How To Use FaceTime On Mac

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How cool is the world today — we get to travel on a scale never known to people before, we work from home, and video chat with loved ones from work. Wherever we decide to be today, we stay connected. Luckily, Mac has a built-in video and audio calling app just for that.

FaceTime for Mac is completely free and as long as the person you’re calling has an Apple device supporting FaceTime (iPhone 4, iPad 2, and macOS 10.9.2 or later) — you’re good to go.

How Do FaceTime And Group FaceTime Work On Mac?

Seeing your loved ones when you’re away, talking to friends abroad, cooperating with colleagues, or simply saving typing time by hopping on a quick call — whatever the case, both FaceTime and Group FaceTime are very easy to use. Let’s get you started!

How to setup FaceTime on Mac?

As the FaceTime app is installed on your Mac by default, there’s nothing extra you need to download and the setup process is quite straightforward:

  1. Open the FaceTime app by clicking on the FaceTime icon in the menu bar or press ⌘ + Space and type FaceTime

  2. If FaceTime isn’t already turned on, click Turn On

  3. Log in with your Apple ID and password

  4. To determine how and by whom you can be reached on FaceTime, go to FaceTime ➙ Preferences. Here you can decide if you want all the email addresses tied to your Apple account to be used for FaceTime (for example, you might not want people who have your work email address to contact you this way).

  5. Deselect any email addresses you don’t want to be used to call you on FaceTime

If you want to add an email address to the list, simply open System Preferences ➙ iCloud ➙ Account Details ➙ Contacts, and hit the plus icon. The changes will automatically appear in FaceTime preferences.

facetime add emails

What you need for a FaceTime video call on Mac?

Most Macs are designed to handle FaceTime calls, so to start chatting you just need to check that all the accessories are in place:

  • Good internet connection with at least 128 kbps download and upload speed

  • A built-in or connected camera (MacBooks and iMacs come with one, but you need to purchase it separately for Mac Mini and Mac Pro)

  • A microphone (most Macs have them, but you can also plug in a headset with a mic for better quality)

  • Apple ID for FaceTime login

How to make a FaceTime call?

As long as you and the person you’re trying to call both have a sufficiently good internet connection, are logged in to FaceTime, and have the app open — using FaceTime for Mac is effortless:

  1. Go to your Contacts app

  2. Search for the person you want to call. You can search by name, telephone number, or email address.

  3. Click on the contact’s profile and select the option to start a FaceTime call (looks like a video camera icon)

facetime call mac

How to use FaceTime to receive calls on your Mac?

Assuming your FaceTime app is open and you’re signed in, when someone calls you:

  1. You will see a pop-up window. If FaceTime is closed, you’ll see a notification in the top-right corner.

  2. The notification will tell you who’s calling if you have their details in the Contacts app

  3. If you want to speak with them, click Accept

  4. When you want to end the call click the red handset icon

What is FaceTime for groups?

Group FaceTime is, naturally, for times when you need to get a group of people together, be it a family gathering or business meeting. The FaceTime app allows for up to 32 participants in the same active video chat.

To make a Group FaceTime call on Mac:

  1. Open the FaceTime app

  2. Enter contact details (either name, phone number, or email address) of all the people you want to Group FaceTime separated by commas. Or select each one individually from Contacts.

  3. Click the green video button to begin the Group FaceTime video chat

  4. To add more people to an active Group FaceTime call, click on the lower left corner of an active Group FaceTime window to show the sidebar, then Add Person to enter their information, and select Add to invite them

facetime mac interface

How to stop unwanted FaceTime calls?

FaceTime allows you to instantly block any caller at any time should you wish to do so:

  1. Open FaceTime

  2. Sign in with your Apple ID

  3. Search for a particular caller you want to block

  4. Right-click on their number ➙ choose Block This Caller

How to stop receiving FaceTime calls on Mac?

If you no longer wish to receive FaceTime calls on your Mac at all, you could simply sign out of the app:

  1. Open FaceTime

  2. Select FaceTime in menu bar and choose Preferences

  3. Click on Sign Out

To make or receive calls again, just sign back in.

facetime sign out mac

Sometimes you just want to minimize distractions while working or doing other important tasks on your Mac. In this case, try Focus. This app temporarily blocks all disturbances for as long or as short as you want. It also lets you create your own productivity schedule with built-in “work & relax” times to easily get back to work when your break is over.

Focus allows you to precisely fine-tune your blocking: entire apps and websites or just a single page on a specific website. When you try to visit a blocked site or application, you’ll see a gray screen with motivational phrases to stay productive (you can choose from an extensive catalog of quotes or create your own).

focus menu bar mac app

What to do when FaceTime for Mac is not working?

There are a few things to check when you experience a glitch with FaceTime. First, check that your Apple ID is valid, and make sure both the caller and you have the correct contact details (emails or phone numbers must be associated with your Apple ID for a FaceTime call to go through).

If that didn’t help, check that your email address is verified in FaceTime ➙ Preferences (if not — look for a verification email and follow the instructions). Also ensure that you’ve selected all the checkboxes next to the email addresses and phone numbers in Preferences.

Update to the latest macOS version and check that the person you’re calling is running at least macOS Mojave (10.14.1) or iOS 12.1.

Sometimes, the problem might be hiding in your time zone. Make sure you choose the correct country in FaceTime Preferences. Check your time zone in System Preferences: the region where your FaceTime account is registered should correlate with the location on your Mac — otherwise the wrong phone number might be used. To fix this, go System Preferences ➙ Date & Time ➙ Set Automatically ➙ click on Time Zone ➙ choose the nearest city.

Finally, check that you’re connected to the internet and your speed is sufficient enough (at least 128 kbps, or 1 mbps for HD FaceTime video calls)

If you do have problems with the internet connection, try WiFi Explorer, a network analyzer that helps identify and fix common network problems with your connection without involving a professional. WiFi Explorer scans your network environment (band range, signal quality, security status, etc.), identifies channel conflict and coverage issues, and gives you recommendations to improve your WiFi.

Visual graphs in WiFi Explorer make it easy for you to assess the situation at a glance without diving deep into the numbers.

wifi explorer mac network setup

Best of all, you can find both Focus and WiFi Explorer mentioned above on a free trial through Setapp, a platform of more than 130 useful Mac apps and tools that could improve every interaction you have with your Mac. Time to call an old friend?

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