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Jealous of your iPhone-owning friends being able to FaceTime with each other? Wondering how you can put FaceTime on your Android phone? 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.
FaceTime is Apple’s video and audio-calling service. It launched in 2010 for iOS, and 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 their phone number or email address. Using a Mac, you can even share your screen over FaceTime.
While FaceTime is a video-calling app, FaceTime Audio supports voice-only calls. This provides an alternative to phone calls if you’re on a limited-minutes plan. In addition, FaceTime only supports conversations between two people. You’ll have to look elsewhere for group chats.
The reason that FaceTime is so convenient is that it comes pre-installed on every iPhone. You’re required to log into or sign up for an Apple ID when you set up an iPhone, so 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 (the opposite of open source), which means that it’s not available for use everywhere. Because Apple created FaceTime, it decides which devices it will work on. Unsurprisingly, given Apple’s design philosophy, FaceTime is only available on Apple devices.
You won’t find FaceTime available for download on the Google Play Store or Microsoft Store. If you don’t have a compatible Apple device, that means you’re out of luck and need to use an alternative app for video calling.
Thankfully, you’ll find plenty of alternatives to FaceTime that work great on Android.
What Is the Android Version of FaceTime?
Let’s take a look at some of the best apps that are similar to FaceTime that you can use on Android. If these don’t work for you, you’ll find many similar apps.
Google Hangouts has gone through several confusing changes recently, but it’s actually a great chat app. It combines not only FaceTime’s video-calling functionality, but also Apple’s iMessage functionality, all into one app. It comes pre-installed on nearly every Android phone, and you can use it to make video or audio calls easily.
Pop open Hangouts on your phone to start. Click the Plus icon floating in the bottom-right corner, and you can start a text chat or video call with any of your contacts who also use Hangouts. As long as you have their email address or phone number that’s tied to their Google account, you can start a conversation or call with them here.
In a text conversation, you can tap the buttons at the top of the screen to start a video or audio call. Unlike FaceTime, Hangouts supports up to 10 users in a video call at once. And since Hangouts is available on iOS as well as the web, you can talk with anyone — Apple device or not. Check out our tricks for Google Hangouts for some neat secrets.
For some reason, Google decided that the perfectly functional video calling in Hangouts wasn’t enough. Thus, it created an entirely new video calling app called Duo. This app features a slimmed-down interface with a focus on one-to-one calling, just like FaceTime.
Duo does have a few differences separating it from Hangouts. It’s optimized for poor connections, so you should experience a solid call even on a below-average network state. 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.
In 2017, Google updated Duo to support audio-only calls. It also has a feature called “Knock Knock” that lets you see a few seconds of live video when someone calls you. Finally, Duo calls are encrypted, which is a welcome addition.
Overall, Duo is the closest app to an Android version of FaceTime. It’s a no-frills solution that doesn’t do as much as Hangouts, but that simplicity has an appeal for some. Duo is also available for iOS, so if your iPhone owning-friends don’t mind installing another app, they can talk to you easily.
Good old Skype is the original video-calling app. While it works just fine, there’s not much of a reason to choose it over Hangouts 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, Skype’s recent redesign adds a lot of bloated nonsense that you probably don’t care about.
If you do go with Skype, follow our tips for the best experience.
Calls Between Android and iPhone
So what’s the best solution if you want to “FaceTime” your iPhone-owning friends while you have an Android phone?
Google Duo is your best bet. 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 entry tied to your phone number also eliminates the extra step of signing up for a Google or Microsoft account. And Duo doesn’t get bogged down by a lot of unnecessary features.
Google duo is Google's "FaceTime" app. If you have a newer Android phone it's already there. If not just click the link. Through the app you can easily send invites to your iPhone friends. So you can "FaceTime" them. https://t.co/IPtgDrNJuC
— Android Educator (@AndroidEducator) December 25, 2017
If you want to talk to Android users, Duo is still the best choice! Google is starting to include it by default on new Android phones. Hopefully soon, Duo will become the standard video chat app for Android users just like FaceTime is on iOS.
Duo’s only weakness is that you can’t call people who are using on desktop. For that, you should keep Hangouts around.
Will We Ever See FaceTime for Android?
Chances are, Apple will never make a version of FaceTime for Android.
Apple did break new ground by making Apple Music available on Android, which was its first real Android app (not counting the “Move to iOS” debacle). But that was only so it could make more money from Android users — Apple Music has no free tier.
FaceTime is different. It’s a free service, and part of the “magic” of using an Apple device. Making FaceTime available on Android or other platforms would cheapen the experience it’s created to make its own devices work in harmony. FaceTime would go from a way to video chat between Apple devices to just another video-calling app.
Plus, Apple’s engineers are familiar with the Mac and iOS platforms. Designing an app to work on Android would take a lot of time, and hurt the brand in the process. That’s why we’re not likely to see FaceTime come to Android.
Video Chatting, No FaceTime Required
So that’s the story of FaceTime for your Android phone. While you can’t use FaceTime on Android outright, you’ll find some free suitable replacements. Google Duo has promise as the Android version of FaceTime, and it even lets you video call iOS users.
You don’t need to worry about FaceTime coming to Android. Any iPhone-owning friend worth a video call will take two minutes to download an app for you.
For another alternative, did you know that the cross-platform WhatsApp can also make video calls?
What app will you use as a FaceTime alternative for Android? Is there another app you prefer? Let us know what you think about FaceTime, and your favorite video calling app, in the comments!