How to Fix a Black Screen on FaceTime

It could be audio, settings, or something else. These tips will help

The whole point of FaceTime goes away if all you end up with is a blank or black screen. While audio communication is effective, there's nothing like seeing someone's face. Let's take a look at why your FaceTime calls are only a black screen rather than friends and family.

FaceTime in use by couple on couch
Elizabeth Fernández / Getty Images

Causes of a Black Screen on FaceTime

There are several reasons for a black screen on FaceTime. Something as simple as a software setting to a hardware failure could be the issue. Here are some potential causes for a black screen on FaceTime:

  • The camera is off or disabled.
  • The camera isn't working.
  • The camera is in use by another app.
  • Something is obstructing the camera lens.
  • A poor or no internet connection.

How to Fix FaceTime Black Screen Issues

Most fixes for a black screen on FaceTime are things you can do at home. With a bit of time and patience, you should be able to get FaceTime back up and running. Let's review a few potential fixes below.

  1. Is this an audio-only call? Check that you haven't accidentally chosen an audio-only call. This is perhaps the most innocent reason why you can sometimes see a black screen when using FaceTime. When you make an audio-only call, you see a FaceTime button in the middle of the screen when speaking. Select this button to switch to a video call.

  2. Is the camera lens blocked? Check that you or your caller aren't blocking the camera lens. It can sometimes happen when a misplaced thumb or finger puts the device's camera out of action, leaving you with a black screen.

  3. Which camera are you using? Check to see which camera is selected. You might have the front camera enabled instead of the selfie camera.

  4. Have you turned off the device lately? If not, restart the device. Yes, this is another simple option, but it works in some cases, given that restarts close all open apps. It might be what's needed to get FaceTime working properly again.

  5. Is the camera busy? Check that your device's camera isn't being used by another app. Sometimes, black screens are caused by another app that's open on the device and using the device's camera. Because this additional app is already occupying your camera, you'll have to close it before you can get the video part of your FaceTime call working properly again.

  6. Do you have a good internet connection? Check your internet connection to find out if your connection is strong. One possible reason your FaceTime video isn't working is that your internet connection is experiencing a problem or isn't particularly great. If you use a Wi-Fi network, make sure you're as close to the Wi-Fi router as possible.

  7. Is FaceTime blocked on the receiver's end? Check that you or your caller doesn't have a restriction on FaceTime. Access restrictions (for example, parental controls) don't give you a black screen while in the middle of the call. Instead, restrictions prevent you from successfully making a video call if your receiver has removed access to FaceTime on their device. As such, ask your receiver to go to Settings, and then check Restrictions (in iOS 11 or earlier systems, via General) or Screen Time (in iOS 12 or later).

  8. Is your device up to date? If it isn't, update the device's operating system. Updates can resolve underlying software issues that may cause a FaceTime black screen. As such, if there is a new version of iOS or macOS available, it's a good idea to update your iPhone, iPad, or Mac to it.

  9. Did the above fixes not work? If you still experience issues, perform a factory reset of the device. This is a drastic option and should be performed only if none of the above options resolves your FaceTime black screen issues. As previous Lifewire guides for iPhone, iPad, and Mac explain, factory resets should generally be performed only after backing up your device.

  10. Do you need more help? Go to an Apple Store or an authorized repair shop. This is the final option available for FaceTime black screen issues and should be taken only if none of the above methods worked.