How to Make a FaceTime Voice Call on iOS 7

FaceTime is a neat little video chat app that comes installed by default on all iOS products, including iPhone and iPad. It allows users to video chat with each other without the hassle of dealing with third-party apps. FaceTime can be used over WiFi or a 3G or 4G data connection, but the app uses a lot of bandwidth and with limited monthly data, it’s not a viable option when on the go.

However, FaceTime lets you take advantage of voice-only calls, which use less bandwidth but offer better call quality than you’d find on a regular call over cell towers. It also lets you talk and surf at the same time, something you can’t do with the iPhone on Verizon’s network.

Why Should You Make Audio-Only FaceTime Calls?

Essentially, FaceTime Audio calls should offer much better sound quality when chatting with someone on the phone. If you have trouble understanding someone while chatting on the phone, it’s probably because phone calls from cell towers aren’t all that good. FaceTime Audio calls use WiFi or 3G/4G data connection, which offers much better sound quality. Also, it doesn’t use any of your minutes.

FaceTime Audio isn’t overly hidden in the FaceTime app, but it isn’t very easy to find either (we covered it in our “25 Hidden iOS 7 Features” article a while back). The video below demonstrates a FaceTime audio call — read below to see how.

Making FaceTime Voice Calls

To initiate a FaceTime Audio call, simply open the FaceTime app and tap its icon in the lower-right corner (or if you have it installed – more below). Then browse to the person you want to chat with and tap their name.

You will see phone numbers with a text bubble and a phone icon to the right. Below that, you will see the word with a camera icon and a phone icon on the right. The camera icon initiates a full FaceTime video call, while the phone icon initiates an audio-only call; This is what you want.

Tapping this phone icon initiates an audio-only FaceTime call. By default, the sound comes from the earpiece, so if you want to use the speakerphone (tap the button, just like you would in a FaceTime video call. Otherwise, it will act like a regular phone call), but it will use WiFi or data connection instead of base stations. This will result in better sound quality in both directions.

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You can also access FaceTime Audio from the Phone app. Simply tap the small circled “i” icon to the right of a contact and you’ll be greeted with the same options as above: Tap the phone icon next to FaceTime to initiate a FaceTime Audio call.

2013-10-11 14.51.39Setting FaceTime Audio Favorites

If you have a small group of people you constantly initiate FaceTime calls with, it won’t hurt to add them to your FaceTime favorites list.

To do this, open the app and tap the tab in the lower left corner. Next, tap the icon in the upper right corner; this will show a list of your contacts. Choose one and then you will be prompted to add them as a FaceTime Audio favorite or a regular FaceTime favorite.

Select it and you will now see them in your Favorites list. Tapping the contact’s name in the favorites list immediately initiates a FaceTime Audio call.

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