I Wish There Was More to FaceTime on Android

Some functionality is better than none

Key Takeaways

  • iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 bring the ability to create links for FaceTime calls, which Android and even Windows users can use to join the call.
  • Though it still suffers from a few minor performance hiccups in the current beta, the system is very simple and straightforward.
  • Altogether, FaceTime on Android is nice, but I do wish that Apple had made it all more standalone.
woman laying down on FaceTime

Oscar Wong / Getty Images

Apple has finally brought FaceTime to Android, and while it isn’t the best thing ever, it’s still better than going without.

One of the most significant announcements out of the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) this year was that Apple would finally bring FaceTime support to Android and Windows devices with the release of iOS 15.

It’s a big move and one that many have wanted for a number of years now. So with the first developer beta for iOS 15 hitting the internet, I decided to take the feature for a try to see if it delivers the FaceTime experience on something other than an iPhone.

Unfortunately, FaceTime on Android feels more like a shell of the app than an actual useful feature that you can use daily.

"I’d be lying if I didn’t say that part of me wishes that Apple had given Android users more control."

Limited Run

If you were hoping for a proper FaceTime app on Android, I’m sorry to report that isn’t the case. Instead, Apple has essentially turned FaceTime on iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 into a video caller that you can create links for.

These links can then be sent to users with Android phones, and they can join that specific call. Unfortunately, at the moment, there’s no way to make any calls on Android, and once you leave the call that you joined, you’ll need to be reinvited to another call to join in on video chats.

It’s a workable system, and it delivers on Apple’s promise to easily connect non-iPhone users with its devices. However, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that part of me wishes that Apple had given Android users more control.

Of course, I understand wanting to keep the primary appeal of the app on its own devices. Still, it seems like a missed opportunity given some of Apple’s recent pushes to make its own devices more interoperable with those of other big tech companies like Amazon and Google.

Since the introduction of the first iOS and Android devices, the smartphone world has mostly stood divided, and this would have been a fantastic chance to close that gap by making one of iOS’s best features work more seamlessly on Android.

As far as general performance goes, I didn’t notice too many issues with my test calls. Much like regular FaceTime, running on Wi-Fi is your best bet unless you just happen to have a great mobile connection in your area.

It took a few moments for the video to load properly when testing on my Android phone, and I noticed a few freezes here and there. This is all to be expected, though, especially as the new link feature is currently in beta. Apple has plenty of time to iron out those kinks before iOS 15’s official release later this year.

Keep it Simple

While I’d love to see more control for Android users, I do have to applaud Apple on how well FaceTime just works between iOS and Android OS devices. By creating a link, you’re able to invite your friends to join the call via a web video call system. It’s easy to create a link and even easier to choose how you want to share it.

The updated FaceTime Links screen in FaceTime

Apple

Once you’ve shared the link, you can control who can join, users can enter in their own specific name, and you can even have users from other iOS devices join normally. There’s also an option to add people directly from the call, itself, in case you decide to add someone else after the fact. 

It’s a very simple system that just about anybody should be able to utilize, which has always been one of those things that makes features like FaceTime so accessible on iPhone and iPad.

To test just how easy it was, I set up a call and invited my mom to it. She’s not the most technologically savvy person in the world, but she was able to jump in and start chatting with me in less than a few minutes—all without me having to provide any additional direction on how to set it up.

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