One of the best WWDC21 announcements for non-Apple fans is the ability for Windows and Android users to join FaceTime calls initiated by Apple users on macOS 12 or iOS/iPadOS 15.
- iOS 15 FaceTime calls extend beyond Apple devices.
- This is great news for Android and Windows users.
- Non-Apple users can join a call, not initiate one.
- FaceTime on the web is end-to-end encrypted.
FaceTime comes to Android and Windows
No, Apple isn’t actually releasing a native FaceTime client for Android and Windows devices.
Rather, the Cupertino giant has launched the new ability for non-Apple customers to join FaceTime calls started by Apple users. This happens through Apple’s new FaceTime web app.
Now you can send friends and family a link to connect on FaceTime—even if they’re using Windows or Android. And it’s still end-to-end encrypted, so your call is as private and secure as any other FaceTime call.
But hold your horses, FaceTime isn’t becoming a true Zoom alternative just yet: Non-Apple customers who use Android or Windows currently cannot schedule or start a FaceTime call. For that, Apple insists you own an Apple device and have an Apple ID account.
Before Android and Windows users are able to join in your call, you actually must create a unique shareable FaceTime link from your iPhone, iPad or Mac. You can then share the generated link via text, email, WhatsApp, calendar invite and so forth with just about anyone.
How to join FaceTime calls on Android and Windows
To join a scheduled FaceTime call or a FaceTime call that’s already in progress, just click a link to join a call in a web browser from your Windows or Android device, it’s that easy. Non-Apple customers can join both one-on-one and group FaceTime calls, audio or video, via the web.
One caveat: The Apple user who started the call must approve non-Apple participants before they can enter the call through the web.
No login is necessary whatsoever to join a FaceTime call through a web browser.
What do I need for FaceTime on the web?
As long as you use a modern web browser that supports the latest web technologies, you should be able to join a FaceTime call from your web browser on Android and Windows devices without having to install any browser plugins or additional software.
Using FaceTime on the web requires the latest version of Google’s Chrome or Microsoft’s Edge browser. Sending video from a web browser requires H.264 video encoding support.
Wait, how secure is FaceTime on the web?
According to Apple, there should be no difference in terms of security between using the native FaceTime app and its web-based counterpart because both take advantage of end-to-end encryption to protect your communications and shield against eavesdropping.
“FaceTime calls on the web remain end-to-end encrypted, so privacy is not compromised,” accord to the official iOS 15 press release found on the Apple website.
When will iOS 15 release publicly?
Apple hasn’t committed to a firm release date for iOS 15 beyond saying the update would launch publicly this fall. If history is anything to go by, iOS 15 will appear as an over-the-air update on users’ devices a few days before the next iPhone goes on sale in September.