Can You Use FaceTime on Windows?

Father with son working from home

Ariel Skelley/Getty Images

Apple's FaceTime video calling technology is one of the coolest features of the iPhone. Not long after it debuted on the iPhone, Apple added FaceTime support to the Mac, too. This lets users to make video calls between any iOS devices and Macs using FaceTime. But what about PC owners? Can they use FaceTime on Windows?

Unfortunately for Windows users, there is no way to use FaceTime on Windows.

But don't despair, Windows users. When you boil it down, FaceTime is just a tool for video calling and video chatting. There are lots of apps for both Windows and Windows Phone that offer that, so it's not like you can't use the feature at all. It's just that there's no official FaceTime app for Windows made by Apple.

FaceTime Is Not an Open Standard

In 2010, when he introduced FaceTime at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference, then-Apple CEO Steve Jobs said: "We're going to the standards bodies, starting tomorrow, and we're going to make FaceTime an open industry standard." That would have meant that anyone would be able to create software that is compatible with FaceTime. This would have opened the doors to third-party developers creating all kinds of FaceTime-compatible programs, including those that run on Windows (and, presumably, other platforms, like Android).

Since then, though, there's been very little discussion of making FaceTime an open standard. In fact, it seems likely that FaceTime will never become a cross-platform standard. That's both because Apple hasn't made any moves in that direction after so many years, but also because the company probably views FaceTime as something that's unique to the Apple ecosystem. Apple may prefer to keep FaceTime to itself to drive sales of the iPhone and other Apple products.

This means that there's no way for someone using Windows to make a FaceTime call to someone using an iOS device or a Mac (or for someone on an iOS device to call to a Windows user using FaceTime). 

Alternatives for FaceTime on Windows

Even though FaceTime doesn't work on Windows, there are some other programs that offer similar video-chat features and they work across many operating systems. As long as you and the person you want to call both have these programs, you can make video calls to each other, no matter what kind of device you use. Whether you have Windows, Android, macOS, or iOS, try these video-calling programs:

  • Glide: Glide puts an interesting twist on video calling. Sure, you can use it to chat with friends via video, but you can also record short video clips and send them to friends to watch later. Add in the ability to have a group chat with up to 50 people and to send texts and you've got a compelling app. Works on Android, iOS, and Windows.

    As of late 2017, the developers of Glide are no longer supporting Windows phones. The app still works, and you can still get it, but there will be no updates or support going forward.

  • imoThis popular texting and video calling app works on Android, iOS, and Windows. It adds support for sending stickers, and encrypting your communications for greater security.

  • iMovicha: A free video chat app for iOS, Windows Phone, Android, macOS, and Windows. Like Facetime, iMovicha works over 3G and 4G LTE cellular data networks, not just Wi-Fi.

  • Skype: One of the most well known, and most widely used, video chat apps. Skype works on macOS, iOS, Windows, Android, Linux, and many other platforms. The software and some uses are free; you can even record Skype calls, for example. Add additional features range in price from US$0.01/minute for some calls to $8.99/month for certain plans.

  • Viber: Viber claims to have over 500 million users worldwide, so if you need to connect with people internationally, it could be a good bet. It doesn't have ads and supports dozens of languages.

  • WeChat: Another app for Windows Phone that also has Android and iOS versions making communication easy. WeChat is huge in China, so if you communicate with people there, this could be a good option. 

  • WhatsAppPerhaps the most widely used chat platform other than WeChat and iMessage, WhatsApp has hundreds of millions of users worldwide, on nearly every conceivable kind of device. Use it to text, send photos and videos, make free voice calls, and – of course – video calls.

  • Yahoo Messenger: Another chat program with video features. The free Yahoo Messenger offers video chats to Windows and macOS users.

FaceTime on Android?

Of course, Windows isn't the only other major operating system out there. There are millions and millions of Android devices in use, too. If you're an Android user, you may be asking: Can I use FaceTime on Android?