Dummies Guide to Facetime on iPhone and iPod Touch

facetime1.png Facetime is one of the best free feature of iOS device. The best thing about Facetime free video calling service is, it’s available on all Apple devices. Be it, Mac, iPhone, iPad or any other iOS device with camera on it. First time user might get confused with how to use FaceTime, and in this guide I will exactly be talking about the same. This guide will answer all your queries regarding Facetime on iOS devices, right from activation to making calls.

Facetime is one of the most talked about features of iPhone 4. Yesterday, we posted some pictures from our first impressions of Facetime on iPhone 4 as Harsh and I tried a Facetime conversation. We were totally amazed by the quality of audio and video.

Facetime is also very intuitive and easy to use. In fact we are Facetime Ninjas now, in less than thirty minutes of video calling. Here’s how you can get started and most of other related queries answered.

How to Activate Facetime on your iPhone:

Though this guide is written for iPhone4, but if you are using any other version of iPhone/iPad, Facetime activation method remains the same.

Go to Settings > Phone > Facetime > On. The iPhone  will automatically send an SMS(international for non US users) and within 10 seconds your Facetime will be active.

facetime-iphone4-25.jpg Facetime activation

This only needs to be done once per sim card, and that too is automatic. No registration or user id required. Like Apple says, Facetime works out of the box.

Once the “Waiting for Activation” message goes away you are good to go. Please note that you will not be able to see the SMS sent for activation through your Messages app. If you have trouble activating Facetime, wait for our post which talks about activation issues for unofficial carriers.

iPod Touch users go to Settings > Facetime to confirm and verify your email address that will be used to receive calls. If unverified, follow instructions sent to email to get started.

Charges for using Fcaetime

No. We were not charged for our Facetime calls. It’s free for video calls between iPhone 4 and iPod touch devices. Both devices need to be connected to a wifi network with internet access(not necessarily same network).

How to start a Facetime video call

There has been a lot of doubt as to how the Facetime call is authenticated. Harsh and I tried the email address method yesterday but that failed and here’s why.
Facetime uses two ways to identify people – Phone number or email address. And the the type of device determines which one will be used.
facetime-iphone4-80.jpg
  • When calling an iPhone 4: Use the phone number of the person you are calling.
  • When calling an iPod touch (4th generation): Use the email address designated for FaceTime of the person you are calling.

Please note that you need iOS 4.1 to make calls or receive them from users on iPod Touch.

How to Make a Facetime Call

There are two ways of initiating a Facetime call. You could make a phone call just the way you normally do and then once you are there on the call click on Facetime. If your friend accepts the Facetime request call, voice call will end and you will no more be charged for voice.

facetime-iphone4-79.jpg
facetime-iphone4-83.jpg facetime-iphone4-86.jpg

Another way is directly making a Facetime call. Go to your contacts page and tap Facetime. Choose a method of identification(phone or email). Your friend will receive a notification if he’s on wifi. If he accepts you are good to go.

On iPod touch, there is an additional Facetime app. You can use it to call any of your contacts or through the contacts app like mentioned above.

Can I switch Cameras

facetime3.png

The Facetime call starts with your front camera. You can switch to the rear camera and back by clicking on the button in lower right corner.
facetime4.png

Some other features of Facetime you might want to know:

Muting Facetime

The Mute button will only prevent your audio from going through. Your video will still be visible to the other person.

Landscape Support

Just rotate the iPhone to switch to this mode.

Moving the preview window

The small window which shows your own Face can be moved around by dragging if it obstructs your view in the default position.

Do something else and get back to Facetime again?

If you need to check another app while you are on Facetime, no problem. Just hit home button and do your work. Your video will freeze on last frame and audio chat can still be continued. Once you click on the green bar similar to the one you get with voice calls, your video chat will be resumed.

Last Tip for Facetime Users:

You can also add Facetime to your Favorites list and start a Facetime call right from there. Facetime calls will also feature in your Recent Calls history.

Conclusion

So, that’s all we have gathered so far about Facetime. It’s been a great experience so far for us. Rumors are afloat that Facetime might soon come to iPads, Macs and Windows PCs too. We are really looking forward to that.

I hope this detailed Facetime usage guide will help you to start using this useful free service. In upcoming article, we will also be talking about iMessage, but for now why don’t you go ahead and try making a Facetime call to other iOS user in your contact list.

How Much Data Does a FaceTime Call Use?

facetime data usage

So what did we find out?

Now that we have made FaceTime an integral part of how we communicate, we decided to find out how much data it is consuming. This is important for a lot of users who may not be on an unlimited data plan be it 3G or wi-fi. Keeping an eye on how much data Facetime is using, will make sure you never cross your data limit, and don’t get over billed for the usage.

For those living under a rock, here are some FaceTime related articles:

Facetime Data usage test:

Facetime is free, and works best when you are using high speed internet connection (Wi-fi, 3G, 4G).  We made a FaceTime call from our iPhone 4 (over 3G) to our new iPod Touch 4G which recently shipped. The results for the test call are as follows:

  • Call Duration: 10 minutes
  • Data Sent: 14.6 MB
  • Data Received: 15.1
  • Total Data (Sum of above) : 29.7 for ten minutes

We can conclude from the above that FaceTime is using approximately three megabytes per minute. So, an hour long conversation would involve around 180MB of data. A similar test conducted by 9to5Mac yielded the same results. Though, this result may vary depending upon which version of iOS device you are using.  So, when you are choosing a wi-fi plan at home go for unlimited connections to avoid huge data charges. Similarly, make sure you consider data charges on all the networks before you choose a 3G connection from the upcoming providers in India.

Group Video Chat for iOS and Android Devices, Courtesy of Fring

In a blog post yesterday, Fring announced that they’re working on bringing a new feature to Android and iOS devices that would enable group video chat. We are familiar with using video chat on Fring, and it does provide some competition to other video calling services like Skype and Apple’s FaceTime. Moreover, video chat using Fring is free and the quality isn’t bad either.

At present the developers are giving this amazing application some final touches and hence this is currently in beta stage. The idea of being able to video chat with more than one person at a time is pretty cool isn’t it? Fring would be the first to get this feature to smartphones running on Android and the iPhone. iPhone’s FaceTime may need to go to the development sector for some new features, because Fring Group Video Call would certainly affect it.

Fring intends to bring this group video call feature to its users for free and will soon be up for grabs at respective application stores for both Android and iOS. Fring Group Video calling will let you talk to up to 4 members at a time, with video feed from each user shown by dividing the screen in 4 parts. At present, one can join in on the development of this app and opt-in as a real-time tester by filling out a form here. All the slots for iPhone testing has been taken, but if you’re an Android user you can fill in the form and submit it for some awesome group video call experience. Others don’t have to wait that long, because the final version will soon be out!! Till then enjoy the sneak peak of the application below.

The Fring video call service is certainly more practical than Apple’s FaceTime as you can use this feature via 3G too!! Let’s wait and watch how the Group Video Chat experience will be.

What are your thoughts on this new and exciting feature that will hit online stores soon?

[ Source: Fring Blog ]

Also check out: 3 Facetime Video Call alternative for iOS device.