camera of the another device.

FaceTime Apple TV Transfer the call to a HomePod It is extremely simple and it is that if you have configured the audio output through this, it will be where you can listen to the interlocutor. Obviously if it is a video call, the image will still be on the Mac, iPhone or iPad in question for obvious reasons as the HomePod does not have a screen. In the end it will act as one more speaker or as headphones, where the AirPods they also come in as an output source for the call audio.

Ability to use it on watchOS

The case of Apple Watch and FaceTime calls is similar to the previous ones. can be make and receive voice calls on the clock, but not the video ones. While it is true that the screen of the Apple Watch could give for this, even if it is very small, the absence of a camera makes it impractical. Although, in any case, it does not support screen sharing from another device either.

To make a FaceTime voice call on the Watch, all you have to do is use Siri with commands similar to those explained in previous sections. You can also open the Phone app, go to Contacts, select the person you want to call, and select the FaceTime audio option.

Limitations of this service

Despite everything shown, FaceTime is not a perfect service. If we compare it with other applications we can see that perhaps it lacks a certain professional order. In other words, it can be a very interesting application for use by family and friends, but not so much in professional settings. Obviously it will depend on the type of meeting you want to carry out, but there are some features missing in FaceTime that could be missing, among which the following stand out:

  • There is no chat during the video call.
  • Inability to mute other participants.
  • It is not possible to schedule video calls.
  • You can't change the background during a video call, although you can blur it.
  • It usually consumes a lot of battery.
  • It requires a stable and fast internet connection so that there are no cuts.
  • Turn down the local sound of the device it is being used on.

How to remove FaceTime from devices

The application as such cannot be deleted, since it is one of the native Apple applications that cannot be uninstalled. It can be hidden in some folder or Apps Library in the case of the iPhone, but not completely deleted. What it is possible to do is turn off FaceTime so that you cannot be contacted through those means.

The way to do it is really similar to the activation way. From an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Ve a FaceTime.
  3. Disable the FaceTime tab.

In a mac computer These are the steps to follow:

  1. Open the FaceTime app.
  2. In the top menu, click on FaceTime.
  3. Now click on Preferences.
  4. Click Sign out.