One of the greatest aspects of FaceTime for PC is the ability to stay in connection with those you love, from your family to your old friends, there are more ways than ever to connect.
Just give a thought to all the ways you connect with people, from Facebook to Gmail to WhatsApp to Snapchat to text messages to Twitter. These all have in common the ability to find old connections and make new connections.
One of the greatest way to stay connected with your friends and family is through video chat, where you can see and hear the people on the other line in real time. Apple’s innovative product, FaceTime, is undoubtedly one of the greatest means of communication native to Mac computers, iPhone and iPad. But what happens if you want to use FaceTime on your PC to connect with your friends who have Apple products?
Are you stuck either buying a Mac or using a FaceTime alternative? I’ll walk you through the various options below. Keep in mind that technology is constantly changing, from year to year apps are developed which make our lives easier, add functionality to otherwise not optimal situations, and more. If anything changes with the current setup or options, we will update this article to reflect the newest technology and options out there.
“I’m a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other, and how they can achieve the kind of freedoms that they’re interested in” – Bill Gates
What Is FaceTime?
FaceTime is Apple’s version of Skype, Google Hangouts, or video conferencing. It allows anyone with a Macbook Air, Macbook Pro, iMac, iPhone, or iPad to video chat with one another in real time. The best part is that it is completely over WiFi or cellular data so you won’t have to pay for each call, even if the other person is half way around the world! Here are some of the key features that make it such a great app for home and business.
- Make audio only, or video and audio calls to anyone with an Apple product
- Make calls over WiFi or your device’s cellular data
- Answer calls with one tap when someone calls you on FaceTime
- Make use of the iPhone and iPad front or back camera to share everything around you
- Easy setup involves simply entering in your Apple ID and your password
- Calls are completely free (minus data charges) domestically and internationally
As you can see, FaceTime is one of the primary apps that you should use to connect with your friends and family. But, what happens if you have a PC and want to make use of this app? Let’s get into that below.
FaceTime Using Android Emulator Or iPadian?
I want to dispel a myth that a lot of other sites have been claiming. There are several sites that claim you can download an Android emulator such as BlueStacks and can run FaceTime using the emulator. This is just nonsense for a few reasons. The first reason is that an Android emulator is just that, it’s not an iOS emulator.
Therefore, on an Android emulator you can only download apps that run on an Android device. Unfortunately, FaceTime is not available for Android so this can’t be an option. The other reason is because unlike other apps, FaceTime is a built in app, which means it’s already on your device and it’s not available to add via the Apple App store. The only way to reinstall FaceTime from an Apple product is to reinstall OS X or iOS operating system which has it bundled.
If at some point in the future, Apple creates a FaceTime for Android, then you would be able to use an emulator to run it on your PC. Until then, that is not an option going forward. Another point is that iPadian is the only useful iOS emulator that lets you emulate iPhone and iPad apps on your PC or Mac.
However, as of writing this, iPadian does not allow any app to be downloaded. You are limited to about a dozen apps that they have preloaded onto the emulator. Therefore, despite other sites saying you can, you cannot download FaceTime onto iPadian to run on your Windows computer.
FaceTime On PC Using Remote Desktop
Can you get FaceTime for your PC using remote desktop? The short answer is YES, but there are a few caveats. This is the only option for running the app on your PC. Since Apple has made the app solely available for their products, there is no way to run FaceTime on anything but their products. Therefore, your only option is to remote into a Mac that is running FaceTime and use it that way.
The best and easiest option out there is Google Chrome Remote Desktop. If you have a Google account and install Google Chrome, that’s all you need to get it up and running. Of course, you will need a working Mac computer for this option. If your parents, friends, work colleagues, etc. have a Mac. Ask them if it’s ok for you to remote into their Mac to run FaceTime.
Follow these steps to get Chrome Remote Desktop up and running between your PC and Mac:
- Install Google Chrome onto both your PC and Mac computers
- Search for Chrome Remote Desktop or click the link above to install the app onto your Chrome browser
- Allow Chrome Remote Desktop access to both computers
- Go to the Chrome App Launcher and launch the remote desktop app
- Enable remote connections on your PC on Chrome
- Download and install the Desktop Host Installer
- Create a PIN that allows other computers to access your computer.
- On the Mac go to System Preferences and then Chrome Remote Desktop Host Preferences and enter the PIN number then click enable.
- You will now be able to find and remote connect to your Mac from your PC.
By following the steps above you will be able to remotely connect to any Mac as long as you have access rights to the computer. Then, from your PC you can remotely connect and use FaceTime as much as you want. You can use it to make or receive calls and chat with your friends whether they are using an iPhone, Macbook Pro, or iPad.
This is really the only valid option you have if you want to use FaceTime for PC.
FaceTime is Open Source
As some of you may know, Steve Jobs announced at the 2010 WWDC that Apple would make FaceTime open source. This means that they would share all of the code and ability to modify the code to developers. The end result would mean that likely someone on the Windows or Android side would create a FaceTime equivalent for their platform and allow FaceTime to bridge the gap between Apple products and Windows and Android products.
Unfortunately, Apple has not followed through with this promise and have yet to make FaceTime open source. Let’s hope that Apple wakes up and realizes that this could be a fantastic standard that the entire world could use. It could rival huge video calling companies like Skype and allow for free and easy video and audio communication between different parties of people.
Buy A Mac
This may sound a bit silly, but I want to emphasize that if you really want to use FaceTime, you may want to consider buying an old Mac. You can buy the lowest end Apple computer, the Mac Mini, brand new for $500. On top of that, you can buy a used one for much cheaper than that, likely finding one for a few hundred dollars.
This gives you the option to natively use the app while not having to deal with a remote desktop connection and finding another Mac for you to use. You could also buy an old iPod touch. The 4th generation iPod Touch or later supports the use of FaceTime and will allow you to make and receive calls all you want. An iPod Touch retails new for $199 and a used one can be bought for $100 easily.
Give a thought to whether it’s worth it to buy an Apple product, rely on a remote desktop, or whether you will stick with other video messaging apps like the ones below.
FaceTime Alternatives for PC
If you’re saying to yourself, why would I bother with FaceTime when it is such a hassle, then you may want to take a look at some of the other popular alternatives that can fit your needs to video chat with your friends and family. The suggestions below are all free but range in the features they offer and how similar or different they are to FaceTime.
Let us know below in the comments if you have another favorite alternative video chat app that we should check out. It is good to hear about other people’s experiences and likes/dislikes.
Skype – Skype is probably the most well known video chat apps in the world. The great thing about Skype is that you can use it on pretty much any device around the world, From PC to Mac to Linux, iPhone to Android to Windows Phone, etc. It is completely free if you make a video call to another person with Skype. On top of that, you can use the app to make calls to a cell phone or landline anywhere in the world. The rates are pretty good because they are sent over the internet so this is a good option if you wan to call long distance.
Google Hangouts – Google Hangouts is Google’s way of introducing a video chat app. You can have group video conversations, type text, and it is fully integrated into your Google contacts list. Almost everyone has a Google account so there is a very high likelihood that your friend has Google and can video chat with you. Another cool feature is that the app is available for iPhone, iPad, Android and can also be downloaded onto Google Chrome browser so you can use it on your Mac or PC using the browser extension.
Tango Messenger – The next best messenger is Tango Messenger that allows video chatting. Simply download it onto your mobile device or onto your Windows computer and you’ll be able to chat with your friends. The downside is that Tango is a little less popular so you need to make sure your friends have the app or are willing to download it.
FaceTime for PC Claims Are False
You may see several sites out there that claim to have valid software that either mimics or is FaceTime available for a PC. However, as stated on Apple’s website, there is no official app that is available for a Windows device and therefore all of these claims are false. I want to flag for you to be cautious when downloading some of the apps that claim to be FaceTime when they do not come from Apple.
It’s not uncommon to see a website request that you fill out a survey, provide your email address, or click a link in order to get your personal information. This way the person gets money every time you click a link or fill out a survey and really their not offering anything for it. On top of that, I’ve downloaded a few of the files on my Mac and did a virus scan and several of the FaceTime for PC files that you can download contain various spyware and viruses. I highly recommend not going the route of downloading software that you do not recognize the source and it’s not a trusted site.
FaceTime with Airplay
Lastly, there is an option to use FaceTime when you’re on airplay. This is really a great option if you want to share the FaceTime with everyone and let all of your friends or family take part in the video chat. All you have to do is setup FaceTime on your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad and from there you can swipe your finger up from the bottom to reveal the Airplay option. Simply Airplay your streaming FaceTime and from there and you can view the feed on the TV and chat as a family.
Keep in mind for this to work you will be required to have an Apple TV to stream your iPhone or iPad screen to your TV. It’s $99 but totally worth it, allowing you to watch Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO, ESPN, etc. all on your TV through streaming on the Apple TV. On top of that you can enable to Airplay feature to mirror whatever is on your device. All of this will let you be able to FaceTime as a group. This isn’t necessarily the FaceTime option for your computer you may have been looking for but it is a good alternative if your goal is to have a larger screen to utilize for FaceTime.
Know of any other great options to get FaceTime for PC to work? Have you had any luck with the remote connection or did you decide to just try to use an alternative? Let us know your thoughts and experiences below in the comments!