Video chatting services are a meaningful and personal way to talk with kids, grandkids, friends and colleagues. With group calls, many people can virtually attend book clubs, religious services, yoga classes and even weddings and funerals.
Most services are free and work with several devices you already own. And you don’t need a degree in computer science to figure out how to participate.
The question isn’t whether you should video chat but on which platform. Unlike a voice-only call, everyone you want to see and hear needs to be using the same service.
If you have strong Wi-Fi and good lighting, there has never been a better time to reach out, virtually, to connect with loved ones.
FaceTime works best on Apple products
Apple FaceTime is simple to set up and use, but works best on a supported Apple device, such as an iPhone, iPad or Mac. FaceTime calls are often between these devices — an iPhone can FaceTime with a Mac, a Mac can FaceTime with an iPad, and so on.
Up to 32 people can engage in a call at the same time.
In 2021, Apple allowed callers on Windows machines and Android phones to be a part of its calls. But the experience isn’t as smooth or seamless as on an Apple device. More on this in a moment.
You can make a FaceTime call in a couple of ways, but the first and easiest step is to enable FaceTime on your Apple gear.
On an iOS device — iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch (if you still have one of those) — you can either open the FaceTime app, the little green square with a white video camera icon in the middle, or go to Settings | FaceTime. Flick the tab to enable FaceTime on your device, turning it from white to green.
Mac users can click to open the FaceTime app and enable it. If your Apple ID isn’t registered, you’ll need to sign in once.
Windows and Android users join a FaceTime call on the web:
1. Tap or click the link in, say, your email or text message where you’ve received a link to a FaceTime call.
2. Enter your name on the website. Then select Continue. You might need to allow FaceTime to use your microphone and camera.