- Technology

How to use FaceTime for group calls

If you have an iPhone or MacBook, then you have probably used FaceTime, Apple’s built-in video and voice-calling app. While FaceTime has always been useful for keeping in touch, it’s become even more important for staying connected with friends and family while observing social distancing measures.

You can have up to 32 people on a FaceTime call, so it’s a good video-chatting option if you don’t want to download another app to have a group video call — as long as you and your friends all have Apple devices. You can’t install it on a Windows or Android device, and it’s not available for all countries and carriers. However, you can use it between different devices if one friend is on their MacBook and the rest of your friends are using their iPhones.

Some other notes: to use FaceTime, you need to be running iOS 12.1.4 or later on an iPhone 6S or more recent model or an iPod touch (seventh generation). If you’re using an iPad, it should be an iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, iPad (fifth generation), iPad mini 4. or a more recent model of any of those devices, running iPadOS.

All that being said, if you haven’t tried FaceTime, but want to use it, here are some steps to get started and join group FaceTime calls on your iPhone and Mac.

You can either use the FaceTime app to start a group call or, if you’re already talking to a group using Messages, you can start a group FaceTime session from there.

Open the app
Click the + icon (without a circle around it) in the top-right corner
Type in the names or numbers of the people you’d like to talk to. If they’re in your contact list, their names will come up as you type, and you can click on each name to add them to the call.
You can also click on the circle with a + inside it to open up your contacts list and select people there. Tap their name to open up the contact then tap their number to add them.
Tap the green video button to start a video call or the audio button to start an audio call.

Open the app
Open up an existing group chat or conversation in the Messages app
Tap on the icons for your contacts at the top of the screen (these will be bubbles with either your contacts’ profile photos, initials, or an icon with a figure’s head and shoulders)
Click on the FaceTime icon to start the call

To add someone to a FaceTime call:

Tap the screen
Swipe up to pull up the menu
Tap “Add Person”
Tap + to add someone from your contacts, or type in their name or phone number into the bar at the top and select a contact from the results
Tap “Add Person to FaceTime”

There are several ways to join a group FaceTime call:

Tap the notification (if you received one), then tap the video button that appears at the bottom of the screen

Open up the group chat or conversation in the Messages app. The FaceTime call will come up in a bubble, similar to a message. Click the “Join” button in that bubble.
Open up the FaceTime app. When you open it, FaceTime will show you a list of all of your recent and active calls. Any calls you can join will be highlighted in green with a green video button next to it. To join the call, click that button, and then click the video button at the bottom of the screen labeled “Join.”
To leave the group FaceTime call, tap the screen and then click the red “X” button in the bottom-right corner of the screen.

You can also make FaceTime audio and video calls from your Mac, as long as you’re running macOS Mojave 10.14.3 or later. You’ll also need to be logged in using your Apple ID. Here’s how to make a call:

Open up FaceTime
Type the names, phone numbers, or email addresses of the people you want to talk to into the search bar
Click the video or audio icon, depending on what kind of call you want to make
You’ll have to press the video or audio button in the bottom-left of the screen to start the call
This will send the notification to the people you want to talk to. They’ll have to click on that notification, which will take them to another screen, where they can press another button to join.
If the people you’ve contacted aren’t responding, you can give them a nudge. Click on the button showing a window with a sidebar in the bottom-left corner. This will show you who has been invited to be a part of the call. Press “Ring” to automatically open up the call screen on their phone. They can join the call from there.

You can also start a group FaceTime call from the Messages app on your Mac:

Open a conversation or group chat
Click on “Details”
Click the video icon to start a video call or the audio icon to start an audio call
To add someone to a group FaceTime call on your Mac:

Click the button that looks like a window with a sidebar in the lower-left corner of the screen to open the sidebar
Click the “Add Person” button
Type in the name, number, or email of the person you want to add
Click “Add”

To join a FaceTime call on your Mac, you can either click on the pop-up notification (assuming you got one) or open FaceTime. When you open up FaceTime, you should see a list of recent and active calls. If a call is active, it will have a green video button next to it. To join, click on that icon and then click the video button at the bottom-left of the screen.