If you've ever wanted to turn off your camera during a FaceTime call, you might have noticed it seems, well, impossible. But it's not. You can kill your camera feed at any time, whether you're chatting with one friend or 31. Apple just makes the off button challenging to find.
Anything from work or a missed flight to a worldwide pandemic (COVID-19, anyone?) can make it difficult or nearly impossible to see your loved ones. You can make phone calls or send iMessage, text, or email messages, but nothing compares to seeing family and friends right in front of you. That's where FaceTime comes in.
With over 200 brand new features, iOS 13 is a worthy update for all compatible devices. That said, not all iPhone models are created equal. There is a new feature only older iPhones will see, one that skips over Apple's Face ID devices entirely. So if you have a traditional Home button iPhone capable of running iOS 13 but haven't updated yet, this is one benefit you're missing out on.
FaceTime has been around since iOS 4, and year after year, things stayed pretty much the same aside from a few small changes. In iOS 6, calls over cellular networks were finally possible, and audio-only calls were officially supported starting in iOS 7. But the one feature most everyone has wanted since FaceTime was a thing — group video calls — didn't show up until iOS 12.1 for iPhone.
By default, when you receive a FaceTime video call on your iPhone, the speakerphone kicks in immediately after answering unless you're wearing headphones. It's the exact opposite when it comes to FaceTime audio calls, but it's pretty easy to remedy if you'd rather have the speakerphone kick in instead of the built-in ear speaker.
Nothing has stopped you from taking a screenshot of a funny moment in a FaceTime video call before, and nothing probably will. But screenshots are old news. Apple has made it even easier to take capture FaceTime moments on your iPhone, and the results are more lively.
This may not matter to you if you only FaceTime from your iPhone occasionally, but if you're FaceTiming every day on a limited data plan from your cellular provider, you're going to want to conserve as much data as possible by making sure that you're connected to Wi-Fi only — especially if they are video calls.
Whenever you make FaceTime audio or video calls from your iPhone, Apple automatically uses your phone number or Apple ID email address as the caller identification. So when someone that you're calling sees the incoming call, they'll see it's from your phone number or email address. But what if you'd rather it be a different identifier?
How To: Disable FaceTime's Creepy Eye Contact Feature in iOS 14 So You Don't Look Like You're Staring Awkwardly
It's incredible what technology can do these days, but sometimes, it gets a little scary. For instance, FaceTime's "Eye Contact" feature, which Apple beta-tested in iOS 13 but released with iOS 14, makes it appear like you're looking right at the camera, even when you're actually looking at your friend on the screen. If you find this artificial trick a bit creepy, rest assured you can turn it off at any time.
How To: Bring Back Full-Screen Incoming Call Alerts for FaceTime, Phone & Other Calling Apps in iOS 14
In iOS 13 and under, whenever you were in an app or on the home screen, and a Phone or FaceTime call came in, the entire screen would be taken over by the incoming call. Apple changed it to a subtle banner notification in iOS 14 so that it doesn't wholly obfuscate what you're doing when the call happens. However, you can get the old design back if that works better for you.
With Zoom and Google Meet, you can zoom in using your rear camera on a video call to focus on something far away or to get a closeup view. But in Messenger, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Skype, Instagram, and most other video chat apps, zoom functionality is disabled. And it may appear to be blocked in FaceTime too, but that's not the case — the feature is just hiding in plain sight.
These days, you can FaceTime with family and friends whether you're at home connected to Wi-Fi or on-the-go with mobile data. You may have noticed, however, that your iPhone will sometimes drop Wi-Fi and rely on cellular instead — whether you're placing or receiving a FaceTime call. While that's not an expected result, there is a workaround to get your FaceTime calls back on track.
When using Group FaceTime with more than a handful of people, all of those participants in one chat can be difficult to follow. That's why Apple automatically enlarges the tiles for people who are currently speaking, bringing them into the forefront. However, all of that zooming in and out can get pretty distracting, and now there's a way to disable it whenever you need to.
On your iPhone, your phone number and Apple ID email address are the default ways in which somebody can contact you on FaceTime. While you can't remove your phone number as an option, you can withdraw your Apple ID email account. More importantly, you can add any other email addresses you'd like to the list, so you never have to worry about a friend, family member, or coworker not being able to audio or video chat with you.
When you're taking a video in the Camera app on your iPhone, there's a little white shutter button in the corner that lets you take a still image while you're filming. Apple brought that same concept over to the FaceTime app in iOS 11, iOS 12, and higher, so you can take Live Photos of your friends during video chats.