There have been many of services that allow you to video chat, including the popular Skype, but none have been as easy and fun to use as Apple’s FaceTime. You can make video calls to anyone with a compatible iOS or Mac. Here’s how to use FaceTime on iPad, iPhone or Mac, along with everything you need to start making video calls today.
Compatible iOS Devices
You’ll need one of the following iOS devices running iOS 5 or later:
- iPad 2
- new iPad
- iPhone 4
- iPhone 4S
- iPod touch (fourth generation)
A Mac running Snow Leopard with a video camera. This can be either a built-in FaceTime camera, iSight Camera or a third party accessory. If you are in the market for a good video camera for your Mac for FaceTime, I’d recommend you check out cameras from Logitech. For HD video calls, you’ll need a supported Intel based Mac.
Bonus Tip: Snow Leopard is required so that you can access the Mac App Store.
Using FaceTime On A Mac
If you have recently purchased a new Mac or upgraded to Mac OS 10.8 Mountain Lion, then the FaceTime app should already be installed. If you have an older Mac, fear not, because you can easily purchase and download the app for your Mac from the Mac App Store. We mentioned the need for Snow Leopard and here is where it comes into play. The app will cost you $0.99, which is a small price to pay to stay in contact with your friends and family.
Setting Up FaceTime On Your iOS Device
Now that we’ve got the pesky hardware and software requirements behind us, let’s move on to how to set-up your iPhone or iPad for FaceTime. From your home screen, navigate to Settings > FaceTime.
- Turn FaceTime ‘On’
- Select ‘Use your Apple ID for FaceTime’. You’ll be prompted to sign in with your Apple ID or create a new Apple ID. When you first enable FaceTime, you will have to wait a few sections for Activation.
About Apple ID: This is the email address and password that you utilize for purchases through the iTunes Store, iCloud, the Apple Store and more.
New in iOS 6: When it is released this Fall, you’ll be able to make FaceTime video calls over a cellular network. If you are an AT&T customer, you will be required to have a Mobile Share Data Plan in order to utilize this feature.
Bonus Tip: Please note that using FaceTime over cellular network will result in high data usage. Be sure to check out our guide on how to manage your data usage on iPhone.
Initiating a FaceTime Call From an iPhone
There are two ways to initiate a video call from an iPhone.
- Navigate to either the Phone app and find Contacts, or simply open up the Contacts app.
- Find the person who you’d like to set up a video call.
- Scroll to the bottom and click on ‘FaceTime’.
- You’ll be presented with a number of options. If you are calling someone with an iPhone, then the preferred option is to use their mobile phone number. If they have set-up their Apple ID to accept FaceTime calls, then it will work no differently. If you are calling an iPad or Mac, then you would utilize the Apple ID or email address.
Initiating a FaceTime Call From an iPad, iPod touch or Mac
All of these devices have a dedicated FaceTime app. On your Mac, navigate to Applications > FaceTime. You’ll be prompted to sign in with your Apple ID to activate FaceTime. You’ll be asked what email address to be used for FaceTime. Click next. You should see a message about being verified.
- Find the contact for which you would like to initiate a video FaceTime call.
- Select either the phone number or email address associated with their FaceTime account. If you are calling someone with an iPhone, they will need to be within a WiFi network.
Bonus Tip: There is no way to display whether a user has a FaceTime account or if they prefer using their email or phone number.
If you are on the receiving end, simply press the Accept button to start the video call. If you look like the guy in the photos above, you can press ‘Decline’, which will end the call before it starts.
Making an audio only call
Using the process outlined above, make a video call. Once you connect, press the home button. You’ll be able to continue with the audio portion of your call.
The most important part of using FaceTime is to be sure you have the required hardware and software. The actual process of making a video call using FaceTime is relatively easy, which is the Apple way. The drawback to using FaceTime is that is is limited to Apple devices. If you are looking to create a video chat with someone on a PC or Android phone, please check out our guide on how to set-up Skype on iPhone.
If you can’t get FaceTime to work, have questions or need help, then please leave a comment or ask your question in our forums.