Holiday season is a time for giving, eating, and seeing family. But what if your closest family members live states away? Flying out to see everyone isn’t ideal, and plane tickets around this time of year tend to be expensive. There is one way, however, you can see all your family at once without leaving the couch: Group FaceTime. If you have an iPhone, you’ve probably FaceTimed with your son or daughter while they were away at college, or maybe you’ve used it while traveling on business. Either way, video chatting is a great way to see your friends and family when traveling isn’t an option. And thanks to the app Fam, you can now chat with everyone you love at the same time.
How to Group FaceTime
First, download Fam from the Apple App Store. Once it’s downloaded, a small icon should show up alongside the rest of your iMessage apps. When you open the app, it’ll take up the keyboard area. Here you will see a button that reads “Create Group Video.” When this button is pressed, it will send a link to your whole group iMessage. When your group members clink on this link it will start a group chat between you and your friends.
Please note, your chat buddies will also have to have Fam in order for this to work. But don’t worry, once they click the link they will be prompted to download the app if it’s not already downloaded on their phone.
You can expand the video so it takes up the full screen if you’d like. Either way, the video chat will be within the iMessage app instead of a separate app, which is convenient because it means one less app is draining your battery.
If you’re still having trouble, here’s a how-to video from the Fam website:
Features of Fam
The App Store describes Fam as the “first-ever live group video app built inside iMessage.”
“With just a couple taps from your iMessage keyboard, Fam turns any iMessage group chat (or one-on-one conversation) into a group video chat party, where an unlimited number of friends can be online at once. In the Fam home screen app, you can see your group video chat call history in one neat, organized view.”
Some neat things you can do with Fam include:
1. Play fun games, like basketball and trivia while chatting.
2. Fam supports unlimited friends on group video at once.
3. Fam also allows users to “pause” the call, so you can use other apps while chatting.
4. Leave “video voicemails” for your friends and family to watch when they’re unavailable to chat live.
5. Flip the camera to show your group even more.
In 2016, Venture Beast named Fam as one of the top 10 best iMessage apps of the year. In fact, more than 406 users have given Fam a four-star rating. With that many reviews, it’s hard to believe this app isn’t download-worthy. Plus, if it works as good as they say it does, you'll be able to talk with your friends and family all the time, no matter where they live.