How to Group FaceTime on Your Mac, iPhone, or iPad: Guide

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FaceTime offers one of the most secure ways to video call your friends, family, and colleagues. If everyone has an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac, you can have group FaceTime chats with up to 32 people for free.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to use group FaceTime calls. That includes starting a new call, managing your mic or camera settings, and fixing common errors.

How to Start a Group FaceTime Call

FaceTimeis one of several in-built iOS apps that are preinstalled on your device by default. Its icon resembles a green video camera. If you deleted FaceTime from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you can download it again for freefrom the App Store

To start a new call with FaceTime, start the Facetime app, tap the Add (+) button, and type the contact you want to call. On a Mac, use the search bar that appears to find your contacts. Add as many contacts to the call as you like; FaceTime supports up to a maximum of 32 people, including yourself.

Then tap or click the Audio or Video buttons to start the group FaceTime call. The Audio button starts a call without turning your camera on, but you can enable it later if you like.
When adding people in the FaceTime app, you can search for their name, phone number, or email address. If someone isn’t saved to your contacts, enter their full phone number or email address instead.

FaceTime only allows you to add contacts who show up in blue. This happens when their Apple ID is linked to the contact details you typed in and their Apple device is currently online.

Start a Group FaceTime Call From Messages

Another way to start a group FaceTime call is by use of Messages app. This is a much more convenient method if you already have a group chat with everyone you want to call. That’s because it’s faster to get started and lets people join at a later stage without you having to add them.

Simply open the group chat in Messages, then bring up the Details for that chat by tapping the profile pictures at the top of the display. Tap or click the FaceTime icon to call everyone in the group chat via FaceTime.

If some people decline the call at first, they can join again afterwards by returning to the group chat in Messages. This shows an icon letting you know how many people are currently in the call, with a green button to Join the call as well.

How to Use Group FaceTime on iPhone, iPad, or Mac

Once you start a group FaceTime call, you’ll find yourself greeted with a selection of square video feeds from each of your contacts. If someone turns their camera off, their initials appear in a box instead of their video feed.

FaceTime automatically arranges the video feeds on your screen to allow you to see everyone at once. When that isn’t possible without making each feed too small, FaceTime dynamically changes the size of each feed depending on who’s talking. The aim is to enlarge the feed when people start talking so you can see them well, but it doesn’t work perfectly.

You can always take control of this manually by tapping or clicking on someone to make their video larger. In addition, this makes the fullscreen button visible, which enlarges the feed and moves it to the middle of your screen.

Control the Camera, Microphone, and Speaker in FaceTime

On a Mac, hover your mouse over the FaceTime window to reveal basic FaceTime controls, then click the Sidebar icon to Bring up additional controls. On an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, tapping in a blank space shows controls at the bottom of your screen; swipe up to expand these controls for more options.

Tap the Mute button (shown by a microphone with a line through it) to mute yourself. This turns off your microphone so other people can’t hear you during a call.

Similarly, tap the Camera Off button (shown by a camera with a line through it) to turn off your camera. Unless you also muted yourself, people should still be able to hear you.

there is also a Flip and a Speaker option on an iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The Flip button lets you switch from the front-facing to the rear-facing camera on your device. And the Speaker button allows you to transfer the audio to other speakers on your network, such ass Apple’s HomePod.

Add More People to Your Group FaceTime Call

You can keep adding new people to an existing FaceTime call until you hit 32 participants. To do this on an iPhone or iPad, tap in a blank space and swipe up on the control panel that appears. On a Mac, launch the sidebar in the FaceTime app.

This panel shows everyone in the call, including people you called who didn’t answer. Use the call button next to these contacts to try calling them again.

you can instead use the Add Person option to search for new contacts to add to the call. Search for their name, phone number, or email address, just like when you started the FaceTime call. Then tap the Add Person to FaceTime button to bring them in.

Add Effects to Your FaceTime Call

If you’re using an iPhone 7 or later, it’s easy to add camera effects to your FaceTime calls. These include Animoji, filters, text, shapes, and various stickers. you simply need to tap in a blank space, then tap the Effects button.

Choose the type of effect you wish to apply from the toolbar at the bottom of the screen. Certain effects, such as text or stickers, allows you to pick where to place them on your video feed by means of drag-and-drop.

You can add as many effects as you like, even combining your Animoji with a filter and some stickers if you wish. To return to normal, tap the Effects button again to remove all the effects at a go.

What to Do If Group FaceTime Isn’t Working

FaceTime is one of the most convenient Waze to start a group video call, but it still isn’t perfect. SometimesFaceTime refuse to ring a given contacts or face weak connection problems.

Here are instructions for how to fix some of the most common issues with group FaceTime calls.

Check Your Internet Connection

FaceTime works better on Wi-Fi. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone and tap on Wi-Fi to make sure you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network, then try loading a page on your web browser. to make sure that connection is working properly. If you can’t get online, restart your router, run through our network troubleshooting steps, then contact your internet service provider if you need further support.

iIf you want to useFaceTime over mobile data on your iPhone or iPad, you need too first enable this in the settings. Start the settings app on your iPhone and go to Cellular, then scroll down to see a list of apps. Turn on the FaceTime toggle to allow it to use your cellular data.

Turn FaceTime Off and On Again

Start the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad and go to FaceTime, then use the FaceTime toggle to turn the feature off. On a Mac, start the FaceTime app and head over to FaceTime > Preferences from the menu bar, then uncheck the Enable this account box.

Wait for one minute before turning FaceTime back on from the same settings page, then try to make a call again.

Update Your Operating System

sometimes, FaceTime problems can be caused by outdated operating system. It might happen that you can’t ring a certain contacts, use camera effects, or launch FaceTime at all. You can easily fix these problems by downloading and installing the latest software update.

Start the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad and head over to General > Software Update. Then download and install any available software updates for your device. On a Mac, launch the Apple menu and head over to System Preferences > Software Update to check for new updates.

Use a Third-Party App to Call Non-Apple Devices

FaceTime’s biggest shortcoming is that it’s not available on other platforms beside Apple devices. You can’t download FaceTime for Android or Windows, which means there are likely lots of Friends, family members or coworkers who you can’t add to a FaceTime group call.

thankfully, there are tons of third-party apps you can use instead. Check out Best video conferencing apps here

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GeeksModo Staff is a team of iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch experts led by Moses Johnson. We're passionate about all things Apple!
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