FaceTime is Apple's internet calling tech that enables you to call people on other iOS, macOS and iPadOS devices, so it's Apple-only. As with WhatsApp, Messenger or Skype calls, they're routed across the internet rather than being across the cellular phone network.
Apple introduced FaceTime video in 2010 on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch and 2011 on the Mac. Group FaceTime came relatively recently in iOS 12 after an initial reveal in June 2018.
Making a group call on FaceTime is easy. Here's how.
What do you need for Group FaceTime?
Group FaceTime doesn't work on older devices.
You need to be using an iPhone 6S or later, any iPad Pro, an iPad Air 2 or later, iPad mini 4 or later, iPad (5th generation) or later and iPod touch (7th generation). You also need to be running iOS 12.1.4 or later.
People who have older devices can join group calls but as audio-only participants.
If you don't usually use FaceTime, go to Settings > FaceTime and make sure FaceTime is switched on. You also need to have a strong cellular or Wi-Fi connection to use Group FaceTime.
How many people can you call with Group FaceTime?
32. Yes, really. That compares very favourably with Google Duo, which can do 12 as well as WhatsApp that can only do 4 (soon to be 8) and Messenger, which can do 8.
How to make a Group FaceTime video call
From the FaceTime app, tap the + button in the top right.
Enter your contacts by typing their name - you'll see them auto-complete. You can also type phone numbers or email addresses if you want.
Then tap the large green video button. You can also select Audio instead, of course.
If you're in the Messages app, you can FaceTime everyone in a group conversation (or, indeed, any individual conversation) by tapping the FaceTime button at the top of the chat.
Adding more people in
If you're already on a FaceTime call - audio or video - you can swipe up, then tap the Add Person button. Tap the Ring button to, yes, ring them.
Joining another Group FaceTime call
There are several ways you can do this - go to the active call in the FaceTime app and tap the video call icon.
If you're in a Messages group but aren't yet part of a call that was started in that group, you can join via the FaceTime call message in that group. You may also get a notification which you can tap to join the call.
FaceTime in-call options
You can switch your camera on and off, switch to the rear camera or tap mute during any call. You can also tap the effects button to check out some fun camera effects plus Animoji or Memoji if you have a compatible iPhone.
Want more visual help? Then check out this video from Apple: