Ready for video chat? How to Group FaceTime
Always chatting with one person on FaceTime? It’s old school. Since 2018, Apple’s video call tool supports chatting with up to 32 people. Using the FaceTime or Messages app, you can call multiple people at once or add all of your friends to an existing call.
Once inside the call, participants can add filters, text, Animoji, Memoji, and other effects. And with the update to iOS 15 or iPadOS 15, you can now invite people on Android or Windows devices to join the call. New audio features such as spatial and microphone audio modes improve call quality, while Portrait mode allows users to blur their backgrounds and the grid view can help organize chat better.
Group FaceTime video calls are supported on iPhone 6s or later, iPad Pro or later, iPad Air 2 or later, iPad mini 4 or later, and iPad 5e generation or later. Older devices running iOS 12.1.4 or later can participate in a group call, but they will only receive the audio stream and no video.
Before making your first call, especially if you want to include Android or Windows users, make sure you are running the latest version of the operating system. Open Settings > General > Software Update on your iPhone or iPad, and your device will let you know if the operating system is up to date. If not, you will be prompted to download and install the latest update.
To do this on a Mac, click the Apple icon and select About This Mac. Click on Software update > Update now. You can also ask your potential attendees if they are up to date as well.
To start a group video call from FaceTime on an updated Apple device, open the FaceTime app and select New FaceTime. If the person you want to call is among the selected contacts, tap that person’s icon. Otherwise, enter the person’s name, phone number, or email address and select them from the results.
If the person is in your device’s contact list, you can also tap the plus (+) icon in the AT field, select their name, and then select their phone number or email address.
You can then add multiple contacts in the AT: domain. If the FaceTime icon turns gray, it usually means one of the participants doesn’t have an Apple device or is still using an older operating system that’s incompatible with Group FaceTime.
After adding all participants, tap the phone icon to make an audio call; otherwise, press the FaceTime button to make a video call.
Create a link
Apple’s iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 let you include Android and Windows users in your FaceTime calls. To set it up, open the FaceTime app and click the Create a link button. At the top of the sharing windows, tap Add name to give the call a unique name. Faucet Okay, then choose the app or service through which you’ll share the link: Mail, Messages, AirDrop, etc. You can also copy the link and send it directly to people.
If you select the New FaceTime icon and add a non-Apple device, a prompt will appear asking you to invite them via SMS. You can choose another option, but an SMS is the easiest way. Press the Invite with messages to add them to the call.
Once the link is created and sent, the call will be listed in the FaceTime app under the Upcoming section. Select the call and press the To rejoin button to start the call.
Anyone who receives the link to your meeting can simply select the link, then enter their name and press Continue. Now all they have to do is hit the To rejoin button to enter the call.
Back on your side, you must then authorize each participant to participate in the call. Tap or swipe up on the call name at the bottom of the screen to see the names of people who want to join. Tap the green tick next to their names to allow each participant to join the call.
Make a call from iMessage
You can also make a Group FaceTime call through iMessage as long as there is an existing thread involving those people. Open iMessage and tap on the group chat thread for the people you want to call.
Tap the video icon at the top of the screen and select Video. The FaceTime call is then passed to everyone in that thread and the active call will show up in your chat. Each person must tap the notification to join the call.
Add participants during a live call
Forgot to invite someone? You can add people after the call has already started. To do this, start the call with at least one other participant. Tap the screen and tap or swipe the name of the call from the icons at the bottom.
To select Add people, then enter the person’s name or number or press the plus (+) to view your contacts and select the person you want to call. Once you find the person, press Add people or choose the Invite with messages option if the person does not have an Apple device.
Edit call appearances
Most of us probably won’t chat with more than 30 people on a FaceTime call; it’s hard enough to follow the conversation even with half a dozen people. This will vary depending on the view you select for the call.
By default, everyone is placed in their own floating thumbnail window. The person currently speaking is highlighted and appears at the top of the screen, while other participants appear below. Caller windows resize based on activity, including talk time, speech volume, and person movement. You can also tap a person to expand their window.
A new feature added with iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey is called Grid View, which aligns all callers in an ordered grid of windows. If you prefer this format, tap or swipe up on the call name at the bottom of the screen, then select Grid Layout.
Add effects to your call
Want to spice up your face during a FaceTime call? Add stickers, text, shapes, Animoji, Memoji, filters and other effects. Tap the screen, then tap the star icon in the small icon panel. From there, tap the icon of the effect you want to add.
Portrait mode has now been added to FaceTime calls so you can blur the background. Activate it by selecting your window and tapping the person icon in the upper left corner.
Restart an old call
If you want to call the same people at another time in the future, you don’t need to add everyone again. Just open FaceTime, swipe down the list of previous calls, and tap the one you want.