The rise of apps like Microsoft Teams and Zoom during the pandemic caught everyone’s attention, including Apple. With iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey, FaceTime gets welcome additions such as screen sharing, SharePlay, Portrait mode, and more. Among them, FaceTime’s debut on Android and Windows stole the show at WWDC. Here’s how to use FaceTime on Android and Windows.
Before you get all excited thinking native FaceTime apps for Android and Windows are coming, don’t. While Apple did enable FaceTime to support Android and Windows, the video calling service has several limitations compared to the FaceTime experience you get on Apple’s own products.
As we mentioned above, Apple doesn’t plan to launch any native FaceTime app for Android or Windows. Don’t expect to just go to the Google Play Store or Microsoft Store to install and start using FaceTime right away on your non-Apple device.
Instead, you can only use FaceTime using the web browser on Android and Windows. On Windows, FaceTime will only support Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge at launch. On Android, all browsers and devices with the H.264 codec are supported.
FaceTime Limitations on Android and Windows
In its early days, FaceTime is missing a lot of features on Windows and Android. Something you should keep in mind before making FaceTime your preferred way to stay connected with friends and family.
- There is no way to generate a FaceTime link or initiate a FaceTime call on Android or Windows.
- No native apps. You can only join a FaceTime call via a compatible web browser.
- FaceTime’s hot new feature, SharePlay, is missing. You won’t be able to listen to songs together or watch movies on supported platforms with friends on FaceTime.
- Screen sharing is absent as well. There is no way to see your friend’s shared iPhone or Mac screen.
- No support for background blur, filters, or Apple Memoji.
As you can see from the list above, the current FaceTime implementation is missing quite a handful of features that Apple recently announced at WWDC. If these functions matter to you, you are better off using a rival such as Zoom, Teams, or Google Meet that offer feature parity on all the platforms.
Windows or Android users can’t generate a FaceTime link or initiate a FaceTime call. They need to ask someone using an iPhone, iPad, or Mac to create a FaceTime meeting link and share it with them.
Here’s how to generate a FaceTime link on the iPhone and share it with your friends and family so that they can join FaceTime group call on Android or Windows devices.
Step 1: Open the FaceTime app on your iPhone.
Step 2: Tap on Create Link at the top.
Step 3: It will open the default iOS share menu.
Step 4: Share the link using any social media app, or you can email the FaceTime call link via email.
Step 5: Tap on the info button and join the call.
Since you have created the FaceTime call, you need to first join the call so that you can allow others joining from Windows and Android to become a part of the group call.
Windows and Android users need to find the active FaceTime link received on any app or email. Click on it, and FaceTime will open the link in the browser. From here on, follow the steps below.
Step 1: Simply add your name to the FaceTime web, and you are good to go. No need to have or create an Apple account for that.
Step 2: When you join the call, you won’t see others in the call. The admin (who created the FaceTime link) needs to add you to the call. Only then can you be a part of the FaceTime call.
The process remains the same on Android as well. The received FaceTime link will open in your default mobile browser on Android. Add your name, join the call, and wait for the admin to let you in on the call. Here’s how it looks on Android.
As you might have expected, FaceTime controls and options are quite limited on Android and Windows. As of now, you can only make a handful of changes during a call.
- Go to Full Screen
During the FaceTime call, if you want to maximize the screen, you can use the full-screen mode and take advantage of bigger screen space.
- Mute FaceTime Audio
You have the option of muting your phone’s or PC’s microphone during a FaceTime call and prevent others from hearing you.
- Enable/Disable Video
It’s quite straightforward. With a single click on the video icon, you can enable or disable the camera on your side.
- Grid Layout
As the name suggests, the Grid layout allows you to view all the users in grid view. Simply click on the three-dot menu and enable Grid Layout in the call.
The current FaceTime integration in Android and Windows leaves a lot to desire. Apple could have done a better job than simply offering a web version with significant limitations.
It’s Apple’s indirect way of telling Windows and Android users that if you want all those productive and fun sharing features as your iPhone and Mac-owning friends, switch to Apple.