What You Need to Know About FaceTime

Make video and audio calls over Wi-Fi and cellular networks

FaceTime on iphone 3GS or 3G?

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FaceTime is the name for Apple's video-calling app that supports video and audio calls between compatible devices. It was originally introduced on the iPhone 4 in 2010, but it is available on most Apple devices, including iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Macs. 

FaceTime Video

FaceTime lets you make video calls to other FaceTime users very easily. It employs the user-facing digital camera on compatible devices to show the caller to the receiver, and vice versa.

FaceTime calls can be made between any two FaceTime-compatible devices, such as from iPhone 8 to iPhone X, from Mac to iPhone, or from iPad to iPod touch — the devices do not need to be the same model or type.

For many years, FaceTime only supported direct, person-to-person video calls, but as of iOS 12.1, it now supports group video calls. To learn more, check out How to Group FaceTime.

FaceTime Audio

In 2013, iOS 7 added support for FaceTime Audio. This lets you make voice-only phone calls using the FaceTime platform. With these calls, callers don't receive a video of each other, but they do receive audio. This can save on mobile plan minutes for users that would normally be used with a voice call. FaceTime audio calls do use data, however, so they will count against your monthly data limit unless you use Wi-Fi. 

FaceTime Requirements

  • On iOS devices: iOS 4 or higher
  • On Mac: Mac OS X 10.6.6 or higher, a compatible camera, the FaceTime app (this is included with OS X installation on most Macs, and available for $0.99 US on the Mac App Store for systems it is not installed on).

FaceTime Compatibility

FaceTime works on the following devices:

  • iPhone 4 and higher
  • 4th generation iPod touch and higher
  • iPad 2 and higher
  • Macs with cameras.

FaceTime does not work on older Apple devices. Learn more in Can the iPhone 3GS & iPhone 3G Run FaceTime?

FaceTime works on both Wi-Fi connections and on cellular networks. When originally released, it only worked over Wi-Fi networks, as phone companies were concerned that video calls would consume too much data bandwidth, and result in slow network performance and high data usage bills. With the introduction of iOS 6 in 2012, that restriction was removed. FaceTime calls can now be placed over 3G and 4G networks.

At its introduction in June 2010, FaceTime only worked on iOS 4 running on the iPhone 4. Support for the iPod touch was added in the fall of 2010. Support for the Mac was added in February 2010. Support for the iPad was added in March 2011, starting with the iPad 2.

FaceTime on Non-Apple Devices

FaceTime is an Apple technology and thus only runs on Apple devices. To learn more about this, and about the video-chatting options available on other platforms, check out Can You Use FaceTime on Windows? and Can You Download FaceTime For Android?

How to Make a FaceTime Call

You can make either video or audio-only calls with FaceTime.

Video Calls: To make a FaceTime call, make sure that the app is enabled in your device by going to Settings > FaceTime. If the slider is gray, tap it to activate it (it will turn green).

You can make a FaceTime video call by opening the FaceTime app and searching for a contact using a name, email address, or a phone number. Tap the contact to initiate a video call with them.

Audio-Only Calls: Open the FaceTime app. At the top of the app screen, tap Audio so that it is highlighted in blue. Search for a contact, and then tap their name to initiate an audio-only call over FaceTime.

For step-by-step instructions on how to use FaceTime, check out How to FaceTime on Any iOS Device.

Having trouble getting FaceTime to work correctly? Get tips on fixing it in Why Isn't FaceTime Working When I Make Calls?