What is FaceTime?

By: HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

This face time isn’t about getting quality time in front of your boss; this FaceTime is a video chat application developed by Apple. Apple developed it on an open standard, which means that technically (no pun intended), FaceTime could be used across a range of platforms, and other manufacturers can leverage FaceTime’s protocol. However, in reality, FaceTime remains available only to users of Apple products. Specifically, you can use FaceTime from your iPhone 4, iPad 2, iPod Touch, or Mac computer, and you’ll need to be contacting someone on one of these devices as well. However, Apple has priced the FaceTime app so low (currently just 99 cents), that it’s clearly trying to encourage all Apple users to adopt this software for their video chat, even if they can only talk to other Mac devices/users with it.

How you use FaceTime depends on which device you want to call. If you want to call someone’s iPhone, you can just dial his/her phone number. If you want to reach him/her on the iPad, iPod Touch or Mac computer, you’ll type in the email address. The good (or bad) news is that when you make or receive a FaceTime call, it will ring on all your Mac devices. So you’re reachable wherever you are, even if you don’t really want to be. Of course, you can alter your FaceTime preferences in order to turn this feature off.


Some of the other features in FaceTime are the picture in picture view. With this feature, you can see exactly what your conversation partner is seeing of you. You can also use either the front or rear view camera on your device, as well as easily transition between landscape and portrait view. Also, FaceTime can now support high-definition video calls, assuming you have a high-def camera (up to 720p) on your device.