iOS 13.4 and macOS 10.15.4 Prevent FaceTime Calls From Working With Some Older iPhones and iPads Amid Pandemic

Newer devices running Apple's recently released iOS 13.4 and macOS 10.15.4 software updates are currently unable to make FaceTime audio and video calls with older devices running iOS 9.3.5 or iOS 9.3.6, according to numerous users across the Apple Support Communities, MacRumors Forums, Reddit, and Twitter.

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Apple normally recommends that users who cannot make or receive FaceTime calls update their devices to the latest software version, but iOS 9.3.5 or iOS 9.3.6 are the last supported software versions for several older devices, including the iPad 2, third-generation iPad, iPhone 4S, the first-generation iPad mini, and the fifth-generation iPod touch.

Devices running iOS 13.3.1 or macOS 10.15.3 can still make FaceTime calls with older devices, so it is unclear if this is a bug introduced with iOS 13.4 and macOS Catalina 10.15.4 or if this was an intentional decision. Apple did not immediately respond to our request for comment, but we will update this story if we hear back.

In any case, the timing of this is unfortunate due to the ongoing pandemic. Many affected users have mentioned being unable to reach a grandparent who still uses an older iPad, for example, during a time when social distancing is strongly recommended.

Hopefully this proves to be a simple bug that is resolved in short order.

Related Roundup: macOS Catalina

Top Rated Comments

IUBall22 Avatar
9 months ago
Talk about bad timing...
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chrono1081 Avatar
9 months ago


I like Apple's products as much as the next guy on here, but **** are they a disgusting company...
Planned obsolesce and removal of features because "we want you to buy new hardware during a pandemic" should be grounds for a lawsuit.

Spoken exactly like someone who doesn't understand software development. "Planned Obsolence" is largely a conspiracy theory, nothing more. When you add new features and functionally and security fixes some older hardware has to be left behind, you can't support the old stuff forever and those older models are pretty old.

This isn't "Apple wants you to buy new hardware during the pandemic!" frankly, its sad that's the first place you went. Reality is closer to "a change was made for <bug fix, security, etc> and either broke something by accident, or simply isn't compatible with older hardware.

Nothing more.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rosalindavenue Avatar
9 months ago
I've never needed to videoconference much pre-pandemic, but one thing I have observed is that facetime really needs a static grid view for multi-person calls. The dancing windows approach is annoying and unusable, at least for me.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Winstonp Avatar
9 months ago
I'll just say it before someone else does. People will argue that Apple is trying to force people to upgrade hardware by degrading the performance and functionality of older models.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
feldpos Avatar
9 months ago
Inconvenient timing but I guarantee it's a change in required encryption due to a security issue found in FaceTime and the older devices don't support e.g., TLS 1.3.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lpuerto Avatar
9 months ago


Spoken exactly like someone who doesn't understand software development. "Planned Obsolense" is largely a conspiracy theory, nothing more. When you add new features and functionally and security fixes some older hardware has to be left behind, you can't support the old stuff forever and those older models are pretty old.

This isn't "Apple wants you to buy new hardware during the pandemic!" frankly, its sad that's the first place you went. Reality is closer to "a change was made for <bug fix, security, etc> and either broke something by accident, or simply isn't compatible with older hardware.

Nothing more.

I think that planned obsolescence is just a conspiracy theory. But if they are going to make such a big move, they should announce on their release notes —at the very least— and this kind of things it should wait for a major version update. Right now I can't talk to my mom that is on confinement in Spain, lucky my wife hasn't update her devices and we can still call my mom, but WTF!
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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