FaceTime for Dummies

By , Jun 26, 2010

FaceTime

FaceTime is a new feature introduced by Apple on the iPhone 4 that allows video calls, face to face from anywhere in the world, as long as you have an active internet connection. While not a breakthrough technology by itself, I think FaceTime will bring video calls to the masses.

I’ve  tested FaceTime several times and I am completely in love with this new iPhone feature. Yesterday I had a 30 minute FaceTime conversation with my cousin in France. The image and sound were crystal clear.

FaceTime is a very simple feature to use but it seems many people have questions about it so let me quickly walk you through it.

You have to activate FaceTime

To do so, go to Settings > FaceTime > On. Depending on your country, it might take a few minutes to actually activate the feature. I suggest you reboot your iPhone after turning FaceTime on.

iPhone 4 to iPhone 4 only

FaceTime is only iPhone 4 to iPhone 4 for the time being. That means that your FaceTime buddy must have an iPhone 4 with FaceTime activated. FaceTime is opened to developers so it is very likely that some applications like Skype will use FaceTime in their apps, thus allowing you to FaceTime from an iPhone 4 to a desktop computer.

Wifi only

While I can only imagine that the jailbreak community will allow FaceTime to work over 3G, FaceTime can only work on wifi for the time being.

FaceTime is free

Because it works on wifi only, there is no cost associated with using FaceTime. No matter what, when, how, and where you use FaceTime it is completely free.

Making a FaceTime call

There are 2 ways you can initiate a FaceTime call.

  1. Call your friend like you normally do. When both of you are on the line, simply hit the FaceTime icon on your iPhone. Your friend will receive an invitation and if he accepts it, it will drop the call and start connecting you both on FaceTime. This is the best way to start a FaceTime conversation as it allows you to check that your buddy is on wifi, thus available for FaceTime. Note that although FaceTime is free, you will have to pay for the call time. Once you hit the FaceTime icon and the call ends, you will stop being charged.
  2. If you know for sure your friend is on wifi, go to your contacts, tap your friend’s name and tap the FaceTime button. It will ring on the other end of the line and if your friend accepts the FaceTime invitation, it will start connecting you both.

Switch between the front and back camera

The front-facing camera is the one used by default when making a FaceTime call, but you can also use the back camera. Tap the camera icon at the lower right of the screen and you’ll activate the camera on the back of your iPhone. You’ll then be able to share what’s around you. To switch back to the front-facing camera, tap the button at the lower right again.

Use another app without leaving FaceTime

While on a FaceTime call, you may have to go do something in your iPhone. For example, you may need to look up a contact, or check emails, etc… Simply hit the home button during your FaceTime call and you will be taken to your home screen. From there, you can do whatever you want. The FaceTime image will be frozen on the other end of the line but the sound will still works. That means your friend won’t see you but you’ll still be able to talk to him. When you’re done and you want to go back to your FaceTime video chat, simply hit the green bar at the top of your screen.

Mute FaceTime

You can mute yourself during a FaceTime call. Simply tap the “mute” button and your friend won’t be able to hear what you’re saying although he’ll still be able to see you. You will still be able to see and hear what he says. Tap the button again to unmute yourself.

FaceTime in landscape mode

FaceTime doesn’t only work in portrait mode. You can turn your iPhone to a 90 degree angle and have your conversation in landscape mode.

Move yourself around

When on a FaceTime call, there is a little window on your screen showing you what your friend sees (usually it’s your face!). You can move this little window around by tapping it and moving it to another corner.

Try FaceTime

If you haven’t had the occasion to try FaceTime on, you can chat with an Apple rep who will go over the features of FaceTime. Click here for more info about that.

Any other tip you have about FaceTime? If so, please take the time to share it with us.

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  • ghettocowboy

    it is definitely for dummies. Evo 4G Qik connect feature is a lot better. It does not require wi-fi. Face time is a kiddie toy

  • Sotiris

    Great!!! This may be the first how to on facetime! Very useful! thanks

  • said:

    I just wanted to know..if there is any jailbreak about 3GS iOS4 in WindowsXP…Or if it will be released sooner or later..???

  • http://www.iphonedownloadblog.com Sebastien
  • Said

    But its for mac ONLY :(

  • Said

    Nevermind…i’ve done it with sn0wbreeeeze

  • http://flickr.com/danjhoros Danjhoros

    You have to activate FaceTime

    To do so, go to Settings > FaceTime > On.

    I checked my iPhone 4 and it should be:

    Settings > Phone > FaceTime > On

  • http://justmy2t.com Jeezer

    Just to echo that the instructions to activate FaceTime are wrong. It’s Settings > Phone > FaceTime.
    An Apple rep also told me to make sure “Show My Caller ID” is set to ON.

  • http://Yumbiosis Yumbo

    Hi there,

    I discovered the same issue here in Fiji on Digicel, with my wife’s SIM.
    Mine works fine on a postpay number which ports ID to phone, but hers as a prepay number does not.

    This was tested with other numbers with same results.
    Prepay numbers are sending SMS texts to a UK number.

    With Vodafone, the prepay test SIM we got today had same results.

    My theory is that until “MY” number is automatically read from SIM, Facetime will not activate.

  • fabrgesa

    ” 1. Call your friend like you normally do. When both of you are on the line, simply hit the FaceTime icon on your iPhone. Your friend will receive an invitation and if he accepts it, it will drop the call and start connecting you both on FaceTime. This is the best way to start a FaceTime conversation as it allows you to check that your buddy is on wifi, thus available for FaceTime. Note that although FaceTime is free, you will have to pay for the call time. Once you hit the FaceTime icon and the call ends, you will stop being charged.

    2. If you know for sure your friend is on wifi, go to your contacts, tap your friend’s name and tap the FaceTime button. It will ring on the other end of the line and if your friend accepts the FaceTime invitation, it will start connecting you both.”

    is the second way FREE?

  • Mira

    Help! I activated my facetime just the way you guys instructed but stii can’t find the facetime icon on my phone, its stii the same “hold” button? Can somebody help me with this?

  • lock

    find the person in your contacts hit the blue across arrow and there will be an option for facetime along with text message and others….

  • Jordan

    I could not see an invitation from a friend who was calling me. How can I solve it?

  • Anonim

    I can not find thebfacetime on my iphone 4 where can i download it ?:( please help!!

  • dinadana

    If you want to record facetime calls – video and audio – you can use IMCapture for Facetime. It’s the unique soft. http://www.imcapture.com/IMCapture_for_FaceTime/

  • http://aol.com Anna

    Ummm where can I go to download it?

  • sabrena

    Is there a record of facetime usage? Can I check to see when facetime was used??

  • Allison

    The instructions are incorrect. The settings are found in Settings–>Phone–>Facetime.

  • http://non black.ice

    i cant find my face time i go to Settings–>Phone–> no face time option
    i have the last IOS 4.3.1 not jailbreak also ,,, dont know whats qrong
    plz help

  • lil

    how can they charge from ipod

  • Katie O’Sullivan

    Please HELP! I ring my friends on facetime and it keeeps calling and they say they answer but then it fails to connect!”!!! I BEG YOU FOR HELP!!!

  • http://twitter.com/MrsLynchR5 Isabel Schmieta

    on mac, when facetime isn’t open and someone calls you, does it open by itself?

  • Andrew

    Guys to get FaceTime you simply have to have an iPod, iPhone, or iPad. If it isn’t showing up on your homepage, look in settings —> restrictions —> FaceTime. If that isn’t on, then put it on, remember you will need your password if you have one.
    If there is no option for FaceTime, then simply go to the App Store and search FaceTime. When it loads then press on the FaceTime app. It should look like a Gray camera. Press free. Press install. Note that you will need a password if your devices apple Id was set up on another device.

  • Andrew

    Fuck

  • Jassy

    they should really have a mute button on the other person as well. When they plug in earphones, there’s just too much static noises in the background, making it impossible for me to watch or hear other things running on my mac