Group FaceTime, which lets you chat with up to 32 people at one time, is relatively easy to use, but it may not be immediately obvious how a call is initiated nor how all of the group chat options work, which is why we've taken an in-depth look at the new feature. To use Group ‌FaceTime‌, all participants must have iOS 12.1.4 or later installed.

Placing a Call

There are two ways to initiate a Group ‌FaceTime‌ call, using the ‌FaceTime‌ app or the Messages app.

FaceTime App

groupfacetimeapp

  1. Open up the ‌FaceTime‌ app
  2. Tap on the "+" button in the upper right hand corner.
  3. In the "To" field, type a name and tap it.
  4. Type another name.
  5. Continue typing in all of the names of the participants who you want to chat with.
  6. When ready to place the call, tap on either the audio or the video option and participants will receive a popup letting them know that you want to ‌FaceTime‌ with them.

Messages App

groupfacetimemessages

  1. Open up an existing multi-person conversation or create a new iMessage chat thread.
  2. At the top, where the names of the chat participants are listed, tap to bring up a menu bar.
  3. Choose the "‌FaceTime‌" option to transition from a text-based conversation to a video or audio call.

The Messages ‌FaceTime‌ interface works with just one person or with a group of people, and it's perhaps the easiest way to initiate a multi-person ‌FaceTime‌ call.

Receiving an Incoming Call Request

When a Group ‌FaceTime‌ chat is initiated either via ‌FaceTime‌ or through the Messages app, you will get a notification letting you know that a ‌FaceTime‌ call is initiating, which you can tap to join.

groupfacetimejoin

Joining an Existing Group FaceTime Call

When you're in a group chat in the Messages app and someone initiates a Group ‌FaceTime‌ conversation, any person in the chat can join the call at anytime.

groupfacetimejoin 1
In the Messages interface, there's a chat popup that lets you know a call is ongoing, with a "Join" button available and the number of people active in the conversation.

Joining a conversation is as simple as tapping that "Join" button, which automatically adds you to the call. There's no approval interface, so be aware that if you're in the middle of a conversation, anyone from a group Messages chat can interrupt and join in.

While in a Group ‌FaceTime‌ call, you'll also see a chat bubble that lets you know how long the call has been going on.

groupfacetimecalllength

Adding Another Person Through FaceTime

While in a ‌FaceTime‌ call, you can easily add another person to the chat.

addpersongroupfacetime

  1. In an active call, tap on the icon that features three dots.
  2. Tap on "Add Person."
  3. Choose a name from the list to send them a notification to join in.

Leaving a Group FaceTime Call

As with a standard ‌FaceTime‌ call, exiting a Group ‌FaceTime‌ chat is as simple as tapping the big red "X" button to end the chat.

groupfacetimeendcall

Focusing on Chat Members

All Group ‌FaceTime‌ calls are displayed with a tiled interface that highlights the person who last spoke. If you have a call with multiple people, you'll see tiles of various sizes focusing on main participants, with those who haven't spoken recently minimized in small tiles.

groupfacetimefocustap
You can double tap on any person's tile to make it the focal point in your ‌FaceTime‌ view, enlarging the tile to its biggest possible size. Tap again to go back to the standard tiled view.

groupfacetimeunfocusedmaintile

Applying Effects

In addition to multi-person ‌FaceTime‌ calls, iOS 12 adds a new ‌FaceTime‌ effects camera that you can use while chatting. While in a ‌FaceTime‌ call, tap on the star-shaped icon to the left of the end call button to access options that include Animoji and Memoji, filters, stickers, shapes, and text.

groupfacetimeeffects
Multiple effects can be applied at once, which are displayed to all chat participants. The people you're chatting with can also choose different effects to use, leading to chats filled with different Memoji and Animoji characters. Memoji and Animoji are limited to devices with the TrueDepth camera system.

Top Rated Comments

Babygotfont Avatar
50 months ago
Apple, 2003 called ... it wants it’s technology back
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BruceEBonus Avatar
50 months ago
George Orwell would be proud.its like a premonition of what the future could be like if we let technology take over our natural interpersonal behaviour.

"Yeah. Well. That don't apply to me cos I don't ave any of them intra professional skills anyway. Whatever that is. And the funny pictures with mouths speaking is funny innit? Look. A talking cat. Cat talking. Funny"

Ah yes. I see your argument Yes It is a lot easier to use than going to the hassle of actual social interaction

Pass me that iPhone thing again and I'll ring a few people and tell them I'll not pop over but will show a not-very-accurate caricaturised representation of myself instead It'll be exactly the same experience. Won't it? Good. Thank you Apple
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Morgenland Avatar
50 months ago

George Orwell would be proud.its like a premonition of what the future could be like if we let technology take over our natural interpersonal behaviour.

"Yeah. Well. That don't apply to me cos I don't ave any of them intra professional skills anyway. Whatever that is. And the funny pictures with mouths speaking is funny innit? Look. A talking cat. Cat talking. Funny"

Ah yes. I see your argument Yes It is a lot easier to use than going to the hassle of actual social interaction

Pass me that iPhone thing again and I'll ring a few people and tell them I'll not pop over but will show a not-very-accurate caricaturised representation of myself instead It'll be exactly the same experience. Won't it? Good. Thank you Apple
I'm in London right now, meet me in an hour for a quick catch up?
Trying to make fun of him? I found BruceEBonus' contribution very good and mature.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
harriska2 Avatar
50 months ago
Need all callers have iOS 12, or can some get limited access to the group call?
I tried to add non ios 12 peeps and it was greyed out so I suspect, yes, everyone needs to be ios 12. I only upgraded my ipad 12.9 so don’t know if that is part of my limitation.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ignatius345 Avatar
50 months ago
Experts call Flash inefficient, but it ran a video call fine iBook G4-era Macs, and Google Hangouts with its new web technology manages to use 200% CPU on my 2015 rMBP. FaceTime is much better but still a total CPU hog compared to the 2003 tech.
Yeah, and that video looked like crap, too. Video resolution and bandwidth have gone way up since then, and no surprise it costs more processing power to make that work. But nobody wants Flash back, thank you very much.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
charlituna Avatar
50 months ago
Well, great, and with Emojis too..

But, Apple still won’t allow us to conveniently create groups in Contacts without some convoluted process through iTunes and a desktop...
Yep.

Also no broadcast mode in this group chat with text commenting by viewers. Everyone else has done it on their systems and the whole “in a group messages chat and go to FaceTime with a click” shows there’s linking between the two.

Broadcast mode would be killer for schools. Even better would be a mode where more viewers could join and there could be limited but multiple speakers. Like say up to 4 speakers. Or even two on a phone but 4 on an iPad, Mac or Apple TV (with a special app for viewing such broadcasts). A teacher could link up two classes even across the planet, do an interview with some special guest etc.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Pro Purple Front and Back MacRumors Exclusive

iPhone 14 Pro Renders Highlight Multiple Design Changes

Wednesday May 25, 2022 8:56 am PDT by
Leaker Jon Prosser today shared ostensibly accurate renders of the iPhone 14 Pro, providing the most accurate look yet at what the device could look like when it launches later this year. In the latest video on YouTube channel Front Page Tech, Prosser revealed renders of the iPhone 14 Pro made by Apple concept graphic designer Ian Zelbo, highlighting a range of specific design changes...
iPhone 13 Always On Feature

iPhone 14 Pro Screen Refresh Rate Upgrade Could Allow for Always-On Display

Tuesday May 24, 2022 7:23 am PDT by
Last year's iPhone 13 Pro models were the first of Apple's smartphones to come with 120Hz ProMotion displays, and while the two iPhone 14 Pro models will continue to feature the technology, their screens could well boast expanded refresh rate variability this time round. To bring ProMotion displays to the ‌iPhone 13 Pro models‌, Apple adopted LTPO panel technology with variable refresh...
iPad Pro USB C Feature Coral

Deals: Apple's iPad Pro Reaches Up to $449 Off in Amazon's Latest Sales

Wednesday May 25, 2022 10:09 am PDT by
Amazon is marking down a wide variety of 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models this week, with prices starting as low as $749.00 for the 11-inch tablet. You'll find the full list of sales below, all of which can be found on Amazon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep...
apple account card

Wallet App Now Supports Apple Account Cards on iOS 15.5

Wednesday May 25, 2022 5:01 pm PDT by
Apple appears to have recently updated the Wallet app to allow users to add an Apple Account Card, which displays the Apple credit balance associated with an Apple ID. If you receive an App Store or Apple Store gift card, for example, it is added to an Apple Account that was previously visible in the App Store and Apple Store apps. As of today, the Apple Account balance can also be added to...
Apple Tap to Pay iPhone

Apple Stores Rolling Out iPhone-to-iPhone Contactless Payments Starting Today

Wednesday May 25, 2022 6:54 am PDT by
Apple in February unveiled a new "Tap to Pay on iPhone" feature that will allow compatible iPhones to accept payments via Apple Pay, contactless credit and debit cards, and other digital wallets, with no additional hardware required. Apple began testing the feature at its Apple Park Visitor Center earlier this month, and now Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has tweeted that the feature will begin...
apple wwdc 2022

Apple Shares WWDC 2022 Schedule, Keynote to Take Place June 6 at 10:00 a.m PT

Tuesday May 24, 2022 9:06 am PDT by
Apple today confirmed that the keynote event for the Worldwide Developers Conference will begin at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time on June 6, the first day of WWDC. The keynote will be an online-only event, though a select number of developers have been invited to the Apple Park campus for a viewing event. In addition to confirming the keynote date and time, Apple has shared the full WWDC 2022...