How to FaceTime on Any iOS Device

Grandparents using video chat, facetime, skype service to talk to a mother and son

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FaceTime, Apple's video- and audio-calling technology, is one of the most exciting features that the iPhone and iPod touch have to offer. It's fun to see the person you're talking to, not just hear them — especially if it's someone you haven't seen in a long time or don't get to see often.

In order to use FaceTime, you need:

  • An iPhone 4 and newer, 4th generation iPod touch or newer, iPad 2 and newer
  • A Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or higher with the FaceTime app installed
  • Access to a Wi-Fi or 3G/4G LTE network.

Using FaceTime is pretty easy, but there are a few things you need to know in order to use FaceTime on iPhone or iPod touch.

How to Make a FaceTime Call

  1. Begin by ensuring that FaceTime is turned on for your iPhone. You may have enabled it when you first set up your device.

    If you didn't, or aren't sure you did, begin by tapping the Settings app on your home screen. What you do next depends on what version of the iOS you're running. In the most recent versions, scroll down to the FaceTime option and tap the on/off slider so that it's on/green. On some older versions of the iOS, scroll down to Phone and tap it. Either way, when you're on the correct screen, make sure the FaceTime on/off slider is set to on/green.

  2. On that screen, you also need to make sure that you've got a phone number, email address, or both set up for use with FaceTime. To use an email, tap Use your Apple ID for FaceTime (on older versions, tap Add an Email and follow the instructions). Phone numbers are only present on the iPhone and can only be the number connected to your iPhone.

  3. When FaceTime debuted, its calls could only be made when the iPhone was connected to a Wi-Fi network (phone companies blocked FaceTime calls over their 3G cellular networks), but that's no longer true. Now, you can make FaceTime calls either over Wi-Fi or 3G/4G/5G LTE. So, as long as you have a network connection, you can make a call. If you can, though, connect your iPhone to a Wi-Fi network before using FaceTime. Video chats require a lot of data and using Wi-Fi won't eat up your monthly data limit.

  4. Once those requirements are met, there are two ways to FaceTime someone. First, you can simply call them as you normally would and then tap the FaceTime button when it lights up after the call begins. You will only be able to tap the button when calling FaceTime-enabled devices.

  5. Alternatively, you can browse through your iPhone's contacts, the FaceTime app built into iOS, or your Messages app. In any of those locations, find the person you want to call and tap on their name. Then tap the FaceTime button (it looks like a small camera) on their page in your address book.

  6. If you're running iOS 7 or higher, you have the added option of a FaceTime Audio call. In that case, you can use the FaceTime technology for just a voice call, which saves you from using your monthly cell phones minutes and sends your call through Apple's servers instead of your phone company's. In that case, you'll see either a phone icon next to the FaceTime menu further down their contact page or will get a FaceTime Audio pop-up menu. Tap the phone icon in the FaceTime section if you want to call that way.

  7. Your FaceTime call will begin just like a regular call, except for that your camera will turn on and you'll immediately see yourself. The person you're placing the call to will have the chance to accept or deny your call by tapping an onscreen button (you'll have this same option if someone FaceTimes you).

    If they accept it, FaceTime will send video from your camera to them and vice versa. Both a shot of you and the person you're talking to will be on screen at the same time.

  8. End a FaceTime call by tapping the red End button on the bottom of the screen.

It's important to note that FaceTime calls can only be made to other FaceTime-compatible devices, including the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac. This means FaceTime can't be used on Android or Windows devices. If the FaceTime icon has a question mark on it when you place your call, or if it doesn't light up, it may be because the person you're calling can't accept a FaceTime call.