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? There's one major obstacle–but also some pretty easy ways around it.

There's No Group FaceTime—Yet

The biggest challenge to having a group FaceTime video call is that FaceTime simply doesn't support it—yet. Apple has announced that iOS 12—which will be released in Fall 2018—will support group FaceTime video calls for up to 32 people at once. Until then, and for anyone who doesn't upgrade to iOS 12, FaceTime only supports video calls between two people.

While Apple originally announced Group FaceTime as being part of the first iOS 12 release (likely to come in September 2018), the company said in August 2018 that the feature would be delayed to "a future software update later this fall [2018]."

How to Group FaceTime in iOS 12

Once the version of iOS 12 with Group FaceTime arrives (or if you install Apple's free public beta now), FaceTime chats with multiple people will become easy. You'll be able to 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 FaceTime 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.
  4. Tap Video to begin your group FaceTime call.

How to Group FaceTime from Messages on an iPhone or iPad

For this to work, you either need an existing group conversation or to create a new one.

  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

This requires either a beta, or the full version, of macOS 10.14 Mojave, which also arrives in Fall 2018.

  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.

Pretty easy, right? But, remember, you have to wait for these options until Fall 2018. However, there are some add-on tools that can deliver a FaceTime group chat right now.

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. These apps 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

The one 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.

Other Options for Group Video Calls

There may not be group FaceTime video chat using FaceTime itself, but if "FaceTime" means any video-chatting tool, there are lots of other options 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: