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How to Group FaceTime and see your friends this weekend

We’re entering a period, during which spending time with friends and family will become a lot trickier.

However, where there’s the internet, there’s a way. We’re already seeing plenty of inventive new ways for people to enjoy each other’s company without the need for physical presence – for example, the Netflix Party Chrome extension.

However, there are plenty of existing tools that, while not directly replacing the real thing, could ease the separation anxiety caused by self-isolation like Group FaceTime video calls from Apple, for example.

If you’re missing going to the pub with your mates this Friday night, you could always get a few cans in (or delivered) and jump on a FaceTime call to BS with your usual weekend crew.

Group FaceTime calls are available if you have a device running iOS 12.1.4 and up, or macOS Mojave, aka 10.14.3. They allow 32 people to jump in on a video chat concurrently, which is enough for even the largest friendship groups to enjoy a few cold ones together, while in self-isolation.

Setting up a Group FaceTime video chat is ridiculously easy. Here’s the official advice from Apple on the minimum requirements: “To use Group FaceTime video calls, you need iOS 12.1.4 or iPadOS on one of these devices: iPhone 6s or later, iPad Pro or later, iPad Air 2 or later, iPad mini 4 or later or iPod touch (7th generation). Earlier models of iPhone, iPad and iPod touch that support iOS 12.1.4 can join Group FaceTime calls as audio participants.”

From there, the steps are simple, once you’ve ensured FaceTime is turned on within the settings. Apple explains:

  • Go to Settings > FaceTime, and make sure that FaceTime is on.
  • Open FaceTime and tap the plus button in the top-right corner.
  • Enter the name of your contacts, phone numbers or emails.
  • To start your FaceTime call, tap Audio or Video.

If you’ve been invited to a Group FaceTime call, it’s easy to join in on the call, even after it has commenced. Those who’ve been invited will see an alert within the Notification Center, inviting them to the call.

“Tap the notification from the Notification Center or the Lock screen, then tap FaceTime icon,” Apple says. “If you already have a group Messages chat for the folks in question you’ll also be able to join directly from the messages conversation.”

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