Earlier today, Apple launched iOS 13.6 to the public. The new software adds quite a few new features, and it apparently grants access to Apple’s video calling app, FaceTime, to those living in the United Arab Emirates.
Back in 2018, it was reported that Apple was holding active negotiations with those in power within the UAE to grant access to the video calling feature FaceTime on supported Apple devices originally purchased in the region. FaceTime has been blocked in the UAE for years due to local telecom restrictions, but with the public release of iOS 13.6 it looks like FaceTime is now finally available.
The ban impacted devices sold in the UAE, so it didn’t matter where those devices were being used outside of that area. Some iPhone owners have used VPNs to bypass the ban, and devices sold outside the UAE –but then brought into the area– have been able to use FaceTime as well. But now, with iOS 13.6 (via Mac Magazine), users in the UAE are reporting FaceTime works as it should.
It’s worth noting that this does not appear to be an exemption for just Apple, as the UAE has blocked other video calling apps including Google Hangouts and Skype for Business at the same time. But the ban on those apps and services was lifted not too long ago as well.
iOS 13.6 is out and it’s official… FACETIME IS AVAILABLE IN UAE. Now I can recieve my phone calls on all my devices 😭!
— Saif Alshehhi (@saif_a7med95) July 15, 2020
It’s worth noting that some folks in the UAE have not been able to use FaceTime just yet, so it looks like support may be rolling out. Or it may not be available for everyone just yet. Still, it appears that feature support is live in the UAE, so it may take some time before it works for every supported device.