IOS 15 FaceTime on Android and So Much More

 

IOS 15 FaceTime on Android and So Much More

I have been ignoring the IOS 15 FaceTime enhancements but should not have

IOS 15 Facetime

Our family uses FaceTime every week. Given that most of our friends and relatives have Apple phones, iPads, and/or computers, that makes sense.

What doesn’t make sense is that I have completely ignored the FaceTime updates that are coming in IOS 15. I read about them and while I do not recall yawning, I might have, because all of it went right out of my head immediately.

That all changed this morning. I noticed that a few people had recently read an article I wrote last year.

That story is about setting up my wife’s 80-year-old uncle Rico with FaceTime. He was clumsy with it at first, but since then he has become adept at placing and receiving these video calls. As all of this took place during COVID-19, these FaceTime sessions have made an important difference in Rico’s life.

A problem

A few of Rico’s nephews have Android phones. They wanted to join in our sessions but could not: there is no FaceTime for Android. While there are other apps where we all could be together, Rico would have to learn the app. Hi might be able to do that, but we all felt having two ways to communicate might be too confusing.

But now with IOS 15 and Monterey, the non-Apple people will be able to use almost any device with a browser. All it requires is for one Apple participant to click on the “Create a link” button and send that to whoever needs it.

That’s something we will have to teach to Rico, but it’s fairly simple and certainly easier than learning a whole new app!

The links will also be useful for a scheduled group call so that everyone knows when to call. You’ll be able to do all of that in Calendar.

Grids!

When you have multiple people on a call, a grid is the best way to handle that. You will be able to turn that on as needed. It moves everyone into a neat grid view and highlights the current speaker. Showing who is talking is very helpful, especially for people who may find the whole experience a little confusing.

Portrait mode for FaceTime will blur your background — no need to clean. up the house before your call!

The grid can only show six people at a time. FaceTime itself can handle 32 people; I don’t know how the grid would handle that. Spatial audio is said to make people’s voices seem like they are coming from where they are on the call. This requires an A12 chip or better, so nothing older than a XS phone or the 2019 iPad Air and Mini, and the 2020 iPad.

FaceTime will be able to filter out background noise or let it all through if you want that. If you have accidentally or purposefully muted yourself, FaceTime will warn you when you start talking.

SharePlay

The new FaceTime will also let users enjoy a movie or music together with everything synced so if one user pauses, everyone does. Apple says sound will be dynamically adjusted during sharing so that participants can be heard over loud noises.

I can see where this could be annoying when one user experiences internet glitches, but it is a neat concept. I’m not sure we’d use it, but who knows?

It’s interesting that this will allow you to be in FaceTime on your iPhone or iPad but the movie or music can be sent to your Apple TV or Homepods. Apple also says that the FaceTime group will also be able to communicate by text, which would be better during movies.

Shareplay apparently will also allow sharing of web pages and apps. That will be useful to me when I want to show one of the less technical relatives how to do something or when they want to show me what they are having trouble with.

These things will not be part of the September 20th release of IOS 15, so I can’t say more right now, but I assume most or all of this will be limited to IOS devices and newer models at that. Apple has said that other new FaceTime features will require the A12 chip or better, so that’s iPhone 10S and up.

I should have been more interested

All told, there really is a lot here that I’ll find useful. I can’t understand why I didn't think about these things more when they were announced. But now that I have realized the value of these updates, I am looking forward to using them.

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