We know how frustrating the pandemic is on visitation with your grandkids. Your daughter finally had a baby and you’re not getting any younger. But every time you see the photos on Facebook, it feels like you missed a lot. So how can you use FaceTime to see your grandkids? We’ll show you. And don’t worry, your kids won’t make fun of you. Well, they may, but they’ll be surprised at how good you are at it.
FaceTime is Apple’s video app. Basically, FaceTime allows you to make calls over your WiFi instead of through your cellular service provider. So, if you’re low on minutes every month, then make calls with WiFi -- with or without video.
After you enable FaceTime on your phone, you’re ready to go. Apple has great instructions to ensure that you know how to get this done -- you won’t be embarrassed or have to make an appointment at the Genius Bar. And there are even some filters and stickers!
FaceTime is free to use and there are no limits to calls -- like with Zoom -- and there are no long-distance charges. Just be sure you’re only using it in WiFi.
Though you can use FaceTime over cellular data, it works best over a strong WiFi signal. Live video chatting is greedy when it comes to bandwidth. For a great experience, you’ll want to wear your headphones so there isn’t any feedback or echo. If you use Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids, you don’t need headphones.
Choose a spot to FaceTime with your grandkids where you feel comfortable and that has good lighting. You know, it can be really awkward holding your phone the whole time, so why not get a ring light? They’re not just for beauty bloggers! The one I bought from Amazon holds your cell phone horizontally or vertically, has a stand, and different hints of warmth and brightness of lights. (It’s just under $25 and your arms will thank you -- and your kids won’t be nagging you about not being able to see you.)
If you’re a bit worried about being embarrassed in front of your kids, then practice making FaceTime calls with your friends. It’s not a bad idea to exchange knowledge and secret iPhone tips!
We thought about creating a tutorial for you, but My Mobile Genius made a great video! Note that there are always a few ways to get things done on a computer as Apple notes in their official how-to docs.
If you don’t have an Apple computer, tablet, or phone, you can video chat with alternative applications. Popular apps for video chat include WhatsApp or even MarcoPolo. You can also use Zoom or Skype! People think of them as old technology but they are both available on any computer or mobile device. These services all have a free option and are great alternatives to Apple’s FaceTime.
Regardless of the mobile app, there’s really no reason to watch your grandkids grow up -- even after the pandemic is over and you’re FaceTiming them from the Danube River while on your river cruise!