How to set up iMessage/FaceTime

iMessage and FaceTime works on iPhones, iPads, and even MacBook computers, allowing you to chat by voice, text, or even video.

set up imessage facetime feature wm
If you’ve just upgraded to a new iPhone, like the iPhone 14, you’ll be able to download (or transfer) all your favorite apps to the device, set up e-mail accounts, and more if you owned one before (or you can start anew). You’ll also probably want to set up iMessage and FaceTime so that you can communicate with friends, family, work colleagues, and others through instant messages, voice calls, and video. Setting up both is simple and takes just a few steps. Here, I’ll provide the details using an iPhone, but once set up, you can also open both apps on an iPad or MacBook computer with the same Apple ID and use them there as well.

How to set up iMessage on iPhone

  1. First, open the Messages icon.
  2. You’ll see a note about how content shares in messages may automatically appear in various apps. Click OK and close the app.
  3. Go to Settings, Messages.
  4. If it isn’t already on, turn on iMessage by moving the slider to the right.
  5. You’ll need an address to send and receive iMessages if the phone does not have an e-mail address and/or phone number already connected to do so.
  6. Select Send & Receive.
  7. Select Use your Apple ID for iMessage.
  8. Select Sign In.
  9. Go back to Messages and select the pen and paper icon at the top right.
  10. Add the recipient’s name, number, or e-mail address in the To: field. The name will turn blue if it’s recognized as a contact who also has an iOS device.
  11. Compose your message and tap the blue up arrow to the right to Send. The message will show as delivered once it has been successfully sent.

How to set up FaceTime on iPhone

  1. Go to Settings, FaceTime.
  2. Move the slider to the right to turn FaceTime on (if it isn’t already on).
  3. Select Use Your Apple ID for FaceTime if the phone is not activated with a cellular account.
  4. Select Sign In. It may take a few seconds for your e-mail address (Apple ID) to pop up with a green checkmark beside it.
  5. Exit Settings and open the FaceTime app.
  6. Select New FaceTime, choose the contact and start a video (or audio) call.

In iMessage, available with all the best iPhones, you can send and receive everything from text to videos, GIFs, still images, and more. You can set up group conversations or chat one-to-one with people. You can also initiate a FaceTime call right from the Messages app by tapping the little video camera icon in the top right corner of an active message window.

Meanwhile, FaceTime has some exciting features, including group calling, Spatial Audio (with supported phone models and compatible AirPods earbuds or headphones), and even SharePlay, which allows you to watch movies and TV shows, listen to music or play games with others while on an active FaceTime call.

You can also do things like share your screen and show the person apps, webpages, and other content from the phone during your conversation. This is great for collaborative purposes, like while working on a school or work project or planning a trip or event. Switch the camera the same way you would when taking a photo to talk face-to-face or show the person what’s in front of you. You can also take Live Photos via FaceTime.

There’s a FaceTime Handoff feature in iOS 16 as well, which allows you to transfer an active call to a compatible iPad or Mac.

If you feel you aren’t quite camera-ready, you can also just do an audio FaceTime call. This is great for times when you don’t have cellular coverage or want to save your calling minutes. It’s also useful for travel since it uses roaming data versus your long-distance wireless minutes.

Whether you want to chat by text, audio, video, or all of the above, setting up iMessage and FaceTime on your iPhone (or iPad or even MacBook) will give you all of the options you need.

  • iPhone 14-1
    Apple iPhone 14

    The iPhone 14 is the base model of the 2022 iPhone series, offering a balanced set of features for the average user.

  • iPhone 14 pro
    Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max

    The iPhone 14 Pro Max is Apple’s biggest and best smartphone, and in typical Apple fashion, it is both a powerhouse and an endurance beast.