Here’s a first look at how FaceTime works in a web browser.
FaceTime garnered a lot of attention this week, thanks to new features in iOS 15 and macOS Monterey, which include screen sharing with friends, Live Portrait mode, better noise cancellation and even a web version. . I was able to try FaceTime on the web for the first time with my 9to5Mac colleague José Adorno, then read on for a first look at how it works on the web.
When Apple showed FaceTime running on Android and Windows during the WWDC 2021 opening keynote, I couldn’t have been more surprised. In 2010, Steve Jobs declared FaceTime to be “open source,” but that never happened and the functionality has always been exclusive to Apple devices.
This year, however, it looks like Apple wants more people to have access to its services, and that includes a web version of FaceTime – sort of. To be clear, FaceTime on the web isn’t like iCloud web apps that anyone can sign up for and use as they please. Instead, Apple simply allows iOS and macOS users to invite others to a call through a public link that can be opened in any web browser.
In other words, you still need an iPhone, iPad, or Mac to start a FaceTime call, but now your friends with Android devices or Windows PCs can join the call as well. Once you open the FaceTime app on iOS 15 or macOS Monterey, you’ll see a new option to create a public link, which also shows up during an ongoing call.
It’s basic but well done
For people receiving the public link, all they need to do is enter their name to participate in the call. You don’t need to have an Apple ID to use FaceTime on the web when invited by someone else. The interface is almost the same as using FaceTime on an Apple device, but there are no additional options available such as filters and other effects.
All you can do on FaceTime Web is turn the camera on or off, mute or unmute the microphone, and choose input devices. Image quality was not perfect in my testing, but Apple is making it clear that this is a beta feature and things may not work as expected.
Even so, FaceTime on the web will be a huge thing once it’s available to the public, as Apple’s platform doesn’t have any ads, paid subscription, or even trackers to collect your data. FaceTime Web is expected to be released this fall with iOS 15, macOS Monterey, and other software updates.
Make sure to check 9to5Mac’s coverage of everything new in iOS 15:
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