Make group Face­Time calls in iOS 12

With iOS 12 you can have a group Face­Time call with up to 32 peo­ple. David Price walks you through the process

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

There are plenty of in­ter­est­ing new fea­tures in the iOS 12 up­date un­veiled at WWDC 2018, but the head­line fea­ture has to be group Face­Time. It’s some­thing that’s been de­manded al­most as long as Face­Time has ex­isted: the abil­ity to hold a video chat with more than one other de­vice. And it doesn’t seem like much to ask, given that ri­val ser­vices such as Google Hang­outs and Skype have of­fered it for

years, and even Ap­ple’s own old iChat ser­vice of­fered some­thing sim­i­lar back in 2005.

Well, we’re fi­nally get­ting group calls in Face­Time (or at least, we will when iOS 12 launches in au­tumn 2018 – although you can try the fea­ture now by in­stalling the iOS 12 beta). In this ar­ti­cle we show how group Face­Time calls work on iPhone and iPad, and how up to 32 peo­ple – more than in Hang­outs and Skype, in­ci­den­tally, which each sup­port 25 – can en­joy a video chat to­gether.

Set up a group Face­Time call

The way you set up the call is es­sen­tially the same as it is right now: it’s just that, in­stead of typ­ing in one name you type in more than one. The var­i­ous par­tic­i­pants will be called as nor­mal, and as each picks up they will be added to the chat.

An eas­ier way of set­ting up the call, how­ever, may be to do so via the Mes­sages app. From a group mes­sage thread it’s easy to switch to video. Ap­ple as­sured us that mem­bers of the group will be able to join in or drop out of the video chat at any time – they won’t all be au­to­mat­i­cally swept into the video call against their wishes.

Chat with more than one other per­son

The in­ter­face is a lit­tle con­fus­ing, so let’s talk about how it all works. For con­ver­sa­tions as big as this one, the in­ter­face is split into two sec­tions. At the top there are the par­tic­i­pants that Craig Fed­erighi re­ferred to as the “lead­ers”, while the rest are rel­e­gated to the “ros­ter” at the bot­tom. (For smaller groups there won’t

be a ros­ter – ev­ery­one will have a larger tile fur­ther up.) Your tile sits in the bot­tom right-hand corner.

The tiles vary in size and promi­nence de­pend­ing on how re­cently that per­son spoke. When some­one starts talk­ing their tile au­to­mat­i­cally gets big­ger; it will stay that way un­til some­one else starts talk­ing, even if the first per­son stops. In sim­i­lar fash­ion, some­one from the ros­ter can be pro­moted to the top sec­tion if they start talk­ing.

If you want to give one of the par­tic­i­pants more promi­nence even when they’re not talk­ing, dou­ble-tap their tile and they will be brought for­ward. This ef­fect won’t ap­ply to what ev­ery­one else is see­ing, of course.

New ef­fects

This isn’t spe­cific to group chats, but iOS 12 also brings some fun new vis­ual ef­fects to Face­Time. In­di­vid­ual par­tic­i­pants can choose to put stick­ers on their feed, ap­ply photo fil­ters (such as a car­toon ef­fect) or re­place their heads with An­i­moji. Ex­per­i­ment to find the ef­fects that amuse you and your friends the most.

iOS 12 will let you add ef­fects to Face­Time calls

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