What to do if you receive a FaceTime link


Most business users will continue to use Zoom, Teams, and WebEx for video meetings, but once iOS 15 and macOS Monterey appear, it seems likely we’ll see meetings using FaceTime. What does it mean and what do you do?

FaceTime’s reach expands

Apple has finally taken a step to bring FaceTime out of its walled garden by allowing Windows and Android users to join a FaceTime meeting using a web browser.

“FaceTime calls also extend beyond Apple devices with the ability to link from an iPhone, iPad or Mac, and share it through Messages, Calendar, Mail or third-party apps,” said the company when the improvement was announced.

This is an important step, although it is far, far from what Steve Jobs promised in 2010 when he declared that FaceTime would become an “open industry standard”.

It doesn’t, and while FaceTime still has a lot to offer, it’s been about as useful as a chocolate teapot during the pandemic in supporting conversations between people on different platforms. No company really makes serious use of it, and I know of at least one large IT company that, as you would expect, would use it for outward-facing meetings that uses something else instead.

Zoom has become what FaceTime could have been.

What it doesn’t do

If you’re using a Windows, Linux, or Android device, you can’t start a FaceTime meeting. The new support simply means that you can open a link to jump to a meeting someone started on an Apple device in your browser. You also don’t get all the bells and whistles of the full FaceTime experience.

How to link to a FaceTime call

Apple users can link to a FaceTime call from FaceTime:

  • Open FaceTime.
  • In the conversation browser, tap Create a link. You can name this link.
  • You can then select a person to send the link to in the top row, or send the link through Messages, Mail, Twitter, or any other supported app from the Share menu.
  • Someone on an Android or Windows device will receive the link and can then access it in their browser, while an Apple user will automatically open the call in the FaceTime app when they click.
  • FaceTime calls on the web remain end-to-end encrypted, so privacy is not compromised.

The link appears in this kind of format: https://facetime.apple.com/join followed by a very long and complex alphanumeric hash code, which brings you to the right meeting. You can also insert this link in calendar events.

The person who created the meeting link can also delete it. If they do, the link will no longer work in case someone else supports it.

How to use a FaceTime link

  • If you receive any of these links, you will be taken to a progressive web application in your browser.
  • When you register you will be required to enter your name and a message will ask you to wait for the call host to let you in.
  • The call host will be notified that you are waiting to be admitted to the chat so they can let you in.
  • During a call, you have access to a very limited number of FaceTime features; Unfortunately, these don’t include any document sharing or collaboration tools. You can enter the chat in full screen mode, show and hide the video, or mute your microphone.
  • Press Leave to leave the call.

Who is it for ?

If there’s a good thing about it, it’s that someone using an Apple device can share a FaceTime link with others using other platforms, which their contacts can then use to send them a request. ‘call. I’m not convinced of its long-term usefulness, but that at least means that you and your contact can participate in free video calls using any device of your choice. Nonetheless, it appears to have limited utility for the business.

Apple is unfortunately in the position of “too little, too late“with FaceTime as a cross-platform solution, although the company may now intend to create platform-specific app wrappers for its web solution. If so, it is conceivable that it will could figure out a way to make FaceTime an actively useful business tool.In the current iteration, it’s just useful to know how it works.

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Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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