Facetime Introduction: how to use it safely and privately

A helpful introduction on the advantages and disadvantages of Facetime, how to use, and privacy information.

Facetime Logo

Why Facetime?

Apple’s FaceTime app works on Wi-Fi, so one major benefit it has over your regular Phone app is that it can make free internet-based calls anywhere you have a Wi-Fi connection. You can use FaceTime from home, a hotel, restaurants, or any Wi-Fi hotspot without the need for quality mobile service. Plus, since Wi-Fi is supported, it works on not only iPhone but also iPod touch, iPad, and Mac. FaceTime also runs on cellular networks, so you can use it away from home, too, via your device’s mobile data plan.

Facetime Privacy

Get Started With Facetime


A free application that comes preinstalled in Apple devices

Optimized software to run smoothly on Apple devices

Quick and easy to setup and use

Calls are end to end encrypted


Can only be used on Apple devices

No text based messaging and chat

How to use Facetime


Mobile Compatibility


Desktop Compatibility


Safety and Privacy Concerns

Facetime security bug

While Apple, the creators and owners of FaceTime, have a very good track record with regards to privacy and security compared to other tech companies, there was a security bug where callers could initiate a FaceTime call and listen in on the recipient before the call was accepted. While this issue has now been fixed, it is important to keep in mind that issues like these can occur regardless of the software, or company. Furthermore, Apple was slow to respond to the issue, waiting for six days to address the issue.


Group spam calls

Some bad actors have been using FaceTime’s group call feature to bombard others up to 20 times, during late hours of the night. They are able to call up to 31 people at a time, and the moment you hang up, another call comes in as someone in the group who missed the initial call follows up with a call back, causing a chain reaction. The problem exists as FaceTime does not have the ability to accept only calls coming from the user’s contact list. Instead it’s similar to a phone number, where anyone can call as long as they have the number. While it is possible to block numbers from calling on FaceTime, users must do so manually, so it becomes a long process of blocking the numbers one by one.


Mozilla tips on how to control your data

Apple retains personal data only for so long as necessary to fulfil the purposes for which it was collected, as described in this Privacy Policy, in their service-specific privacy notices, or as required by law. No specific data retention periods are provided. Hosts and participants all have the same level of control, from muting their own mic to switching from their phone’s front-facing camera to the rear. FaceTime centers video conference calls around group chats within the iPhone’s Messages app. Anyone within a specific group chat can join the group FaceTime call at any time.