Facetime: Keeping Up With Real Time

With ever-evolving technology, we need our loved ones closer than ever. Now, phone-calls and text messages aren’t enough. Video calling is the new trend. FaceTime is one such video telephony product developed by digital world’s numero uno, Apple Inc to place audio and video calls with just the phone number or Apple IDs.

It is supported by any iOS device with a forward-facing camera and any Macintosh computer equipped with a FaceTime Camera, formerly known as an iSight Camera. FaceTime for android users aren’t available, although there are alternatives such as Skype, Viber and Snapchat among others. FaceTime specializes in one to one video chatting and while FaceTiming with someone, if you receive messages, emails, or other notifications and you need to check them out FaceTime chat will be paused for the time being..

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Video calling sure can eat through a lot of your data if you aren’t keeping a track of it. Apple doesn’t currently specify whether or not a call was placed over cellular or WiFi. A WiFi connection does not use data plan and no cellular calling minutes are used during the video portion of a FaceTime call. Using FaceTime over a cellular data connection can use up on a lot of the data plan. About five minutes of FaceTime video calling uses upto 15 MB of data. Thus, knowing where and how to keep track of data usage surely helps to optimize usage of this feature and not get over billed for it, especially for wireless subscribers.

There are three ways to track data usage for individual calls: FaceTime app, Phone app and Settings app.

  1. The FaceTime app needs you to launch it and tap on Recents. Then go to the Info button to the right of the FaceTime audio or video call you would like to see data usage for.
  2. For the Phone app, launch the FaceTime app. Tap on either audio or video at the top to sort calls and then on the Info button next to the call you’d like to see cellular usage for.
  3. In the Settings app, tap on Cellular and scroll down till FaceTime on the list to see the data usage list below it.

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FaceTime is available for free and works best under high speed internet connection i.e. WiFi, 3G or 4G. It approximately uses three megabytes per minute. Thus, an hour-long call would use up around 180 MB of data. However, these numbers may vary depending upon the version of iOS device used. FaceTime required a WiFi connection to work until the release of iOS 6. From thence, FaceTime for the iPhone and iPad supports FaceTime calls over cellular networks but only if the carrier enables it. The application is blocked from working for customers with unlimited data plans. An unlimited WiFi connection or a high speed usage-based data plan is ideal for the usage of the application on all iPhone, iPad and iPod touch models.

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