The FaceTime video calling feature is one of the flashiest and most exciting features of the iOS platform. As Apple likes to demonstrate, it's as simple as tapping the FaceTime icon when making a call and suddenly you're looking at the person you're talking to.
But what if it's not working? What are some common causes of FaceTime not working?
There are a few reasons the FaceTime button might not light up as active or show up as an option when you make a call.
- FaceTime has to be turned on - In order to use FaceTime it must be enabled (If you turned it on when you set up your device, you shouldn't need to worry about this, but if FaceTime isn't working, check this setting). Do this by tapping the Settings app. Scroll down to FaceTime (or Phone in iOS 4). Slide the FaceTime slider to On/Green.
- FaceTime calls have to be on Wi-Fi – Summer/Fall 2012 Update: This is not true if you're running iOS 6 or higher. Starting with iOS 6, FaceTime works on 3G/4G, too, assuming your carrier supports it. Some phone carriers do not currently allow FaceTime calls over their networks (presumably because a video call would require a lot of bandwidth and, as we know, AT&T's got something of a bandwidth shortage). If you're not connected to a Wi-Fi network when you place the call, you won't be able to use FaceTime.
- Your carrier must support it - Even if you're tying to make a FaceTime call over 3G or 4G (rather than Wi-Fi), your phone carrier needs to support FaceTime. Major carriers do, but not every phone company that sells the iPhone offers FaceTime over cellular. Check to see if your carrier supports it.
- You need to be connected to a network - If your device isn't connected to Wi-Fi or a cellular network, you won't be able to use FaceTime.
- Calls must be between two compatible devices – If you're calling someone on an older iPhone or other kind of cell phone, you won't see the FaceTime icon. The person you're calling needs to have an iPhone 4 or higher, a 4th generation iPod touch or newer, an iPad 2 or newer, or a modern Mac in order to use FaceTime, since those models have a user-facing camera to allow the person you're calling to see you and run the correct software.
- FaceTime app is missing - If the FaceTime app or feature is missing from your device entirely, it could be that the app has been turned off using Content Restrictions. To check this, go to Settings, then tap on General, and tap on Restrictions. If Restrictions are turned on, look for the FaceTime or Camera options (turning off Camera also turns off FaceTime). If a restriction is turned on for either one, turn it off by moving the slider to White/Off.
If FaceTime isn't working when you use the Phone app, you can also try the standalone FaceTime app that comes on iOS 7 and up.
If you meet these requirements, you should be able to have a video call in no time. If you meet the requirements and none of these steps help, you may have other issues with your phone or network connection that need to be investigated.