How to Group FaceTime

Get family and friends together for video calls

group video chat

image credit: Michael Haegele/Corbis/Getty Images

Using FaceTime to see the person you're talking to is great, and a group FaceTime should be even better. So how do you group FaceTime with three or more people?

How to Group FaceTime in iOS 12 and up

Once you've got iOS 12.1 installed on your phone, FaceTime chats with multiple people will become easy. You can start those chats from within the pre-installed Messages and FaceTime apps on the iPhone and iPad, and from the FaceTime program on the Mac. Here's what you need to do:

How to Group FaceTime from the FaceTime App on an iPhone or iPad

  1. Tap the FaceTime app to open it.

  2. Enter a name, email, or phone number in the bar at the top, or tap + to select a contact from your address book.

  3. Enter up to 30 more contacts (the total number of people who can be on a call is 32).

  4. Tap Video to begin your group FaceTime call.

Group FaceTime video is not available on some older Apple devices. If you've got an iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, iPad Air, or iPod touch, you can only do Group FaceTime audio calls. More on those later in this article.

How to Group FaceTime from the Messages App on an iPhone or iPad

Group FaceTime screenshot

For this to work, you either need an existing group conversation or to create a new one. With that done, follow these steps:

  1. Open Messages.

  2. Open the group conversation that you want to use for a video chat.

  3. Tap the rounded photos and avatars for the group at the top center of the screen.

  4. Tap FaceTime.

How to Group FaceTime from FaceTime on a Mac

Having group FaceTime calls on the Mac requires that you're running macOS 10.14 Mojave. If you are, just follow these steps:

  1. Open the FaceTime program.

  2. Enter a name, email, or phone number in the bar at the top, or click + to select a contact from your address book.

  3. Enter up to 30 additional contacts.

  4. Click Video.

FaceTime isn't the first video calling app that lets you call multiple people at once. Here are some add-on tools that can also deliver a group video calls.

Group FaceTime with iMessage Apps

Apple introduced iMessage apps in iOS 10. These are mini-apps that you can add to Messages, the texting app that comes pre-installed on every iPhone and iPad, to add features and functionality on top of iMessage. Some iMessage apps deliver group video chat.

While there are always new apps being added, a few of the current apps that deliver group video chat include:

  • Google Hangouts: Video chat with up to 10 people. Free
  • Houseparty: No information on participant limits, if any. Free
  • JusTalk Group Video: No information on participant limits, if any. Free, with in-app purchases
  • Rooms Live: Video chat with up to 5 people. Free.

Learn how to find and install iMessage apps in How to Get iMessage Apps and Stickers for iPhone.

Group FaceTime Audio Calls

Another kind of group communication that FaceTime supports by default is audio calls. Apple added the ability to make phone calls using FaceTime technology in iOS 7. These are just like normal phone calls, but sent through Apple instead of your phone company.

The iPhone's Phone app supports conference calls for up to 3 people. FaceTime Audio also supports group calls for up to 3 people. To use it, place a FaceTime Audio call, then add a third party to the call in the same way you would during a normal phone call.

With the release of iOS 12.1 and Group FaceTime, the number of people you can have Group FaceTime audio calls with is now also 32, just like for video.

Other Options for Group Video Calls

Besides FaceTime, there are lots of other apps that offer group video chat that run on the iPhone and iPad.

Everyone you want to group video chat with needs to have these apps installed on their device, which is where these apps have an advantage over FaceTime. FaceTime only works on Apple devices running the iOS and macOS. Other video-chat apps run on iOS and macOS, and also on Android, Windows Mobile, and Windows. That means you can chat with much wider range of people. These apps include: