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How to use Apple's FaceTime on a Windows PC

Facetime Icon Iphone Xs Max Hero
Facetime Icon Iphone Xs Max Hero (Image credit: Windows Central)

Apple's FaceTime is one of the world's most well-known video-calling platforms, but until recently it was completely inaccessible to anyone using an Android phone or a Windows PC. Apple has finally opened up FaceTime to other platforms, though not in the way that would really make it a worthwhile alternative to solutions like WhatsApp or Zoom.

If you're on a Windows PC or laptop you can indeed now engage in FaceTime calls with your Apple-using friends and family. The big caveat, however, is that you can't call them. It only works if the call is initiated from an Apple device, be that an iPhone or an iPad.

Here's how it all works.

How to start a FaceTime call with someone on Windows

FaceTime calls only currently work on Windows if you're joining them from a link sent to you by someone who owns an Apple device. Essentially, they can call you, but you can't call them. Likewise, if you have an Apple device handy and you want to call someone who's using a Windows PC or tablet, then you can start the call.

It's important to note also that the iPhone or iPad used to start the call has to be using iOS 15 or iPad OS 15. It isn't supported by earlier versions.

Here's how it all goes.

  1. Open the FaceTime app on the iPhone or iPad.

Facetime

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Choose Create Link.
  2. At the top, hit Add Name and give it a name for your own convenience.

Facetime

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)
  1. Choose how you want to share the link.

Facetime

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

You can share the link in any number of ways from your Apple device, including copying the link to simply paste in a message or email or sharing directly to apps that support that feature.

This is basically the same as something like Google Meet or Microsoft Teams, where you create a call for others to join so long as they have the link from you. Before proceeding though, you will need to click Join to get yourself into the call.

Joining a FaceTime call on Windows

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Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Joining a FaceTime call on Windows is easy so long as you have the link. First you'll need to make sure your webcam and microphone are connected so you can be seen and heard, but from there it's a simple case of clicking the link or pasting it into your browser manually. It only officially supports Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome, however, though other Chromium-based browsers may suffice. It absolutely does not work in Firefox.

Once you've done this you'll be taken to a waiting room and only when the other party on the Apple device has joined the call and allowed you to enter will you be able to enjoy the wonders of a FaceTime call on your PC.

Facetime

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

It's a bit of a pain, and it's a shame you can't use it like a normal video-calling service to contact friends or family without getting them to first initiate the process, but it's at least something. It's taken Apple many years to even get to this point, so we shouldn't complain too much.

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

2 Comments
  • And this is exactly why anything Microsoft is better than anything iFruit. People keep saying Apple controls the market on this or that, but, honestly, in what sector do they really lead in units sold? Android far outstrips iPhone. There are probably more Android tablets sold. There are *definitely more Windows boxes than Mac. They really own no part of the tech industry. Except perhaps the guys who write tech articles...
  • What you say isn't necessarily wrong but it lacks context. For example, the iPhone is basically one device, no matter which model. All iPhone users can (and majority do) use iMessage, FaceTime etc. Android is frankly a mess. The fact iMessage and FaceTime are just built into the OS and good to use make them compelling to the average user. The problem with messaging and calling services is that there's so many, you go where your important people are. Getting people to switch to suit what you prefer is hard.