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 screen of nothing. Let's take a look at why your FaceTime calls are only a black screen rather than friends and family.

How to Fix FaceTime Black Screen Issues

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Let's start with the most obvious and move towards more complicated issues (hopefully it's a simple problem to fix).

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

  2. Is the camera lens blocked? Check that you or your caller aren't accidentally blocking the camera lens. This is an obvious piece of advice, but it can sometimes happen when a misplaced thumb or finger effectively puts your device's camera out of action, leaving you with a black screen.

    Related to this, if you have your device lying face up on a surface, you should check that you have the front/selfie camera selected, since in this case the rear camera will be blocked.

  3. 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 already open on your device and that's using your device's camera. Because this additional app is already occupying your camera, you'll have to close it before you'll be able to get the video part of your FaceTime call working properly again.

  4. Check your internet connection. One possible reason why your FaceTime video isn't working is that your internet connection is experiencing a problem or isn't particularly great. If you're using a Wi-Fi network, make sure you're as close to the Wi-Fi router as possible.

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

  6. Restart your device. Yes, this is another simple option, but it does work in some cases, given that restarts close all open apps. It just might be what's needed to get your FaceTime working properly again.

  7. Update your device's operating system. Updates can resolve any underlying software issue that may be causing FaceTime black screens. As such, if there is a new version of iOS or macOS available, it would be a good idea to update your iPhone, iPad or Mac to it.

  8. Perform a factory reset of your device. This is a very 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.

  9. Go to an Apple Store or an authorized repair shop. This is the final option available to people suffering from FaceTime black screens, and should once again be taken only if none of the above methods have worked.