Video conferencing seemed to be finally finding its footing when the late Steve Jobs first announced FaceTime at the 2010 World Wide Developers Conference. More than two years later, the feature is in full swing, allowing Mac users to make video calls over both Wi-Fi and cellular networks on a variety of Apple devices. The feature didn’t revolutionize the way we carry out phone calls, but serves as a handy alternative to Skype or Facebook Chat. Plus, it’s simple to set up, easy to use, and does all the basics.

Check your system requirements & what you need

FaceTime comes with a few stipulations. First off, the app can only be run on the following devices:

  • iPhone 4 or later. 
  • iPad 2 or later.
  • iPad Mini
  • Fourth-generation iPod touch or later
  • Mac with Mac OS X v10.6.6 or later

Keep in mind FaceTime video calling availability depends on carrier policies and data charges may apply while using the app over your wireless network. You will also need the phone number or email address of the person you are trying to call in order to use FaceTime.

Open FaceTime


FaceTime is included with OS X Lion or later. Mac OS X v10.6 users can download FaceTime from the Mac App Store. There is no official FaceTime app for the iPhone as the Phone app has FaceTime functionality built in. 

Activate FaceTime

iPhones automatically register your phone number for Facetime upon activation, but you will need to enable FaceTime while using the iPad, iPod touch or Mac desktop app. To begin, enter a valid Apple ID and password or select Create New Account and fill out the necessary fields (i.e. name, email, location, etc.).

Choose the phone number and email addresses you want associated with your FaceTime account. Apple will automatically verify your account information afterward. If you’re using an iPhone, make sure to toggle FaceTime on under the FaceTime options in your phone’s main settings.

Make a call

There are several ways to make a standard FaceTime call depending on which FaceTime-enabled Apple device you’re using. If you are using an iPad, iPod touch, or the the FaceTime app for Mac, you’ll need to add a person as a contact using the FaceTime or Contacts app before you can place a call with them.


  • Using Contacts: Tap the FaceTime icon in the bottom-right corner while viewing a contact to place a FaceTime call
  • Using Phone: Tap the FaceTime icon during a phone call to invite the other party to a FaceTime call
  • Using Messages: Tap the FaceTime icon at the top while viewing messages to place a FaceTime call
iPad, iPod touch, or FaceTime app for Mac OS X:
  • Using Contacts: Tap or click the FaceTime icon while viewing a contact or place a Facetime call
  • Using FaceTime: Tap or click a contact from the Favorites, Recents, or Contacts list to place a FaceTime call

Give it a go

That’s basically all there is to it. FaceTime doesn’t tout any particularly grand features or tools — just basic video calling from one Apple user to another. Be sure to check out the Apple Support Center for more information.

Still perplexed about how get FaceTime up and running? Did our how-to guide help you out? Let us know in the comments below.