It’s nearly impossible to be an effective Apple user without knowing how to use its official video and audio calling service, FaceTime. It essentially uses your Wi-Fi or data connection to make phone calls, which can be a great alternative to the traditional phone. This service is available across all Apple devices, including the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and even the iPod touch, which can be used to call anyone else who has these devices.

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Making a call – This is the first thing you need to learn how to do. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to make an audio or video call with FaceTime. Every Apple device that uses FaceTime already has the app pre-installed and, with a Wi-Fi or data connection, is ready to use.

You start off by launching the FaceTime app, which can be found on your Home screen (unless you’ve moved it). Here, you’ll be given the chance to search for the name of a contact. Type the name of the person you want to call on the search bar and then click on the name that comes out as a result. From there, you can tap on the phone button at the right side of the contact page. Note: If the contact has multiple registered numbers, you will be prompted to specify which one to call.

However, if you want to make a video call (a phone call with a video image of the receiver), simply do the same things as instructed above. But this time, you’re going to tap on the video button instead of the phone button. By successfully making a video call, you’ll be able to see the other person’s face while you talk. However, if you want to turn off the video in the middle of the call for some reason, you can do so by pressing the Home button. This will take you to the home screen and your call will become an audio call.

Switching between regular and FaceTime calls –One interesting thing about making calls with FaceTime is that you can switch from a regular phone call to a FaceTime call even when you’re in the middle of that call. To do this, you’ll need to open the call menu, which is what you can see on your screen while you’re in a call. There will be a FaceTime option, which you can tap to make the easy switch. In some cases, the button will be grayed out, which means that the feature isn’t available for you, maybe because the person on the other end is using a phone that doesn’t support FaceTime.

Using Siri to start FaceTime – Don’t forget that this app interacts with Apple’s other unique features as well. You can, for instance, activate Siri and command a FaceTime call with anyone you like. Note: To activate, press and hold the Home button or say, “Hey Siri.” Once activated, say “FaceTime” and Siri will prompt you to choose between an audio or video call as well as the person in your contacts who you want to call. You can also say “FaceTime” followed by the contact to immediately make the call.

Using Apple TV for FaceTime – With the help of Airplay Mirroring, Apple TV is a good way to take FaceTime calls to a whole new level. This is perfect for group calls with family and friends who might want to see each other during gatherings and special occasions. To do this, you’ll need both devices to be on the same Wi-Fi connection. From there, just open the FaceTime app and when you’re in the call, swipe up to access the Control Center and tap on Airplay Mirroring. Finally, choose the right Apple TV and enjoy your FaceTime call on your big screen.

FaceTime makes contacting easy – Another good thing about FaceTime is that you don’t have to worry about people being confused about who’s calling who. This is because, other than your iPhone phone number and Apple ID email address, you’ll also be able to add your other contacts like work and school addresses (you can remove them at any time). By syncing all this contact information, you are able to consistently identify yourself when making a FaceTime call.

Blocking contacts – For security reasons, there might be certain contacts that you’ll want to block on FaceTime so that they can’t call you or iMessage you. It’s not something you’ll always have to do, but it helps that you know how.

Blocking contacts can be done in three ways. Through the FaceTime app, you can do this by tapping on the info button that’s next to the contact you want to block. You will see an option that says, “Block this Caller.” Tap this and you will be prompted to confirm. Tap on “Block Contact” to finish.

You can also block contacts via your phone’s contacts. To do this, you’ll have to launch the Phone app and go to either the Contacts or Recents found below the screen. There, you’ll be able to see your contacts. Tap on the one you want to block and tap on “Block this Caller,” found at the bottom of the screen. To confirm, tap on “Block Contact.”

Finally, you can also open the Settings app and tap on the FaceTime app. Tap on “Blocked” and select “Add New.” You will then be prompted to add the name of the contact or contacts you want blocked.

Unblocking – While blocking contacts through FaceTime and the Phone app is more convenient, learning how to use the Settings app is important because that’s how you unblock previously blocked contacts. Go to the list of blocked contacts in the Settings app and then tap on the red dash icon. You will then be given an option to unblock your selected contacts before tapping on “Done” to confirm. Alternatively, you can swipe right to left on any of the contacts to access the unblock button.

FaceTime is a very useful app for calling friends and family from all over the world, especially during the holidays or when you’re traveling or otherwise away from them. This is also perfect for those who can’t afford a long-distance calling plan. So, if you’re an Apple user, you may as well learn how to make the most of it.