How to make Group FaceTime calls on the iPhone, iPad, or Mac
Video conferencing is bigger than it’s even been now that we’re all keeping our distance from one another, and with Group FaceTime, Apple has an appealing option of its own—provided everyone on the call has either an iPhone, iPad, and Mac. If you’ve been put off by all the iffy privacy decisions being made by popular alternatives like Zoom, this should come as an especially welcome alternative.
It’s free, it’s really easy to set up, and Apple even allows a whopping 32 people to take part in a single FaceTime call. Here’s how to do it.
How to make a Group FaceTime call through the FaceTime app
We’ll start here since this is the easiest way to start a FaceTime chat with a lot of people, especially if you’ve never called or chatted with them through Messages before. These instructions are for iOS and iPadOS, but we’ve also included instructions for macOS afterward.
Open the FaceTime app.
Press the + button in the upper right-hand corner.
If the person is in your Contacts, you can just enter their name. If they’re not, you can enter their phone number. You’ll know if they’re on iOS (and can participate in the call) if the numbers or names show up in blue text. If they aren’t, the names and numbers will be in gray and you won’t be able to interact with them. You can add up to 31 people.
Press Audio or Video to start the call.
Once the call has started, you can add another person to the call at any point by swiping up on the FaceTime menu options along the bottom of the display and pressing Add Person.
To end the call, press the red icon with an “X” in the lower right that says “end.” To end the call, press the red icon with an “X” in the lower right that says “end.”
On a Mac
Making FaceTime calls on the Mac is a little different, but weirdly enough, you have a bit more versatility in that you can start calls with people who aren’t on Apple devices, so long as you only do it through audio.
Open the FaceTime app.
In the panel that appears to the left of the video feed, you’ll see a search bar that says “Enter a name, email or number.” Do as it says. You can add as many as 31 people.
Two buttons will appear at the bottom of the panel after you enter the first name. Once you’ve chosen everyone you want to enter press Video. (If you haven’t added any Apple users to the group, press Audio. Unlike on iOS or iPadOS, you can still use the Mac to Group FaceTime with people on Android, but they’ll just hear it through audio.)
The call will immediately start.