FaceTime supports video calls and audio calls only. The latter requires a bit more attention to create, but you might find it a better alternative to a voice call, with clearer sound and a lower bar than managing your video camera during a FaceTime video call.
When phone calls are limited to three to five participants, depending on your carrier, you can make group FaceTime audio calls with up to 31 other people. (The same limit applies for FaceTime video.) To make a Group FaceTime call, you must have an iPhone, iPad, or Mac model released within the last few years. Participants do not necessarily need a newer hardware model, but must have at least iOS 12.1.4, any version of iPadOS, or the macOS 10.4.3 Supplemental Update or later installed.
Here’s how to make a FaceTime audio call on iOS or iPadOS:
On any contact card, Phone app, Contacts app, search with Siri, etc., tap the phone icon next to FaceTime.
In Messages, long press the camera icon in the top right corner of any conversation and a FaceTime Audio option will appear which you can tap.
Also on a contact card, press and hold a call icon or phone button, tap the FaceTime link, then select a phone number or email address for a FaceTime audio call. (If you’re using an iPhone or other device through which the iPhone transmits phone calls, FaceTime appears as a link after a list of phone numbers you can call directly.)
In the list of FaceTime calls, listed from newest to oldest, you can tap any entry that says FaceTime audio call to redo that call to that person. You can tap the info button next to any entry to access a contact card and also a FaceTime audio link.
And here’s how to start a FaceTime audio call on macOS:
In the Contacts app, Control-click the call icon and select any FaceTime entry. You can also click the phone icon on the FaceTime row in the main contact entry.
In Messages, click the camera icon in the upper right corner of any conversation and select FaceTime Audio.
In Message and FaceTime on a contact card, you can click the call icon, then choose an entry from the FaceTime menu.
In FaceTime, you can control and click on any entry in the recent calls list and choose FaceTime Audio.
Still in FaceTime, click New FaceTime in the upper left corner, choose one or more people for the call, then click the down-pointing arrow to the right of the FaceTime link in the lower right corner of the dialog box. Choose FaceTime Audio from the menu that appears.
On any operating system, including watchOS, you can also tell Siri, «Make a FaceTime audio call to person’s name.”
Once a FaceTime audio call is in progress, any participant can turn it into a FaceTime video call by clicking the video icon in the FaceTime bar on iOS or iPadOS or the FaceTime audio notification on macOS. Other participants’ cameras will be disabled by default, but will not be able to prevent calls from converting.
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