FaceTime Video Chat Application for the iPad - dummies

FaceTime Video Chat Application for the iPad

FaceTime, the video-chat app for the iPad, exploits the two cameras built into the devices, each serving a different purpose. The front camera lets you talk face to face. The back camera shows what you’re seeing to the person you’re talking to.

To take advantage of FaceTime, here’s what you need:

  • Access to Wi-Fi or cellular: And the people you’re talking to need Internet access, too. On an iOS device, you need Wi-Fi or a cellular connection. If you want to go with the cell connection, you need at least a third-generation iPad running iOS 6.

    On a Mac, you need an upstream or downstream Internet connection of at least 128 Kbps. You also need at least a 1-Mbps upstream and downstream connection for HD-quality video calls.

  • FaceTime on recipient’s device: On your conversation partner’s own iPad 2 or later, on an Intel-based Mac computer (OS X 10.6.6 or later), on a recent-model iPod touch, or on an iPhone 4 or later. (FaceTime first appeared on Apple’s prized smartphone.)

Getting started with FaceTime

When you use FaceTime for the first time, after you tap the app’s icon from the Home screen, you’re required to sign in to FaceTime using your Apple ID, which can be your iTunes Store account, iCloud ID, or another Apple account. (You may have previously supplied this info during setup of your iPad.)

If you don’t have an account, tap Create New Apple ID to set one up within FaceTime. You also must supply an e-mail address or phone number that callers use to call you from their own FaceTime-capable iPads, Macs, iPhones, or iPod touches.

If this is the first time you’ve used a particular e-mail address for FaceTime, Apple sends an e-mail to that address to verify the account. Tap (or click) Verify Now and enter your Apple ID and password to complete the FaceTime setup. If the e-mail address resides in Mail on the iPad, you’re already good to go.

If you have multiple e-mail addresses, callers can use any of them for FaceTime. To add an e-mail address after the initial setup, tap Settings→FaceTime→Add Another Email. And phone numbers (for your iPhone) work too with iOS 6.

In fact, it’s often a good idea to allocate separate e-mail addresses for FaceTime, assuming you have more than one Apple product that can take advantage of it. That way, a call to you when you’re on your Mac, for example, won’t ring on the iPad instead.

You can turn FaceTime on or off within Settings, but if you don’t turn it off, you don’t have to sign back in when you launch the app.

Making a FaceTime call

Now the real fun begins — making an actual video call:

  1. Start the FaceTime app from the Home screen or by asking Siri to open the app on your behalf.

    You can check out what you look like in a window prior to making a FaceTime call. So powder your nose and put on a happy face.

  2. Choose someone to call.

    Pick among the following:

    • Your contacts: Tap a name or number, and then tap the e-mail address or phone number that contact has associated with FaceTime. To add a contact, tap Contacts, and tap +.

    • Your recent calls: Tap Recents and then tap the appropriate number or name.

    • Your favorites: You can add frequent callers to a favorites list. Once again, merely tap a name to call.

  3. Check or change what you display on the screen, if a change is needed.

    When a call is underway, you can still see what you look like to the other person through a small picture-in-picture window that you can drag to any corner of the video call window. It’s a great way to know whether your mug has dropped out of sight.

  4. (Optional) To toggle between the front and rear cameras, tap the Camera button.

  5. Tap End when you’re ready to hang up.

While you’re on a FaceTime call, the following tips are handy to know:

  • Rotate the iPad to its side to change the orientation. In landscape mode, you’re more likely to see everybody at once.

  • Silence or mute a call by tapping the Microphone icon. Be aware that you can still be seen even if not heard (and you can still see and hear the other person).

  • Momentarily check out another iPad app by pressing the Home button and then tapping the icon for the app you have in mind. At this juncture, you can still talk over FaceTime, but you can no longer see the person. Tap the green bar at the top of the iPad screen to bring the person and the FaceTime app back in front of you.

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Receiving a FaceTime call

Of course, you can get FaceTime calls as well as make them. FaceTime doesn’t have to be open for you to receive a video call. Here’s how incoming calls work:

  • Hearing the call: When a call comes in, the caller’s name (or e-mail address) prominently displays on the iPad’s screen. You simultaneously hear the iPad ring.

  • Accepting or declining the call: Tap Answer to answer the call or Decline if you’d rather not. If your iPad is locked when a FaceTime call comes in, slide the green arrow button to the right to answer. To decline it, do nothing and wait for the caller to give up.

  • Silencing the ring: You can press the Sleep/Wake button at the top of the iPad to silence the incoming ring. If you know you don’t want to be disturbed by FaceTime calls before you even hear the ring, flip the side switch on the iPad to mute.

    You may have to head to Settings to change the function of this switch from Lock Rotation to mute. In Settings (or via Control Center), you can also turn on Do Not Disturb to silence incoming FaceTime calls.

  • Blocking unwanted callers: If a person who keeps trying to FaceTime you becomes bothersome, you can block him or her. Go to Settings→FaceTime→Blocked, and choose the person’s name from your Contacts.

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