(Pocket-lint) - While at WWDC 2021, Apple announced a new FaceTime feature: FaceTime links. With this feature that is designed to compete with Zoom, anyone - including Android and Windows PC users - can join a FaceTime call.
Here's what you need to know.
What are FaceTime links?
- New FaceTime feature
- Start calls and video calls with non-Apple users
In the new FaceTime app, which rolls out alongside iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey, you can create a link to a FaceTime conversation and then share it with others, even if they do not have an Apple device.
This means FaceTime is no longer just limited to Apple users. They can simply join the call via a web browser. Non-Apple users can join a one-on-one FaceTime call or even a Group FaceTime call, too.
When will FaceTime links be available?
- FaceTime links are now available to test in the developer beta
- Official rollout will happen later this year
Currently, developer and public betas of those software updates are now available for testing purposes. However, you'll likely want to wait until they officially roll out, to ensure they're free of any major bugs and glitches.
What do FaceTime links require?
- Apple device (running iOS 15, iPadOS 15, or macOS Monterey)
- New FaceTime app
- Chrome or Edge browser
You need an Apple user - with an iPhone, iPad, or Mac running iOS 15, iPadOS 15, or macOS Monterey, respectively - to initiate a FaceTime call, generate a FaceTime link, and share it with others.
Non-Apple users can join calls using Chrome or Edge browsers. Video calls require H.264 encoding support.
How to create and share a FaceTime link
Here is the process for generating a FaceTime link to start a call with Android or Windows PC users.
Create a link
- Launch the new FaceTime app on your iPhone or iPad.
- You will see two options:
- Create a Link
- New FaceTime.
- Tap Create a Link.
- FaceTime app will instantly generate a link.
- It will appear on the screen, below an "Upcoming" section.
Share a link
- Follow the steps above to generate a link.
- The sharing tab will immediately appear, allowing you to select how and with who you want to share the link with.
- If you tap the 'X', the FaceTime Link will appear under the upcoming section.
- Tap the "i" button next to the "FaceTime Link".
- Choose the "Share Link" option in the menu.
- Pick a method to share the FaceTime call link to an Android device.
- You can share via text message, WhatsApp, email, Messenger, etc.
- You can also just copy the link and move to an app and share it that way.
How to join a FaceTime call as an Android or PC user
It's easy. Just tap on the link you've been sent and then join the conversation.
Join a FaceTime conversation
- Tap on the FaceTime link you have received on your device.
- You need the latest version of Chrome or Edge to open the link.
- Enter your name to join the FaceTime call.
- You don't need an Apple account.
- Tap the "Join" button on the screen.
- This will send a notification to the Apple user who created the link.
- You will see a "Waiting to be let in…" message at the bottom of the screen.
- The Apple user will need to tap a "check" button to let you join the call.
Want to know more?
The new FaceTime app includes a ton of other updates and improvements to FaceTime, including Spatial audio support, a Voice Isolation mode for blocking background noise, a grid view for seeing all participants, and a SharePlay feature that's kind of like a watch party - though this latter feature isn't available immediately.