When Steve Jobs took the stage at WWDC in 2010 and introduced iOS 4 (replaced from the iPhone OS!), one marquee feature was FaceTime. Jobs had big ambitions for Video calling standard. “We are moving to standards bodies starting tomorrow. And we are going to make FaceTime an open industry standard,” he said.
As we know, it didn’t work that way at all. FaceTime remained Apple’s only technology for over a decade, but iOS 15 (and iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey) changes all that. For the first time ever, you’ll be able to have FaceTime conversations with those on a Windows PC or Android phone.
However, Apple is not providing the FaceTime app for them. No, instead you’ll be able to create a link for a FaceTime call, which you can attach to a future calendar event, share in Slack or via text, or whatever else you want to do with it . Anyone running a Windows PC or Android phone (or Linux box or whatever) would open the call in their web browser, and the link creator would have to allow them to join the call.
Therefore, an Apple device is still required to make FaceTime calls and serve as the “host” to allow others, but you can at least chat between devices. Here’s how the new FaceTime Link feature works.
create facetime link
Before you can chat with someone using Windows or Android, you’ll need to create a link to connect with them.
Open the FaceTime app on your iPhone or iPad
Tap create link
The share sheet will open. you can tap copy Choose an app or person to copy the link and paste it wherever you want, or to share it.
When you’re done, you’ll see the FaceTime link call in the main history list under “Upcoming” calls.
The call hasn’t started yet, and it won’t until you tap that upcoming “FaceTime link” call and then tap “Join” in the upper right.
Tap the Info button (i) on Call if you want to share the link again or if you want to delete it. The link should remain active until it’s manually removed, so you can add it to a calendar event a month away or schedule a FaceTime call for next year’s Mother’s Day.
delete facetime link
Those FaceTime Link calls stick around until you delete them, which isn’t really such a bad thing. This allows you to make a call for a future date, even if it is only being used by Apple devices.
To delete future FaceTime Link calls, simply:
Swipe left on the event.
A confirmation message pops up, warning you that the link will no longer work for anyone you sent it to. Tap delete link to confirm.
Chatting with Android or Windows Users
Anyone connecting from an Android phone or Windows PC will be directed to their default browser, where they join the FaceTime Progressive Web app in their browser window. It works pretty well, but it’s definitely one with limited options and features.
When those users join a call, they must first type in a name to use during the call. Importantly, they do No An Apple ID is needed.
After the Windows/Android user has entered their name, the Apple user who created the link will receive a notification that the person is waiting to enter. While they wait for you to tap the button to accept, they won’t see the contents of the call, just a “Waiting to be done” message with their own live video.
Once you let that person in, you’ll chat like a regular video call, though Windows/Android users won’t have nearly as many options. You can switch cameras and use an external microphone or earbuds, or change scenes if there’s more than one person on the call. You’ll also be able to share the link with anyone else you want to invite.
When your call is over, you can press Finish or the person on the other end can tap leave.
I have written professionally about technology for my entire adult professional life – over 20 years. I like to find out how complex technology works and explain it in a way that anyone can understand.