Make Video Calls with FaceTime from Mountain Lion

In the beginning, FaceTime brought video calling to the iPhone 4. It was iPhone 4-to-iPhone 4 only and required Wi-Fi (not 3G). Still, it was pretty cool and worked quite well. Not surprisingly, it soon spread to the second and third generation iPads, the iPod touch, and in OS X Lion, the Mac as well.

One of Messages features is video chat. Alas, Messages can only video chat with folks on Macs or PCs; FaceTime lets you do it with other Mac users as well as users of iPhone 4s, iPads, and iPod touches.

In addition to its aforementioned video-with-iDevices prowess, FaceTime works very nicely for Mac-to-Mac video calls. And because it’s a single-purpose application, many users find it easier and less intimidating to set up and use than Messages or Skype.

By the way, there’s no Windows version of FaceTime at the moment, so you’ll have to use Messages (or third-party software like Skype) to have cross-platform video chats.

To get started, just launch FaceTime from either your Applications folder, your LaunchPad, or your Dock, and the main (only) FaceTime window appears.

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The left side of the window shows what your Mac’s camera is seeing.

In the following figure, you can see the first caller clicked the iPhone entry to initiate a call from his Mac to his wife’s iPhone. She was at the football game with his son, and he was soon talking to both of them.

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FaceTime uses Mountain Lion’s Contacts, so if you have friends or family who have an iPhone 4, iPad 2 or later, iPod touch, or a Mac, just click their phone number or e-mail address to initiate a video call.

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