While I was growing up, I remember my mother once saying, “I heard someone say that in the future, they are going to come out with video telephones. Imagine! You’ll have to comb your hair every time the phone rings.” Well, that future is now and it’s called FaceTime.
FaceTime is a technology that allows two people to chat via video using their wireless data connection or the Internet; hence, it is a video chat program. What’s nice about FaceTime is that not only can you chat from your Mac but you can also video chat using your iPhone or iPad. Once you are signed in, you’ll be asked which phone number or email address you wish to use. This includes any iCloud.com, me.com or Mac.com addresses associated with your account. Your Mac uses its built-in iSight camera and if you are using your iPad or iPhone, you can switch between your front facing camera and rear facing camera.
After you log in, FaceTime displays all the people from your Contacts app. Click the name of the person you wish to call to display their information. You will then need to choose a number or an e-mail address associated with that person’s AppleID (at the moment, only those who have an AppleID can use chat via FaceTime). Double-click the person’s e-mail or phone number to initiate a chat. The recipient’s device will then ring, notifying them of an incoming FaceTime call. They have the option of accepting or declining the call.
If you call certain people often, you might want to add them to your Favorites list by clicking the Add to Favorites button, which displays when you click their name in the Contacts list. You can access the Favorites list by clicking the Favorites button on the bottom of the screen. You can also display recent incoming or outgoing call, as well as display your entire entire contacts list.
During the call, the main window displays the recipient of the call and your image is displayed in a small box on the lower corner of your device. You can choose to rotate the mini-window horizontally by choosing Video ➪ Landscape from the menu, vertically by choosing Video ➪ Portrait or enter full screen mode by choosing Video ➪ Full Screen Mode.
To end a session, click the End button or choose Window ➪ Close from the menu.
If you haven’t experimented with FaceTime, you might want to give it a try. I personally find it preferable to using the phone. I have some friends who rarely use their phone for voice only calls — for them, it’s FaceTime all the way. Of course, you need to make sure that you always have a comb handy.