FaceTime Audio

In iOS 7, Apple introduced FaceTime Audio. This might sound like a silly feature considering that our iPhones are already phones. But FaceTime Audio does have some advantages over a regular voice call.

  • Call Quality. The biggest thing you will notice is that if both parties have a decent internet connection, the voice quality will be much better than a regular phone call.
  • Simultaneous voice and data. If you are a Verizon or Sprint user that is frustrated by not being able to access the internet or receive iMessages while on a phone call then you will be glad to know that a FaceTime Audio call won’t interfere with your internet connection.
  • Works where cellular doesn’t. If you have a WiFi connection but your cellular connection is flaky or nonexistent you can still make and receive calls.
  • No international roaming or long distance. As long as you are on a WiFi connection, you can call from anywhere in the world without paying cellular roaming fees. And you can call to anywhere in the world and never have to pay for an international call.

Why not just use Skype which also provides all of these great features? With Skype you normally have make sure that the person you are calling will be running the Skype app first. With FaceTime, it is as convenient as a phone call. No need to call ahead or schedule a time to be on.

To place a FaceTime Audio call, simply click the phone receiver icon under the FaceTime section on a person’s contact card

There are, of course a few caveats:

  • Both parties must have iOS 7. If they don’t the call will simply fail.
  • If either party is on cellular, they must have a plan that offers FaceTime over cellular and have FaceTime over cellular enabled in Settings.
  • If you move from WiFi to cellular, you’ll lose the call.
  • If you aren’t on WiFi it can eat into your data plan. In a test that I ran, a 15 minute FaceTime Audio call consumed 7.4 MB which isn’t substantial but it’s something to keep in mind.