Readers like you help support MUO. When you make a purchase using links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Read More.
Jealous of your iPhone-owning friends that are able to FaceTime with each other? Wondering how you can put FaceTime on your Android phone, or want to find an Android equivalent of FaceTime?
We'll discuss all these topics and more in our guide to FaceTime for Android.
What Is FaceTime?
First, we should review what FaceTime is and how it works.
MAKEUSEOF VIDEO OF THE DAY
SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT
FaceTime is Apple's video and audio calling service. It launched in 2010 for iPhone, and in 2011 for Mac. It's a free service on all compatible Apple devices, including iPhone, iPad, Mac, and iPod touch. Anyone with these devices can call anyone else on a compatible device, as long as they have the phone number or email address tied to the other party's Apple ID.
While FaceTime is primarily a video-calling app, the included FaceTime Audio function supports voice-only calls too. This provides an alternative to phone calls if your plan offers limited minutes. You aren't limited to one-on-one chats either; group FaceTime calls with up to 32 participants are also supported.
You can even share your Mac's screen over FaceTime, and screen sharing on iPhone is supported in iOS 15.1 and later.
FaceTime is so convenient because it comes pre-installed on every iPhone and Mac. You're strongly encouraged to log into or sign up for an Apple ID when you set up an iPhone, meaning a video call with anyone you know who owns an iPhone is just a tap away. You don't have to fumble around with setting up any new accounts or downloading a different app.
Can I Use FaceTime on Android?
FaceTime is a proprietary app, which means that Apple controls where you can use it. For a long time, FaceTime was only available on Apple devices. However, in a surprising move for Apple, the company now provides an option to use FaceTime on Android, Windows, and other platforms.
As of September 2021, FaceTime is available on Android. However, you won't find a FaceTime app available for download on the Google Play Store or Microsoft Store.
Instead, someone with an Apple device needs to create a link to invite you to a FaceTime call. Opening this link in Chrome or Microsoft Edge will let you join the call through a web interface. You unfortunately can't start a FaceTime call on Android to an iPhone; you're limited to joining calls that an Apple user sends you.
The basic features work, but not everything in FaceTime is available for Android devices. This web version allows you to mute your microphone and video, use full-screen mode, and switch between your front and back cameras. You can also change the layout of the call participants. However, advanced functions like SharePlay, which lets you watch media together with friends over FaceTime, are limited to Apple devices.
See how to use FaceTime on Android, as well as how to start a FaceTime call with Android users on your iPhone, for everything you need to know.
In case this version of FaceTime isn't enough for you, or you'd rather use a FaceTime-like app that's made for Android, you'll find plenty of FaceTime alternatives that work great on your device.
What Is the Android Version of FaceTime?
Let's take a look at some of the best apps similar to FaceTime that you can use natively on Android. If these don't work for you, check out more great apps for making free conference calls.
In 2016, Google released Google Allo and Google Duo. Allo was a text chat app that has since been discontinued, but Duo is still around and is the company's closest substitute for FaceTime. It features a slimmed-down interface with a focus on video calling, just like FaceTime.
Duo is well-optimized for poor connections, so you should experience solid call quality even in below-average network conditions. It supports group calls with up to 32 people, as well as the ability to leave a short message if the other person doesn't pick up.
Duo also uses phone numbers for contacts, which makes it more convenient for your friends to get on board since they don't have to sign up for a Google account.
If you don't need a full video call, Google Duo supports audio calling. It also has a feature called "Knock Knock" that lets you see a few seconds of the other party's live video when someone calls you. Finally, Duo calls are end-to-end encrypted, which protects your chats.
Overall, Duo is the closest app to an Android version of FaceTime. It's not an all-in-one messenger, but that simplicity has an appeal for some. Duo is also available for iPhone and the web, so if your iPhone owning-friends don't mind installing another app, they can call you easily.
Note that Google will merge some functionality of the current Google Meet app into Duo, deprecate the current Google Meet app, and rename Google Duo to Google Meet by the end of 2022.
Download: Google Duo for Android | iOS (Free)
As you likely gathered from the above, Google's chat apps suffer from confusing name and functionality changes. Google Hangouts is another such case; after going through several changes over the years, the service is finally at the end of its life. If you're a current Hangouts user, you'll see a prompt to move to the new Google Chat service instead.
Hangouts was historically an all-in-one messenger app like WhatsApp. It provided instant messaging, video calls, and more. Google Chat is similar, but changes some functions and requires you to use Google Meet for video calls. Opinions are mixed on it, so you may wish to try something else as a FaceTime alternative, especially if you're primarily interested in video calls.
Some of Google Chat's information says that it's aimed at business users, but Google is slowly making Chat more applicable for personal accounts too. Give it a try if you like, but we'd recommend WhatsApp for most people instead—there's a reason WhatsApp is so popular.
Download: Google Chat for Android | iOS | Web (Free)
Good old Skype was the first popular video-calling app. While it works just fine, there's not much of a reason to choose it over Google Chat or Duo, unless all your friends only use Skype. The former apps are better integrated with Android, and Skype requires you to use a Microsoft account. Plus, some of Skype's redesigns haven't been great.
If you do go with Skype, follow our guide to mastering Skype on Android.
Download: Skype for Android | iOS | Web (Free, in-app purchases available)
The Best FaceTime Solution for Android
The best option to FaceTime your iPhone-owning friends while using an Android phone is using Apple's official method. Just ask your friend with an iPhone to generate a link to a new call and send it to you, then you can join it in your browser.
If you often call others with Android or on the web, Google Duo (soon Google Meet) is worth keeping around too. It's simple to set up, so if you're trying to video chat with a relative who's not tech-savvy, they don't have to do much to get started. Having your Duo profile tied to your phone number also eliminates the extra step of signing up for a Google or Microsoft account.
Duo doesn't get bogged down by a lot of unnecessary features, and it's available everywhere with full support. The only reason not to use it is if your iPhone-owning friends refuse to install another app.
Will We Ever See Full FaceTime Support for Android?
While Apple's decision to make FaceTime links available on other platforms was unexpected, this solution still isn't a full version of FaceTime for Android. When Steve Jobs announced FaceTime, he claimed that the company would work with standards organizations to make it an "open industry standard," but this isn't quite the case yet.
Apple does offer a handful of apps on Android, including Apple TV, Apple Music, and Move to iOS. But Apple Music and Apple TV are both paid services, so these aren't apps that Apple is offering for free.
FaceTime is different. It's a free service that's part of the "magic" of using an Apple device. Making FaceTime fully available on Android or other platforms might cheapen the experience that Apple offers, where its own devices work in harmony. FaceTime would go from a smooth way to video chat between Apple devices to just another video-calling app.
Plus, Apple's software engineers are obviously most familiar with the Mac and iOS platforms. Designing an app to work on Android would take a lot of time, likely wouldn't be as seamless as the Apple versions, and would hurt the brand in the process. That's why we're not likely to see a full version of FaceTime come to Android.
Video Chatting on Android, With or Without FaceTime
Now you know how FaceTime works on Android. You can join FaceTime calls using links generated by iPhone owners, or try one of the best replacements for the service. Google Duo does well as the Android version of FaceTime, and it even lets you video call iPhone users with the same ease.
For another alternative, don't forget that the wildly popular WhatsApp offers text, voice, and video chat all in one place.