Apple’s exclusive chat services, iMessage and FaceTime, force many of us to stay locked into iOS, iPadOS, and macOS to communicate with other Apple users, so chatting with Android-using friends means texting, third-party messaging apps and party video chat services. However, Apple is breaking the boundaries with iOS 15 so we can FaceTime with Android, Linux and Windows users.
Unfortunately, there is no FaceTime app that non-Apple users can download and install. Apple recognizes that it needs to open up the FaceTime world to compete with services like Zoom, Google Meet, and Facebook Messenger, but it’s not ready to pull out all the stops. Instead, iOS 1
While Apple isn’t sacrificing its end-to-end encryption for FaceTime to allow Android, Linux, and Windows users, it doesn’t provide any additional security, as there are no password options to join a FaceTime chat. Anyone with the link to the FaceTime event can join the audio or video chat.
It sounds super easy to join a FaceTime audio or video call over the internet, but Apple does have a few requirements. First, if you are not using an Apple device, you must use the latest version of Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge. Second, sending video requires support for H.264 video encoding, which shouldn’t be a problem if you’re using one of those browsers on a smartphone, tablet, or computer.
The first time you open FaceTime on iOS 15, you should see the new UI design, and the second thing you might notice is the large “Create Link” button at the top of the screen. When you tap it, iOS 15 creates a FaceTime link that you can send to anyone with an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or macOS computer, as well as any non-Apple device running any of the aforementioned browsers.
To label the link, tap “Add Name,” enter the chat title, then tap “OK.”
Now all you have to do is choose how you want to share your FaceTime link. You can select any app or service from the share sheet, which also makes it easiest to get the link to your non-Apple friends. When they receive the link, their internet browser opens and they take the FaceTime call over the internet.
You can use FaceTime links for one-on-one conversations between you and an Android, Linux, or Windows user, or they can be used for group FaceTime calls when you invite more than one person.
Note: Apple’s iOS 15 is currently in beta development. A public beta will be available in July, while the final release is not expected until fall 2021.
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