How To Use The iPhone’s Group FaceTime Calling Feature


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Apple released iOS 12.1 this week and the biggest new feature in it is Group FaceTime. Apple actually announced Group FaceTime back in June and had planned to ship it with iOS 12 in September, but they held the feature back to make improvements.

But now with the arrival of iOS 12.1 users can now make Group FaceTime audio and video calls with up to a staggering 32 people. Group FaceTime also features cool features like automatic detection of active speakers, ringless notifications, and of course are encrypted end to end so they remain private and viewable only by the participants. All it’s features in detail:

  • Automatic detection of active speakers: FaceTime uses on-device intelligence to display the most prominent speakers on the call, automatically highlighting the current speaker by bringing them to the forefront. It automatically sizes each person’s image depending upon how active they are in the conversation, based on duration of speech, volume and even motion. Participants who are not active will appear at the bottom of the screen until they speak. A simple tap also brings a participant front and centre
  • Ringless notification: When calling more than one person, FaceTime displays a notification that lets you instantly join a call without being disruptive. 
  • Messages integration: Group FaceTime is integrated into the Messages app, making it easy to start a Group FaceTime right from a group iMessage chat. If people in a conversation have already started a FaceTime session, Messages shows the active call in the conversation list and inside your conversations. 
  • Private: All FaceTime conversations, both one-to-one and multi-person, are encrypted end to end so they remain private and viewable only by the participants.

So just how do you use Group FaceTime? We’re glad you asked!

Group FaceTime: Make A Call From The FaceTime App


  1. Open the FaceTime app.
  2. Tap the + button in the top-right corner.
  3. Enter the name of your contacts, their phone numbers, or their emails of the people you want to Group Call.
  4. To start your FaceTime call, tap the Audio or Video buttons.

Group FaceTime: Make A Call From The Messages App


  1. Open the Messages app.
  2. Start a new group conversation or go to an existing group conversation.
  3. Tap the contacts at the top of the group conversation.
  4. Tap the FaceTime (camera icon) button, then start your call.

Group FaceTime: Join A Call

There are several ways you can join a Group FaceTime call:

  • Tap the notification you receive in the Notification Center or on the Lock screen, then tap the green FaceTime camera button.
  • To join a Group FaceTime call from Messages, tap the notification at the top of your screen or tap the green “Join” button inside the message you receive. After you tap Join, you’re automatically connected to the group call.
  • To join a group call from the FaceTime app, just go to the active call in FaceTime, then tap the green FaceTime camera button.


Group FaceTime: Adding Another Person To An Active Call

  1. On the call screen, tap the + button.
  2. Tap Add Person.
  3. Enter the person’s name, phone number, or email.
  4. Tap Add Person to FaceTime.

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