Facetime on the big screen with Apple TV

Old lady making a video call at the dinner table press picture courtesy of NBNCo

You can have a FaceTime videocall on the big TV screen with your Apple TV

Those of you who use an iPhone or iPad and have contacts that use these Apple iOS devices will no doubt have engaged in a Facetime videocall at some point. Facetime is Apple’s own over-the-top VoIP / videocall platform that works alongside the their iMessage messaging / presence platform.

But you may want to use the big screen for a Facetime videocall. This may be to have a large group like your family participate in the videocall with a distant relative or friend or you may find that the large screen offers you a way to see your correspondent easily and comfortably. How do you do this?

Apple iPad Pro 9.7 inch press picture courtesy of Apple

The AirPlay network-based video-streaming method brings more utility to the Apple iPad

The same instructions will also apply with people who use any other mobile-messaging platform that uses an iOS client like Skype or Facebook Messenger, especially where the platform offers videocalling or video messaging functionality.

Most likely, you will have purchased an Apple TV set-top box perhaps to use the iTunes video-on-demand services or use its Netflix or other video-service front-ends. This device can also earn its keep in bringing Facetime to the big screen.

This Apple TV device exploits Apple’s Airplay network-based streaming protocol especially for video applications and will work alongside any iPhone or iPad running a version of iOS newer than iOS 5. Both these devices need to be on the same logical network as each other, which is simple for most home and other small networks looked after by one router.

How to have Facetime on the big screen

  1. Start a Facetime session on your iPhone or iPad as you normally would and advise the caller you will be linking to the big screen
  2. Double-click the Home button to bring up the “Fast Application Switcher” and select the iOS Home screen then expose the control panel by “pulling up” from the bottom of the screen
  3. Tap Airplay button and select Apple TV as your AirPlay target device and enable AirPlay mirroring

    Apple TV - Mirroring on - iPad

    Set up iPad for mirroring to Apple TV

  4. Switch back to Facetime by double-clicking on the Home button and selecting the Facetime window which should be the last or second-last window.
  5. Continue your call but see your caller on the big screen and hear them through the TV’s speakers. You may find it easier to place your iPhone or iPad atop or in front of the TV screen for natural conversation.

When I was doing research on this topic, I noticed that commentators were raising the idea that Apple could integrate Facetime in to the Apple TV platform in a similar way to how some smart-TV manufacturers integrated Skype in to their smart-TVs and video peripherals. This would be in the form of supplying a camera kit as an optional accessory or describing one of these kits as part of the MFi peripherals program that Apple runs along with developing a Facetime app for the Apple TV.

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