How to Use FaceTime Video on Your iPhone
Using FaceTime video is as easy as making a regular call on the iPhone. Plus, FaceTime comes with at least two major benefits besides the video:
FaceTime calls don’t count against your regular minutes, though they will count against your data plan allotment if you make these calls over a cellular connection (a new feature in iOS 6).
The audio quality on FaceTime calls, those over Wi-Fi anyway, is superior to a regular cell phone connection.
But FaceTime also has a couple of major caveats:
Both you and the party you’re talking to must have an iPhone 4, 4S, or 5, an iPad 2 or later model, a Mac computer, or a recent iPod touch. (Okay, so maybe that’s not much of a caveat after all — the list of compatible devices keeps growing.)
Apple is pushing to make FaceTime a video standard that the entire tech industry can embrace, allowing you to someday (and maybe even by the time you read this) make FaceTime calls from iPhones and other Apple devices to other handsets and computers that don’t carry an Apple logo. Skype, among others, also lets you make video calls on the iPhone over a much broader range of devices.
Both you and the caller at the other end have to access Wi-Fi or a robust cellular connection. The capability to use FaceTime over cellular was another iOS 6 addition. The quality of the experience depends on a solid connection.
If you meet the requirements, here’s how to make FaceTime happen:
The first time you make a FaceTime call to another iPhone, dial the person’s regular iPhone number as usual.
Use an e-mail address instead if you’re using FaceTime to call an iPod touch, an iPad, or a Mac.
After a regular call is established and you’ve broached the subject of going video, you can tap the FaceTime button.
A few seconds later, the other person gets the option to Decline or Accept the FaceTime invitation by tapping the red button or the green button, respectively. If the answer is Accept, you’ll need to wait a few seconds before you can see the other person.
You can also use the Siri voice assistant to make a FaceTime call. Just ask Siri to FaceTime with Dad or whomever else you’d want to engage in a video call, and she’ll make the proper arrangements.
When someone requests FaceTime with you, you’ll appreciate being able to politely decline a FaceTime call. Cool as it can be to see and be seen, ask yourself if you really want to be seen, say, when you just got out of bed.
Search for any FaceTime calls you previously made by tapping an entry for that call in Recents. The iPhone knows to take the call straight to video, though of course the person you’re talking to has to accept the invitation each time.
You can do FaceTime also by tapping a pal’s listings in Contacts.
So what is a FaceTime call like? First-time reactions are gleeful. Not only are you seeing the other person, but the quality of the video is also typically good. You also see your own mug in a small picture-in-picture (PiP) window, which you can drag to a corner of the screen.
The PiP image represents what the other person sees, so it’s a good way of knowing, short of the other person telling you, if your face has dropped out of the frame.
You can use FaceTime in portrait or landscape mode. You might find it easier to bring another person into a scene in landscape mode.
Apple says the front camera has been fine-tuned for FaceTime usage, which in photography-speak means the camera has the proper field of view and focal length. But at times, you’ll want to employ the iPhone’s main camera on the rear to best show off your surroundings and give the caller an idea of where you are.
To toggle between the front and main cameras, tap the icon at the bottom-right corner of the screen.
If you want to mute a FaceTime video call, tap the microphone icon with the slash running through it. The caller can continue to see you but not hear you.
Although many FaceTime calls commence with a regular AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon call, you can’t go from FaceTime to an audio-only call without hanging up and redialing. Similarly, if you drop a FaceTime call because of a Wi-Fi hiccup or some other problem, you’ll have to redial via FaceTime or your provider, depending on whether you want the call to be video or only audio.
To block all FaceTime calls, tap Settings from the Home screen, tap Phone, and make sure FaceTime is off. If you can’t find the FaceTime button or wonder why you’re not getting FaceTime calls, go back to Settings and make sure this option is turned on.
While you're in FaceTime Settings, note that you can list one or more e-mail addresses by which a caller can reach you for a video call, along with your iPhone’s phone number.
If you want to momentarily check out another iPhone app while on a FaceTime call, press the Home button and then tap the icon for the app you have in mind. At this point, you can still talk over FaceTime, but you’ll no longer see the person. Tap the green bar at the top of the screen to bring the person back in front of you.
And there you have it. That’s FaceTime, one of the coolest features in the iPhone.