Here’s a first look at how FaceTime works in a web browser

FaceTime has been getting a lot of attention this week thanks to new features that come with iOS 15 and macOS Monterey, including screen sharing with friends, portrait mode, better noise reduction, and even a web version. I was able to try FaceTime on the web for the first time with 9to5Mac Colleague Jose Adorno, so read on for a first look at how it works on the web.

When Apple introduced FaceTime to Android and Windows during the opening address for WWDC 2021, I was no longer surprised. In 2010, Steve Jobs said FaceTime would be “open source,” but it never happened and the feature has always been exclusive to Apple devices.

This year, though, it looks like Apple wants more people to access its services, and that includes a web version of FaceTime — sort of. To be clear, FaceTime on the web is nothing like iCloud-webapps Anyone can subscribe to it and use it however they want. Instead, Apple only allows iOS and macOS users to invite others to a conversation via a public link that can be opened in any web browser.

In other words, you still need an iPhone, iPad, or Mac to start a FaceTime call, but now your friends with Android devices or Windows PCs can join the call. As soon as you open the FaceTime app on iOS 15 or macOS Monterey, you’ll see a new option to create a public link, which also appears during an ongoing call.

It’s simple, but well done

People who receive the public link just need to enter their name to join the conversation — no need to have an Apple ID to use FaceTime on the web when you’re invited by someone else. The interface is almost the same as using FaceTime on an Apple device, but there are no additional options available such as filters and other effects.

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All you can do on FaceTime web is turn the camera on or off, mute or unmute the microphone, and choose the input devices. Image quality wasn’t ideal during my testing, but Apple states that this is an experimental feature and things may not work as expected.

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