6 Ways FaceTime Can Make Long Distance Friendship A Little Easier In iOS 15

FaceTime takes Zoom in its iOS 15 upgrades.

Apple

This story is part of WWDC 2021. All the latest coverage from Apple’s annual developer conference.

Apple gave FaceTime a big overhaul this year with the release of iOS 15, making the video chat app even more useful. The biggest improvement is the ability to use FaceTime on Android and Windows devices. You can also host virtual evenings in the application’s new SharePlay function, schedule calls in advance and more.

It’s clear that Apple is going after the video chat giant Zoom with its extensive list of FaceTime features, and we’re quite excited about it. Some of the features indeed help make FaceTime more similar to Zoom, while other features – like SharePlay – are all new and could offer new ways to virtually hang out with friends.

If you do not have downloaded iOS 15 update, here’s how to get it. And while you’re at it, here is everything Apple added in iOS 15.1, and everything we know so far about iOS 15.2, which is still in beta. Once your iPhone is in order, read on for how to use the new FaceTime features.


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Generate a FaceTime invitation link

Instead of calling another FaceTime user through the app like you would a phone call, you can now generate an invite link to send to your friends, family, or coworkers. This allows you to put links in calendars and schedule them for later, rather than having to set up the call when the meeting begins.

It also allows …

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Apple / Screenshot by CNET

FaceTime with Android and Windows

FaceTime was previously only available to iPhone or iMac users, but you can now use invite links. people on Android or Windows join the call. Once you send them the link, they will be able to join through their web browser on the device they are using. Apple says calls will always be end-to-end encrypted.

Try spatial audio in the FaceTime app

A new spatial audio isolation function is in the FaceTime app and greatly helps reduce background noise. An Apple demo shows a person using a noisy leaf blower behind the caller. When the new isolation feature is activated, only their words can be heard.

A related but completely opposite improvement uses 3D audio processing to capture more of the environment around a speaker and make you feel like you’re in the same room.

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Apple / Screenshot by CNET

Portrait mode for FaceTime

Using depth-sensing cameras on recent iPhones, iPads and iMacs, portrait mode in FaceTime will give you a nicely blurry background on your FaceTime calls. Zoom offers similar functionality, but this is only software, so we may see an improvement in the way you are “cut” from your background in Apple’s version.

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Apple / Screenshot by CNET

Organize a virtual evening with SharePlay

SharePlay allows you to watch movies or listen to music fully synced with your friends and family on FaceTime. Suppose, for example, you want to watch Shrek with your friends (because why not you). SharePlay would allow the movie to start on your two devices (iPad, iPhone, Mac, or Apple TV) at exactly the same time, mimicking the experience of watching it together in the same room. Both sides of the call can pause and rewind whatever you’re watching, and you can stream the movie to your Apple TV using your phone or iPad just for the FaceTime call.

It works with iTunes and Apple Music, as well as HBO, TikTok, Disney Plus, Paramount Plus, and others.

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Apple / Screenshot by CNET

FaceTime group grid view

With friends and family scattered everywhere, group FaceTime calls are a big feature. The new grid view puts everyone on the call on the screen, making it easier to see who’s online with the active speaker highlighted. It looks a lot like Zoom’s gallery view and will be a welcome addition to anyone trying to negotiate family group calls or team meetings on FaceTime.

To learn more, take a look at Apple netflix party rival that you can use for your next FaceTime date, The coolest features of iOS 15 and some iOS 15 hidden features we have found. Also, here’s how prepare your phone to install iOS 15, our full iOS 15 review, and the IOS 15 settings to change right away for a better experience.

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