Cross OS Lines: How to FaceTime Between iPhone and Android
Updated: May 19,2022
The great rivalry between iOS and Android doesn’t allow for much in the way of direct connectivity when it comes to their proprietary apps. But in a surprise move, Apple added the option to make FaceTime calls to Android and Windows users with the release of iOS 15.
The following guide will tell you how to FaceTime between iPhone and Android in just a few simple steps.
What Is FaceTime?
FaceTime is a video and audio calling app developed by Apple. It first appeared on iPhone 4 in 2010. While it wasn’t exactly an instant hit, FaceTime became popular over time. In Q1 2021, Apple’s CEO revealed that the company set a new record in the number of FaceTime calls during Christmas. Coupled with soaring iPhone sales and over one billion active iPhones, FaceTime is only getting bigger.
FaceTime can be used while connected to a cellular network and over Wi-Fi. When connected to Wi-Fi, you can use the FaceTime app to make audio and video calls for free.
Initially, FaceTime could only work when connected to Wi-Fi, as Apple was worried that video calls were too bandwidth-intensive to be used over a cellular network and could consume too much mobile data. But as mobile internet plans became more affordable and offered more bandwidth, Apple allowed calls over cellular networks. With the lightning-fast 5G network across the world, connectivity isn’t an issue either.
FaceTime for iPhone was initially limited to video calls - the FaceTime Audio feature didn’t see the light of day until 2013 with the release of iOS 7. The introduction of audio-only calls reinforced the decision to allow FaceTime to use mobile data, as audio calls use up considerably less bandwidth than video ones. Of course, these aren't the only significant changes that were introduced as FaceTime evolved over time.
iOS 15 FaceTime Update
Fast forward to 2021 and Apple’s release of the 15th iteration of its operating system - iOS 15. In addition to updating the overall operating system and announcing a new iPhone series, the company made significant improvements to FaceTime, including introducing cross-OS calls.
Before we get into how to FaceTime between iPhone and Android, it’s important to touch on the reasons behind the tech giant’s increased focus on improving the app. A lot of it has to do with the era of social distancing.
Apps like Facetime are increasingly popular because they enable users to communicate and keep in touch. While FaceTime’s popularity spiked since the start of the pandemic, it also ran into stiff competition. The video conferencing software Zoom became so extensive that the company’s stock rose to $559 a share at the peak of the pandemic, contrary to the $70 mark in the pre-COVID period.
Unlike Zoom, the FaceTime app for iPhone and other Apple devices was never really geared towards business use. However, there’s still considerable overlap between the apps’ users, which prompted Apple to work on improving FaceTime.
The iOS 15 update dropped on September 20, 2021, unveiling significant changes to FaceTime. First, the update added spatial audio to FaceTime calls, which makes voice sounds seem as if they’re coming from the speaker’s position on your screen. The purpose of this feature is to make the calls sound more natural and closer to in-person conversations.
Secondly, the update added the Portrait Mode feature that you can use during a FaceTime call to remove the background and put the speaker into focus. This is ideal when you find yourself in environments that aren’t favorable for taking or making a video call.
Lastly, the iOS 15 update added the ability for iOS users to make FaceTime calls to devices outside of Apple’s ecosystem. When FaceTime was first released, only iPhone, iPad, and Mac users could participate in calls - the latest smartwatches are still excluded, unfortunately. Now, people using Windows and Android devices can also be invited to FaceTime calls.
An important thing to note here is that there’s no version of FaceTime for Android phones that you can install and use. Instead, this update only allows iOS users to invite you to a call.
How to FaceTime between Android and iPhone
To set up a FaceTime call between an iPhone and Android, the person initiating the call needs to be on an Apple device (iPhone, iPad, or Mac). Furthermore, the same user needs to have the iOS 15 update downloaded on their device to be able to connect with Android and Windows users.
If these prerequisites are met, this is what you need to do to make a FaceTime call between iPhone and Android:
- Open your FaceTime app
- Tap the “Create Link” option.
- Choose how to share the FaceTime Call Link via email, Calendar, text, Twitter or through any of the messenger apps you have installed.
- Select the name of the call room you’ve created and tap “Join”.
- The Android user joins by clicking the link you’ve sent them.
- Once they connect, click the checkmark next to their name to let them into the call.
That’s it. There’s no convoluted setup process, and other participants don’t have to download anything. This is pretty much how other video call software like Zoom work. Essentially, it adds more flexibility by enabling you to chat with people that don’t use the app otherwise.
Now you know how to video chat between an iPhone and an Android smartphone using FaceTime by following a few simple steps. The exact same method is used for initiating a call with Windows users.
Thanks to Apple’s update, you’ll finally be able to use FaceTime with your non-iOS friends. This is vital at a time when talking to people in person isn’t always an option.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. Thanks to the recent update to FaceTime, you can now FaceTime Android users by having them click the invite link generated by the app. Other than FaceTime, these two platforms can connect via Google Duo and a plethora of messaging apps like WhatsApp, Signal, and Telegram.
After the iOS 15 update, Apple users can invite Android and Windows users to FaceTime calls. However, the person initiating the call must be on an iOS device.
While folks using Android can join FaceTime, they can’t download and install the app, nor can they initiate FaceTime calls themselves.
Following the latest iOS update, you can send a FaceTime invite link to people outside the Apple bubble. If you’re trying to figure out how to FaceTime between iPhone and Android, check out our guide that condenses the instructions into a few simple steps.
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While Damjan started his career in humanities, his interests quickly moved on to the tech and IT world. VPNs, antiviruses, firewalls, password managers - cybersecurity is what he knows best. When Damjan’s not losing hair over the dwindling of our collective sense of tech safety, you’ll find him looking for solace in 100-hour-long RPGs and rage-inducing MOBAs.