How to Group FaceTime on iOS and Mac

You can FaceTime multiple people (up to 32)

What to Know

  • In FaceTime app: Tap New FaceTime > + > Contact > Video or Phone icon > Repeat for all callers > Facetime.
  • In Messages app: Select a group. Tap the profile images. Select Video icon > FaceTime Video or Facetime Audio.
  • Mac: Open FaceTime app > Type a contact > Select contact. Repeat for all callers. Choose Video or Audio.

This article explains how to make a group FaceTime call on devices with iOS 15 or iPadOS 15 through iOS 12.1.4 and on Macs with macOS 12 Monterey through macOS 10.14.3 Mojave.

How to Start a Group FaceTime Using the FaceTime App

There are two ways to FaceTime with multiple people on an iPad or iPhone: the FaceTime app or the Messages app, both of which are installed with the iOS and available at the App Store if you deleted them.

  1. Open the Facetime app on your iOS device.

  2. Tap the New FaceTime icon in iOS 15 or later. (Select the Plus icon in iOS 12.1.4 through iOS 14.)

  3. Next to the To field, select the Plus icon to open your contacts list.

    FaceTime screens in iOS 15
  4. Browse through the list and tap a contact you want to add to the call.

  5. On the contact's screen, tap FaceTime to add the person's name to the FaceTime To field.

    Repeat the process to add additional contacts to the call. You can also manually enter phone numbers or email addresses to invite participants or choose from the Suggested contacts.

  6. When all the names are in the To field, select Facetime to initiate the group video call. (Choose the phone icon to make an audio call instead.)

    Adding contacts to a FaceTime call
  7. Each person on the call receives an incoming call that they can accept or reject. When they accept, they appear onscreen in a tile. When a person speaks, their tile becomes prominent.

Start a Group FaceTime Using the Messages App

You can also use the Messages app to start a group FaceTime in a few steps.

  1. Open the Messages app on your iOS device.

  2. Select the group conversation you want to use for the video or audio FaceTime call.

    If there isn't a relevant group conversation to use, make a new one by composing a new text and adding the recipients to it. Send a text to the group to make it a viable starting point for a group FaceTime call.

  3. Tap the video camera icon at the top of the screen.

  4. In the drop-down menu, select FaceTime Video to start a Group FaceTime video call or select FaceTime Audio to start a group audio call.

    Starting a FaceTime call in the Messages app in iOS 15

If you're trying to make a FaceTime call from an iPhone, iPad, or Mac and it's not working, we've got tips on how to fix it.

How to Group FaceTime on a Mac

Starting a Group FaceTime call on a Mac computer is easy.

  1. Open the FaceTime app for macOS.

  2. In the search field, start typing the name of a person you want to add to the call.

    A drop-down menu shows any matches in your contacts list. Select the correct person from the list or manually enter their name, number or email address.

    FaceTime app on a Mac

    On a version of macOS older than Mojave 10.14.3, you might not be able to add multiple participants to a FaceTime call.

  3. After all the names are entered in the search field, select Video to start a Group FaceTime video call or Audio for a group voice call.

    FaceTime app on a Mac

Mac users can also initiate a Group FaceTime call from the Messages app for macOS by selecting a group's Details icon and choosing Video or Audio.

Messages app on a Mac showing group detail

How to Use FaceTime Filters

You can use filters to add a little pizzazz to your FaceTime calls.

  1. While in a FaceTime video call, tap on your personal tile (your face) to enlarge it and bring up the menu at the bottom of the screen. (If you don't see the menu, tap the star in a circle icon.)

  2. Tap one of the options in the menu. For example, tap the Memoji icon (the first one in the menu) to select that option.

  3. Select your memoji (if you've previously made one) or one of the stock memoji characters supplied in the app. The other participants on the call will hear you speaking but see the memoji talking. The effect is applied to your image for the duration of the call.

    Selection of a FaceTime memoji on iPhone
  4. The other options in the menu bar at the bottom include a filter to change your appearance and others to add text labels, stickers, or shapes.

    You can take a screenshot in FaceTIme that includes any special camera effects you add to a call.

FaceTime With Multiple People

FaceTime can be used to initiate group calls with up to 32 individuals. All the participants on the call must have the FaceTime app on an Apple device and have a cellular or Wi-Fi connection for their devices. Calling with FaceTime is easiest if you already have the person (or people) in your Contacts app or Messages app, but you can initiate a call on the fly with anyone by entering a name, phone number or email address.

Can You Switch Views on a Group FaceTime?

In a one-on-one FaceTime call, your image is displayed in a picture-in-picture window or tile, while the other caller is displayed in the main window. In a group call, the tile of the person speaking expands automatically, helping you to see the speaker better and follow the conversation.

FaceTime knows which tile to expand by monitoring the volume input of callers. There is no way to expand the tiles of various participants manually; the user must speak or make noise for their tile to expand.

Group FaceTime Alternatives

FaceTime is an Apple product, so other platforms, like Windows, don't support it. If your device doesn't support FaceTime calls or will not start a Group FaceTime video or audio call, there are alternative apps that support group calling.

Many of these alternatives work on Android, Windows, macOS, and iOS, among others, and these are usually cross-platform. For example, someone with an Android tablet can call a person with a Windows or iOS device.

Here are some examples:

  • Facebook Messenger: See up to eight people at once, but include up to 50.
  • Snapchat: Group calls are limited to 16 people.
  • Skype: Group calls are limited to 50 people.
  • Viber: Group calls are limited to 5 people.
  • WeChat: Group calls are limited to nine people.
  • Zoom: Group calls of up to 100 people.
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