Is FaceTime giving you trouble or not working after an update to iOS 12? Wondering how you can get FaceTime to work like it used to? If so, you are not alone! Several readers tell us that after updating to iOS 12, they cannot get FaceTime to work, make calls, or use features.
- 1 Quick Tips
- 2 FaceTime Bug in iOS 12.1-12.1.3 Group FaceTime feature
- 3 What’s New in FaceTime with iOS 12?
- 4 FaceTime Calls Fail, Keep Disconnecting, or Immediately Start Reconnecting?
- 5 FaceTime Activation Not Working?
- 6 Can’t Find the FaceTime Flip Camera Button in iOS 12?
- 7 Not Seeing Camera Effects in FaceTime?
- 8 Group FaceTime Not Working? Shows Waiting?
- 9 Is Your FaceTime Call Failing, Won’t Connect, or Continuously Connecting?
- 10 Getting “Poor Connection” Message?
- 11 Don’t See the Camera Button When on a FaceTime Call?
- 12 iPhone Stuck on FaceTime? Call Not Disconnecting and Hanging Up?
- 13 Other Issues Causing FaceTime Not Working?
Try These Quick Tips to get FaceTime to Work in iOS 12
- Toggle FaceTime off wait 20-30 seconds, and toggle it back on
- Tap your Apple ID and Sign Out and then Sign In again in using the same or a different Apple ID
- Add a restart after signing out if it doesn’t work the first try
- Group FaceTime is not in the initial release of iOS 12 but rather released in iOS 12.1 and updated in iOS 12.1.4 (due to a privacy concern)
- Apple permanently disables Group FaceTime for any devices using iOS 12.1 through iOS 12.1.3
- If making a group FaceTime call, ensure all call members are using iOS 12.1.4 and higher or macOS Mojave and later
- Group FaceTime does not work with iOS 12.1.4 and earlier or macOS High Sierra and below
- Reset your network’s settings by going to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings
- For Poor Connections, stop using any effects or Animoji/Memoji to reduce bandwidth burden
- My FaceTime Keeps Disconnecting! How Do I Fix Failed FaceTime Calls?
- Common iOS 12 Problems and How to Fix Them
- Seeing Error Occurred During Activation for FaceTime on Mac? Fix it today
- FaceTime Not Working in iOS 11?
- FaceTime Not Working on Mac OS X or macOS? How To Fix
FaceTime Bug in iOS 12.1-12.1.3 Group FaceTime feature
In January 2019 users discovered a major FaceTime bug that allows iPhone users to call another device via FaceTime and hear audio on the other end before the recipient has accepted or rejected the call.
For more information on this FaceTime privacy issue, see this Bloomberg article.
In consequence of the problem, Apple immediately disabled FaceTime Servers for Group FaceTime on ALL devices running iOS 12. 1-12.1.3.
So, if you are trying to FaceTime with friends via Group FaceTime and notice that it’s not working, check that your device runs iOS 12.1.4 and above.
Because of this security vulnerability, Apple permanently disables Group FaceTime for any devices using iOS 12.1 through iOS 12.1.3.
To access Group FaceTime, update your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch iOS 12.1.4 and above.
If you are concerned about your privacy, Apple recommends turning off FaceTime until you update to iOS 12.1.4 or higher.
To turn off FaceTime temporarily, go to Settings > FaceTime and toggle the service completely off.
What’s New in FaceTime with iOS 12?
The big news is that FaceTime finally supports Group FaceTime video and audio calls! We waited a long time for this feature, and with iOS 12, it finally arrives.
Unfortunately, Apple was still finessing group FaceTime so it didn’t arrive with iOS 12.0 or 12.0.1 but instead launched later in the year with iOS 12.1. Due to privacy bug in iOS 12.1-12.1.3, Group FaceTime works only on iOS 12.1.4 and above.
With Group FaceTime, you can make calls with up to 32 people simultaneously–that’s a heck of a lot of folks!
You can even start a Group FaceTime from a group conversation in the Messages app!
FaceTime’s Automatic Detection of Active Speakers
New to iOS 12.1 is FaceTime on-device intelligence to highlight and enlarge the image of the call’s active speaker. This helps users avoid confusion during the call.
Your iDevice and iOS automatically highlights the person speaking and resizes any other on the call to give prominence to the active speaker.
Folks that are listening appear at the bottom of the screen until they speak.
But a simple tap brings that person to your device’s front and center.
Group FaceTime Isn’t iOS 12’s Only FaceTime Improvement
In past years, FaceTime was the neglected child, especially when compared to Messages and iMessage. But no more! Apple totally redesigned FaceTime in iOS 12–it looks and feels different.
Here’s a round-up of all that new in FaceTime for iOS 12
- Update to iOS 12.1.1 to bring both the buttons for the mute and flip camera back to FaceTime’s main screen. Plus, iOS 12.1.1 allows you to take a Live Photo while on a FaceTime call–just like iOS 11
- Update to iOS 12.1.4 and above for access to Group FaceTime
- iMessage integration
- Start a FaceTime or Group FaceTime call directly from an iMessage conversation
- Trade your face for an Animoji or Memoji in FaceTime when talking to your friends and family
- And you can even add live filters to your Animoji and Memoji
- Fancy camera effects
- If you love using effects in the camera app, you’re sure to enjoy them in FaceTime and iMessage
- FaceTime now supports all those built-in filters, text effects, shapes and sticker packs
- Find Effects in the new FaceTime Menu
- Camera effects in FaceTime require an iPhone 7 or later model
- Apple Watch Audio Support
- We can now use FaceTime audio on our Apple Watches and join in a group chat–all from the watch
- The new Walkie Talkie Watch app also utilizes FaceTime audio and uses your FaceTime account (Apple ID) to chat with friends and family
One Thing That’s Missing: Live Photos for FaceTime!
We don’t know why, but iOS 12 does not include the option to take a Live Photo in FaceTime in iOS 12.
After touting this feature in iOS 11, it seems odd to remove the live photo option during facetime calls. So for now, no more snapping the FaceTime screen to capture those moments in “real time.”
Live Photos Returns in iOS 12.1.1
This minor update to iOS (iOS 12.1.1) reintroduces the Live Photo feature for FaceTime calls!
iOS 12.1.1 also improves FaceTime’s user interface–based on a lot of negative feedback and user experience submitted to Apple’s Development Team.
FaceTime Calls Fail, Keep Disconnecting, or Immediately Start Reconnecting?
Is FaceTime hanging up when you’re in the midst of a call? Shows that it’s Reconnecting but then isn’t able to and instead says Call Failed?
If you notice that your FaceTime App isn’t working like it used to and isn’t allowing you to either make calls or stay on calls for more than a few seconds, you aren’t alone.
While there is no one reason why FaceTime exhibits this behavior, here’s a list of our top tips to help.
More a more detailed explanation, see our article on this issue: My FaceTime Keeps Disconnecting! How Do I Fix Failed FaceTime Calls?
- Update your iOS or macOS to the latest version
- Check Apple Server status for any ongoing problems
- Toggle FaceTime off, wait 20-30 seconds, and toggle it back on
- Sign out of FaceTime, restart, and sign in again
- Delete and reinstall the FaceTime App
- Turn off Screen Time or Restrictions
- Check that your date and time is Set Automatically
- Reset your network settings
FaceTime Activation Not Working?
- Toggle FaceTime & iMessage OFF, wait for 30 seconds and toggle both on
- Go to Settings > FaceTime (and Messages > iMessage) > Toggle OFF then ON
- Sign out of your Apple ID in FaceTime. Go to Settings > FaceTime and tap your Apple ID. Choose Sign Out. Then sign back in with your Apple ID or an alternate Apple ID
- Check that your Apple ID lists your current iPhone’s phone number (not an old number or worse, a landline!)
- Turn FaceTime and iMessage off
- Go to Settings > Apple ID Profile > Name, Phone Number, Email > Reachable At
- Edit information if necessary so your iPhone and email is listed
- Once updated, toggle FaceTime OFF and Back ON
- Reset All Settings. Go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset All Settings
- Removes WiFi passwords and any personalized iPhone settings
For more tips, read our article on Activation problems with FaceTime and iMessage.
Can’t Find the FaceTime Flip Camera Button in iOS 12?
Using FaceTime after updating to iOS 12 and wondering how to change or flip cameras from back to front or vice-versa? You aren’t alone–it took us a bit of time to figure this one out too!
iOS 12’s FaceTime re-design sacrificed this essential feature to create what they consider a cleaner look to the interface. We disagree! Having the flip camera button on-screen isn’t wasteful, it’s essential.
We liked that in iOS 11 and earlier, that flip camera button showed up in the bottom-left corner of the screen, so changing the camera was a breeze. Now it’s a multi-step process.
Good News Camera Flip is Back on FaceTime’s Main Screen With iOS 12.1.1+!
Update to iOS 12.1.1+ and FaceTime is more user-friendly, similar to earlier versions that we knew and loved!
And the Mute button is now also on your main screen, making it so much easier to navigate.
How To Flip Cameras in FaceTime Using iOS 12-12.1
- Open FaceTime
- Tap a Contact to Start a Call
- Once call initiates, tap the Menu Button
- Select the flip camera icon from the options available for FaceTime in iOS 12
- Use this same method to add different effects, mute a call, turn your camera off, and others
Not Seeing Camera Effects in FaceTime?
If your FaceTime isn’t showing you all those fun filters, check that Apple supports your iPhone model.
Camera effects in FaceTime require an iPhone 7 or later and for iPads the iPad Pro 12.9 second generation+, iPad Pro 10.5+, and an iPad 6th generation or higher.
Models that support camera effects in FaceTime
- iPhone XS/XS Max
- Model XR
- iPhone X
- Model 8/8 Plus
- iPhone 7/7 Plus
- iPad Pro (12.9-inch) (2nd generation)
- 10.5-inch iPad Pro
- iPad (6th generation)
Using a supported model but no FaceTime Effects?
- For iOS 12.1.1+, slide up the bottom bar to bring up additional FaceTime options on your calls
- For iOS 12.0-12.1, make sure you navigate to the correct screen by pressing the menu button (three dots) then on the second screen choose Effects
- Try just tapping the screen again if you don’t see the Effects button–this may bring the option up!
- Close the FaceTime app by pressing the Home button or swiping up the Home gesture bar and then swiping up off the top of your screen the FaceTime App Preview.
- Then, restart your device
- Open Facetime again–see if the effects are now there
Group FaceTime Not Working? Shows Waiting?
We loved FaceTime’s Group Calling feature! It makes calling up to 32 people a breeze–be it an audio conference call or a group video call. It just works!
If you can’t find this feature, make sure you update to at least iOS 12.1.4.
Due to a privacy bug in iOS 12.1-12.1.3, Apple disabled Group FaceTime. So to use Group FaceTime in iOS 12+, you need iOS 12.1.4 or above.
If you already updated to iOS 12.1.4 or higher and Group FaceTime still isn’t working with more than 1 person, check out these tips.
If you and your friends, family, or colleagues are trying to FaceTime together and it’s not working, check the following:
- All participants must use iOS 12.4 or later. Group FaceTime does not work with iOS 11 and below
- Group FaceTime only works on Apple devices
- Everyone you’re trying to group FaceTime with has to be on at least iOS 12.4
- Anyone using iOS 12.1.3 or lower shows up greyed out
- You cannot Group FaceTime with devices or folks who share the same Apple ID
- Everyone on the call must use an Apple device. You cannot call an Android device from FaceTime
- Don’t use any effects including Animoji and Memoji, filters, stickers, shapes, and text
- Group FaceTime Video only works for iPhone models iPhone 6s or later, iPad Pro or newer, iPad Air 2, or iPad Mini 4
- Video Group FaceTime is not available on these models: iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Air, iPad Mini 2, iPad Mini 3, iPad Mini 4 and 6th generation iPod Touch
- iPhone 5S, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners and earlier models of iPad and iPod touch that support iOS 12.1 can join audio-only Group FaceTime calls
How To Correctly Make a Group FaceTime Call
- Open up the FaceTime app
- Tap on the “+” icon in the upper right corner
- In the “To” field, type in a name, phone number, or use the + symbol to open your Contacts
- Continue typing in all the names you want on the call
- When done, tap on either the audio or the video button to place the call
- All recipients get a message on their devices that you want to FaceTime
- If you want to add a person on the call later (during the call), FaceTime uses a ringless notification where the device displays a notification that lets folks instantly join a call without being disruptive
Remember, when a participant receives an invitation, they can choose to participate using audio or video from their iPhone, iPad, and Macs (that support it.)
And of course, all FaceTime conversations, including one-to-one and multiperson, are encrypted end to end, so they remain private and viewable only by the participants.
Or so we thought!
There was a major privacy issue with Group FaceTime in iOS 12.1-12.1.3 that forced Apple to disable Group FaceTime support while their development team fixed the problems. However, with iOS 12.1.4+, Group FaceTime returns to our devices–and hopefully, with the full privacy, we expect from Apple!
Make a Group FaceTime Call in iMessage
Group FaceTime is also integrated into Messages, so it’s easy to start a Group FaceTime right from a group iMessage chat.
If people in a conversation have already started a FaceTime session, Messages shows the active call in the conversation list and inside your conversations.
It’s often easier to open a previous group iMessage conversation and start your Group FaceTime call there
- Open up a group iMessage chat
- Or create a new one
- At the top of your screen, tap on the profile icons
- Choose FaceTime or Audio to start a call
- Audio calls may show an additional selection for Voice Call or FaceTime Audio
- Choose FaceTime Audio
- Voice Calls use your phone carrier
Place a group FaceTime with FaceTime on Mac
- Open FaceTime on your Mac
- Enter the names or numbers the people you want to call
- Enter up to 32 total callers
- Click Video or Audio to place your FaceTime call
Is Your FaceTime Call Failing, Won’t Connect, or Continuously Connecting?
If you are not able to connect to FaceTime without FaceTime ever opening a session, try reactivating your account
- Go to Settings > FaceTime and toggle the switch OFF
- Wait a few moments, and then toggle it back ON
- A message appears “waiting for activation”
- Enter your Apple ID and passcode if needed
If that doesn’t work, reset your WiFi network
- Go to Settings > General > Reset and select Reset Network Settings
- This process returns your network settings back to factory defaults, so you must enter your WiFi password(s) again
For Failing FaceTime Calls
- Try calling from your FaceTime call log (if listed) instead of initiating a new call
- Call from iMessage
- Open Messages App
- Search for a previous conversation with the person you want to call
- Open the message thread
- Tap the person icon or picture in the top center
- For a video call, select FaceTime from the options
- For an audio call, select Audio
- Choose your call method: Voice Call (using your carrier) or FaceTime audio
Getting “Poor Connection” Message?
Some of the enhancements of iOS 12, like Group FaceTime and using Animoji or Memoji, also increase the amount of internet bandwidth your iPhone or device needs.
If Facetime can’t send and receive data fast enough to keep up with your device’s demand, the video lags, is choppy and shows other symptoms of a poor connection.
Consequently, some folks see the “Poor Connection” notice while they are actively using FaceTime.
If you see this message, try these remedies
- Remove any effects like Animoji and Memoji, filters, stickers, shapes, and text
- If on a group call and you enlarged any person’s tile to its biggest possible size, tap it to go back to the standard tile size
- Go to Settings > WiFi and turn it Off. Wait 20-30 seconds and then turn it back on and choose your network
- Switch to a different WiFi network, preferably 5GHz, or connect via LTE if available
- Renew your IP Address. Launch Settings > WiFi > Tap the “i” button > Choose Renew Lease
- Toggle FaceTime off in Settings > FaceTime, wait 30 seconds, and toggle back on
- Reset network settings by going to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings
- Restart or reset your WiFi Router (see manufacturer’s instructions)
- If you suspect it’s a router issue, contact your internet service provider or check with the router manufacturer
- Force close the FaceTime app by double pressing Home or swiping up the Gesture Bar, then swiping the FaceTime App Preview up towards the top of your screen to close. Then relaunch FaceTime
- Delete the FaceTime app and reinstall it
- With iOS 11 and above, you can also offload the FaceTime app and then reinstall it
- Offloading an app preserves its data and documents
Don’t See the Camera Button When on a FaceTime Call?
Wondering just how to take a photo during a FaceTime call on iOS 12?
As mentioned, iOS 12 removed the Live Photos feature on FaceTime. Yes, we know quite a lot of folks loved that feature, so we’re hoping to see it return soon.
In the meantime, the best workaround is to snap a screenshot. However, screenshots are never live images–they are static images by default.
iPhone Stuck on FaceTime? Call Not Disconnecting and Hanging Up?
Some users note that their FaceTime calls are not hanging up, even when pressing the red circled x to end the call.
After tapping end call, nothing happens, and people still see and/or hear the person they’ve called. Additionally, their home screen still shows the live call indicator (a green bar) at the top left.
This problem also occurs on macOS Mojave.
For iPhones and iDevices, the only method that works is restarting your device via the Settings App
- Go to Settings > General
- Scroll all the way down and tap Shut Down
- Power your device back on
At this time, this restart is the only way to end the call and make another Facetime call.
- Open Activity Monitor (in Applications > Utilities or use spotlight search)
- Click on the CPU tab
- Locate and select FaceTime (use the search bar if needed)
- Press the grey X to force FaceTime to quit or double click on FaceTime and choose force quit from the pop-up message
Other Issues Causing FaceTime Not Working?
If these tips didn’t fix your issue, please see the following articles for additional help
For most of her professional life, Amanda Elizabeth (Liz for short) trained all sorts of folks on how to use media as a tool to tell their own unique stories. She knows a thing or two about teaching others and creating how-to guides!
Her clients include Edutopia, Scribe Video Center, Third Path Institute, Bracket, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Big Picture Alliance.
Elizabeth received her Master of Fine Arts degree in media making from Temple University, where she also taught undergrads as an adjunct faculty member in their department of Film and Media Arts.