How to make group FaceTime calls with up to 32 people while social distancing due to coronavirus
- FaceTime is Apple's video chatting feature available on Apple products, and group FaceTime calls first became available in 2018.
- Communication tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams have seen downloads spike as people are encouraged to stay in their homes due to the coronavirus.
- The coronavirus outbreak has killed more than 15,000 people worldwide and infected more than 353,000, according to recent totals.
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With people forced to work and learn from home, apps like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Slack have seen spikes in downloads and usage as they become essential to daily life.
Apple first introduced FaceTime video calling with the iPhone 4 in 2010 and has since expanded it to other Apple products including the Mac and iPad. In 2018, Apple announced group FaceTime, which would allow up to 32 people into a call.
As of Monday, COVID-19, the novel coronavirus disease, has infected more than 349,000 people worldwide, and has killed more than 15,000.
On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared it a pandemic. The virus has disrupted travel worldwide, leading to flight cancellations, quarantines, and other breakdowns in movement. New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington state, among other US locations, have closed bars and restaurants except for takeout as experts warn about the importance of social distancing in slowing the spread of the virus.
Here's how to use Facetime to stay in touch with your friends and socialize - from a distance.
First, to check that group FaceTime is enabled on your device, check that you have iOS 12.1.4 or later, or iPad OS by going to Settings>General>Software Update.
Make FaceTime calls through iMessage, or by opening up the FaceTime app, which is included as a native app on Apple devices.
To make a call in the app, select the plus sign in the top right.
The option to add people to a call will appear, and you can add multiple contacts at once.
First, I called my sister, who is also isolating in my house and was okay being roped into helping me with this article. I selected a video call.
While the call was connecting, I was confronted with a giant front-facing view of my social distancing look.
Scroll up for options, including seeing who is on the call and adding more people.
Next, I added my brother, who was also around and volunteered to help.
While waiting for the call to connect, my iPhone showed the contacts that I was waiting for.
Once connected, the app splits the screen between participants.
Callers with an iPhone X or later, an iPad Pro 11-inch, or iPad Pro 12.9-inch can use the effects button to add Memoji and Animoji.
I also asked my brother to put my dog on the phone, which she mostly ignored.
When more people are on the call, the person speaking has the largest video.
If someone invites you to a group FaceTime call, a notification that looks like an iMessage will come up on your lock screen.
Calls can also come in through iMessage, and they look like this.
To make a FaceTime call in iMessage, click the FaceTime button at the top of the group chat.
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