3 Easy Steps to Using FaceTime

What is FaceTime anyway? It’s a communication platform developed and provided by Apple (not Facebook) that allows you to make video or audio-only calls for free. Why is it free? Because it uses high speed data instead of traditional or cellular phone service, there is no cost other than using your allotted data allowance (minutes), which you can also avoid by using available WiFi.

You can use FaceTime to catch up with friends or family with no long-distance phone charges. Sound good? There are the 3 easy steps to get you connected – finding your contact, making the call and ending the call.

Getting Started with FaceTime

You can choose which way to begin your outgoing call or video call…. either by opening up the FaceTime app or opening your Contacts on Phone. We’ll show you both methods, which are equally easy.

Starting with the FaceTime App

Find the FaceTime app on your home screen and tap to open.

If you can’t readily find the app, you can search for it from the home screen by swiping downwards from the middle of the top of your screen. This will bring up the Search bar, and you can type “FaceTime”. If it doesn’t come up, it’s probably no longer installed, and you can go to the App store to search for it and download it (look for the green logo matching the above). There is no cost to download the app.

Once you have the app open, if you have made or received FaceTime video or calls before, they will be listed here in order, starting with the most recent at the top. If you wish to call someone with whom you chat frequently, this can sometimes be the fastest way to find them. But do bear in mind that if you simply choose them by tapping their name in the call history list, the call will default to whichever mode you last used with them (ie video or audio only). There’s nothing more awkward than finding you’ve inadvertently placed a video call when expecting audio only when you’re in your pajamas!

If you want to choose which mode to use, it’s safest to choose your contact by either tapping the “i” next to their name if its shown here already, typing their name using the “+” button, or starting the process from your phone contacts.

If you see your contact’s name in the list, the simplest way to proceed is to tap the “i” in the circle next to their name. This will bring up the screen shown below. You can find the FaceTime options towards the middle of the screen (circled in yellow, below). Make your choice of video or audio only by tapping the corresponding icon on the right. I always avoid the temptation to tap the icon at the top of the screen as I’ve been caught out in the past with a very expensive long distance phone bill. The charges when not using FaceTime will depend on your contract with your mobile phone provider. Always best to select FaceTime as shown below. Because FaceTime operates across data lines rather than phone lines, you will not be charged other than using part of your data allowance. You can avoid this as well by ensuring your WiFi is on.

If the person you wish to contact can’t (easily) be found in the list of recent contacts in the FaceTime app, simply tap the “+” icon in top right corner (see yellow circle below). This will bring up the search bar, and you can type in the name of the person in your contacts you wish to call. The screen will then come up as in the image above.

Starting from your Phone Contacts

You may alternatively start by opening your phone app and tapping “Contacts” in the footer

When you find your desired contact, the screen will appear like this (similar to above, but in a light background for some reason):

Choose FaceTime (circled in yellow, above) and the mode you prefer (video or audio only).

Making the call with FaceTime

Once you tap FaceTime within contacts or the contact within the FaceTime app, the call will immediately go through. If you have chosen video, you will see yourself on the screen until the other person answers. I tend to use this time as a quick “disaster check” to ensure my hair isn’t messy or lipstick comically applied. Remember your contact will see you framed however you can see yourself framed. It’s most appealing if you ensure your image is centered in the frame and angled straight on. No one likes to talk to the top of your forehead or the bottom of your chin. Ahem, you know who you are…

How to show them something other than you

If at any point you want to show your contact your kitchen refurb or the dog’s latest trick, simply flip the camera. See the yellow arrow below. This will now switch to using the camera at the back of your smartphone ie facing outward. To switch back to your face, tap “Flip” again. If the menu is not showing, simply tap anywhere on your screen and it will appear again as a footer. You do have to be a bit fast to tap your choice from the footer menu as it disappears rather quickly…

Ending the call

Ending a FaceTime call couldn’t be easier. As with any other audio or video call, simply tap the red button. In this case it has an “X” in it and is marked “end”.

What happens in FaceTime if the person doesn’t answer?

If your contact does not answer within a certain number of rings, the ringing will stop and you will be offered the chance to either try again, leave a message or “Cancel”. If you opt to leave a message, this will appear in their normal Messages and your provider may charge you. If you tap “Cancel” this will bring you back one step ie to your contacts screen. Your friend will be advised automatically that they have missed a FaceTime call from you. This will appear to them on the app on their home screen as a number (see below, circled in yellow), referring to how many calls they’ve missed. Upon opening the app, they will know which caller(s) they’ve missed as the name(s) will appear in red in the call list (and will likely be at the top, unless they’ve been making other FaceTime calls in the meantime).

So wouldn’t you agree that making a FaceTime call couldn’t be easier? Staying in touch with our loved ones has been shown to add to a longer, richer life, so why not try it out now?

Thanks for reading, and please let us know with a “thumbs up” if you learned something in this post.

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