Make Free Calls With FaceTime

Save your voice minutes

FaceTime is a built-in iOS and macOS app that runs on Apple devices. With the release of iOS 7, FaceTime added the option for users to make free voice calls internationally over Wi-Fi or mobile data plans. This was not possible in previous versions, which allowed only video calls. Getting free voice calling up and running on your mobile Apple device is quick and easy, and then you'll be able to make calls without using cellular minutes.

Why Voice and Not Video?

Facetime on iPad and iPhone
Apple, Inc.

Not that video isn’t cool: An image is worth a thousand words, and a video is worth millions. But there are moments in which you might prefer to make a simple voice call. The primary reason is data consumption. Video calling consumes bandwidth, and over cellular networks (which generally are rated per MB of data consumed), it becomes quite expensive. Voice calling requires much less bandwidth, which means it's much less expensive if you're on a metered plan. Another reason: We simply don't always want to be seen.


To make and receive voice calls on FaceTime, you need an Apple device that runs iOS 7 or MacOS 10.9.2 or later. You can upgrade mobile devices that run former iOS versions, but the earliest you can upgrade is the iPhone 4 for smartphones and iPad 2 for tablets.

You'll need an internet connection, too; it's the means by which FaceTime bypasses your cellular network. You can use your Wi-Fi network, which will make everything completely free (except for any fees you're paying for Wi-Fi), but it's bound to its range limitation. Data plans can keep you connected anywhere but do cost something, although this is much less than you would pay for cellular calls.

Setting up FaceTime

You don’t need to install FaceTime; it's already bundled with the device's operating system. Any version prior to iOS 7 does not support voice calling on FaceTime.

The numbers in your contacts list are already indexed by FaceTime, so you don’t have to enter any numbers you already use frequently. In fact, you can launch a call right from your device's contact list.

To set up FaceTime (in case you just installed your OS or just received your device), go to Settings and select FaceTime. Turn the app on by touching the on/off switch and then select Use your Apple ID for FaceTime. Enter your Apple ID and password. Your phone number will automatically be detected. Complete the registration and confirm.

Making a FaceTime Call

Open the FaceTime app, and enter the phone number or email address you want to call. If the person you want to call is in your Contacts app, you can simply type in the name. Then, just click the Audio button to make an audio-only call.

During a call, you can switch to and from video calling. Video calling, of course, will be subject to your approval and to that of your correspondent. You can end the call by pressing the End button at the bottom, as usual.

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