Video (or indeed audio) calling over the Internet on phones has been a thing for ages, of course. Skype is perhaps the most venerable, then there's Whatsapp, Viber, Hangouts, Google Duo, plus a dozen more lesser players. Making it a pain when scheduling a family group video call, as you have to find a system that everyone has installed and set up. Especially in the UK, iPhones and iPads are pretty common among families and grandparents (etc.), but there's always someone who's on Android (or evena Windows laptop in this scenario). So using Apple's pretty slick FaceTime video software excludes them. But not when iOS 15 has rolled out in a couple of months, since the new FaceTime version includes a link creation system that lets those on other platforms join in as more or less equal partners.
iMore has been playing with the beta and has detailed the steps needed to create a FaceTime group call that includes Android or Windows users:
Creating a FaceTime link is pretty straightforward, and it all starts in the FaceTime app.
- Launch FaceTime from your Home screen.
- Tap Create Link.
- Tap Add Name to name your link.
- Type in your desired name for your link. This is optional.
- Tap OK.
- Tap the sharing method you want to use.
- Enter all the sharing details you need for your selected method.
- Send the link via your sharing method.
Now the person(s) you sent the link to will be able to tap that link whenever to jump into your FaceTime call. They don't even have to do it right away; the link should remain active until you delete it.
Which is pretty cool as an extra option, though I should point out that every iOS user I know with Android-owning friends already has Whatsapp installed - and that's an easier cross-platform video calling solution. So we're all rather spoiled for choice - I don't think this link creation system will increase Apple's FaceTime's market share of the video market much, but it's certainly an option that's worth keeping up your sleeve for when it's your turn to coordinate linking up multiple family members (with multiple OS0 in this pandemic world.