Facetime For PC: Is It Really An Option Worth Pursuing?

With iOS devices dominating the mobile market it’s no surprise that millions of people use Facetime. Whether it’s to have a quick voice call for free or to do a video chat with friends. It’s just such a simple solution.

It’s directly built into all iOS and Mac OS devices. And all you need is a free iCloud account. As long as you have a reasonable Internet connection speed you are ready to chat with anyone else anywhere in the world. And it’s completely free.

The only problem is that the person at the other end also has to be using Facetime. With so many people using Apple products the chances are high. But you might prefer Android phones and all your friends have iPhones.

The problem is that there is no Facetime for PC. Apple have never made the software available on Windows. And that is very unlikely to ever happen. So, what are the solutions? Is there a simple hack?

In this article, we will take a closer look at what the underlying problem is and why you might struggle to get a reasonable solution. There is one option that we discuss a bit further down.

So, can you facetime from a PC?

Can You Get Facetime Running On Windows?

You would think that something as popular as Facetime would be suitable for marketing to the Windows world. But if you expect to download Facetime for PC then you are out of luck. It is an Apple OS and iOS native app only. That means you cannot load it on Windows.

This kind of trend is common. In a lot of cases apps are only developed for mobile platforms. And when you want those apps on your desktop you can usually solve the problem with an Android or iOS emulator.

These mimic a mobile platform and allow you to play many games and load social media apps. But if you tried launching Facetime on Bluestacks or Nox App Player you would quickly run into problems.

But more on that in the next section.

Basically, Apple won’t make it available for Windows users. There is one solution available, if you absolutely have to be able to access Facetime. But it’s a bit of a roundabout way and not an ideal solution. You are probably better off with some of the alternatives which we will reveal further down.

So, keep reading to see what the real problem is.

What Is The Problem?

Security and encryption is the simple answer. Facetime is actually a very secure way to make and receive calls and video chats. It uses secure authentication and encryption to keep your conversations private. There have been many hacking and eavesdropping scandals out there.

The technology behind that is very complicated and we won’t bore you with details from the world of math and programming. But for this security feature to work, your Facetime account login has to be bound to very complicated hardware identifications.

These are only present on actual Apple devices. Even the smartest emulators cannot fake a true hardware identity. This is because Apple knows what it is has shipped out. And it can validate what is real and fake.

As a result, you can actually launch the Facetime app in Bluestacks or Nox App. But you won’t be able to authenticate your user ID. It will just continuously fail, no matter what you do.

That leaves only one real solution that isn’t all that elegant. To be honest, we don’t think many people will do this. But just to make sure we let you know it exists, we have added to this page.

One Possible Solution

The only way we have figured out to get Facetime for windows working is with some sort of remote desktop software. This is really not a great solution but if absolutely have to get this working then it’s an option.

One possible way to do this is through Chrome remote desktop. You can use it to control a Mac from your PC. So, you would still have to have a Mac as well as your PC and it has to be connected to the Internet. Chrome Remote Desktop is free and has to be installed on both computers.

This already starts to complicate things significantly.

You are then able to control the Mac and you should be able to hear what’s happening on the other side. For video chat this will not bridge to your remote camera. That’s why we mentioned that it’s really limited.

Even using something like VMWare to emulate a Mac platform you won’t have much luck. It has the same problem as the above mentioned one for Bluestacks. You just can’t hack it enough to let the Facetime system think that it’s a valid hardware platform.

Essentially, it’s a closed system

What Is Facetime?

On the Apple Mac and iOS platforms there two forms of communication. One is iMessage which is a way to send text based messages. Both sender and receiver have to be registered for iMessages. This is done by activating it either with your email address or cell phone number. It’s completely free to register and use.

That means you can send messages to anywhere in the world. As long as the recipient has an active Internet connection they will be able to receive your message. The way it works is that your message is sent to a server at Apple. And from there it is forwarded to the recipient. It’s simple really. And works the same as old fashioned SMS. But it has the huge advantage of being completely free. Neither sending nor receiving will cost a penny.

Then there is Facetime. This is a separate application and is used for both audio and video chat. You don’t need a separate account registered. It uses the same as iMessage. The app can be used on a Mac iPhone or iPad, which gives you quite a bit pf flexibility.

For audio chats, you won’t need particularly fast Internet connection speeds. And with most mobile devices having 3G or 4G you won’t struggle to get audio chats going. It works exactly the same way as making phone calls. But rather than paying for the service, you get it for free.

But you can take one step further yet. You can also do video chats using the cameras built into all Apple devices. It can be brought all the way up to HD quality. And that is amazing considering that it’s also completely free. So, no matter where your friends and family are in the world, you can stay in touch on a much more personal level.

For this to work well you will need quite a fast Internet connection. 4G in most cases will work as long as you have a good signal. But keep in mind that your 4G provider might charge you if you go over certain amounts of data usage. It’s generally best to keep Facetime video restricted to Wi-Fi connections.

What Alternatives Are There?

We’ve already mentioned that a Bluestacks Facetime solution won’t work. You can do some things using remote desktop and VMWare, but they are far less than ideal. So, you are really so much better off looking at some alternative solutions.

Fortunately, there are some great options available that are very widely used and also completely free. Similar to Apple’s chat technology though, they don’t interact. So, if you use one, the person you want to chat with also needs to use it.

They are all closed systems. But because they are all free and very widely used you won’t struggle to find people who don’t already have it installed and set up.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the most popular audio and video chat services out there. You’ve probably heard of and used most of them.

Skype

One of the first really big and popular services is still around. Skype has been available for over ten years and was bought up by Microsoft in 2011. The service really hasn’t changed a huge amount. You send text messages to other Skype users for free. And audio and video chats are also free.

It does have the added bonus that you can make calls to home and cell phones at very reasonable prices. You can even get a Skype phone number that others can use to call you.

Most people tend to use the free services and the quality of these is fantastic. Audio and video are transmitted at very high bandwidth. This does require some faster Internet connections. Especially for video chats.

It’s a service available anywhere in the world and with so many people actively using it, you’ll probably find that most of your friends are using it already. Registration is free and you don’t even need to register a credit card. Unless you want to use some paid services.

WhatsApp

whatsappOne of the big new-comers to the mobile communications world is WhatsApp. It’s a mobile app available on iOS, Android and Windows Mobile. Similar to Skype you can register a free account and then use it to send text messages for free.

Initially that’s all the app did. It allowed you to set up chat rooms for you to stay in touch with friends easily. If you want to organize a get together then just set up a group and start making arrangements.

In recent years, the app’s functionality has been extended. You can now also use it for audio and video chat. Simple launch the app and search for someone you want to talk to. Then choose to audio or video chat and you’re ready to go.

It’s also a completely free service to set up and use. And with millions of users you will probably find that most of your friends are registered. You simply use your own phone number to get set up. Then allow the app to access your phone book, and it will check which of your friends are registered.

Facebook Messenger

Facebook is the most popular social media platform. With over a Billion people using it to stay in touch with friends and family there are probably not many people you know that are not already set up with it. It’s hard to believe that it’s already been around for more than 10 years.

A messenger has long been available. It is really simple to use and allows you to set up groups of people to chat. You can also set up private Facebook groups to chat as well.

But Facebook also allows you to audio and video chat now. There is absolutely no charge for it and the quality is really good. With most people constantly checking their Facebook feed on the app you will be able to contact pretty much anyone at any time.

It’s really simple to use and doesn’t require any further installations. With your built-in camera, you will be up and running immediately. If you haven’t tried it before then launch the Messenger app right now. Pick someone on your friend list and see how quickly you can get in contact with them.

Conclusion

Facetime is a hugely popular communication system but unfortunately isn’t a closed system. It cannot be ported to other operating systems. And you cannot make it communicate with other providers. As a result, Facetime on Windows is just not going to be a viable solution.

The only option advised above is using remote desktop and even that comes with serious limits. That means that the only real option is to buy an iOS device and use that.

But there are plenty of alternatives available that have become immensely popular. Video chatting is generally referred to as Skyping, not matter what system you use. And because there are so many popular services that are completely free you won’t struggle to find one that helps you stay in contact with friends and family.

 

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