Costs associated with using FaceTime
Ask iLounge offers readers the opportunity to get answers to their iPod-, iPhone-, iPad-, iTunes-, or Apple TV-related questions from a member of the iLounge editorial team. We'll answer several questions here each week, and of course, you can always get help with more immediate concerns from the iLounge Discussion Forums. Submit your questions for consideration using our Ask iLounge Submit Form. We reserve the right to edit questions for grammar, spelling, and length.
Q: My son has the latest iPad and uses FaceTime all the time from home using our unlimited network. Recently he has been using FaceTime to call his friend who has gone to Spain. Is this costing us anything for him using this?
A: There are no costs specifically associated with using FaceTime beyond that of a normal Internet connection, as FaceTime uses your Internet in more or less the same way as other types of activities such as web browsing, checking e-mail, or watching videos.
Note, however, that FaceTime can use a substantial amount of Internet bandwidth compared to other activities such as web browsing or sending e-mail, as it is essentially a streaming video service in the same way as YouTube or Netflix.
Although data usage varies slightly due to video compression, FaceTime uses an average of about 5MB of data per minute of conversation, so an hour long chat will consume around 300MB of data.
If both devices are on a Wi-Fi connection, this additional bandwidth usage is unlikely to be of any real concern as even bandwidth-limited home Internet packages are generally measured in tens or hundreds of gigabytes per month.
On newer iPad and iPhone models, FaceTime can be used over a 3G or LTE cellular data connection, and in this case you would probably want to use it more sparingly; with iPhone and iPad data plans ranging from 500MB to 6GB, in some cases it wouldn’t take much more than an hour of FaceTime use to eat up your monthly data allotment. Further, if your son’s friend is using cellular data in Spain, this may create a very expensive data roaming bill for him, so it would be wise to ensure that he only uses FaceTime while on a Wi-Fi connection.
Note that you can prevent FaceTime from being used over a cellular data connection by going into Cellular Data in the iPad Settings app and toggling off the “FaceTime” option under the “Use Cellular Data for” section. On the iPhone, this is found under General, Cellular. This option only appears on iOS devices that are capable of using FaceTime over Cellular, so if the option doesn’t appear on your device, then it’s essentially off anyway, as your device isn’t capable of placing or receiving FaceTime calls over a cellular data network at all.
- Will removing a credit card from Safari also remove it from Apple Pay?
- Can I mute Handoff calls coming into my Mac from my iPhone?
- How do I keep my iPhone calls from ringing on my Mac?
- Why doesn’t Traffic show up on my Today Notifications Screen?
- Why doesn’t my iPhone reconnect to Wi-Fi after I turn it on?
- Why can’t I see the iPad-style landscape view on my iPhone 6 Plus?
- Spotify penalizing artists who release Apple Music exclusives
- Apple releases new round of iOS 10 and tvOS 10 betas
- Report: 2017 iPhone to eliminate home button
- Apple to add payment technology to iPhone for transit passes, Apple Pay in Japan
- Apple releases iOS 9.3.5 ‘security update’
- Report: Apple developing its own Snapchat-style social video editing iOS app
- Apple announces Apple Music Festival lineup including Alicia Keys, Britney Spears + more
- Universal calls an end to exclusives amid criticisms that Apple Music is hurting the industry
- Apple reveals some of its upcoming AI advancements for the iPhone
- Apple Music’s royalty rates complicate Spotify’s contract negotiations
- Western Digital My Cloud (OS 3)
- Distil Union Stanley Stand
- Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected Bluetooth Toothbrush
- Audeze EL-8 Titanium Over-Ear Headphones
- Defined Corp Dome Stand for Apple Watch and iPhone
- Speck StyleFolio Pencil for 9.7” iPad Pro
- Audeze Sine On-Ear Headphone
- First Alert Onelink Wi-Fi Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm
- Logitech Create 9.7” iPad Pro Keyboard Case
- iDevices Outdoor Switch Power Outlet
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Photos gets Advanced Computer Vision
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Music app delivers ‘clarity and simplicity’
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 Maps gets a major redesign
- Inside the betas: iOS 10 shakes up the user experience
- Inside the betas: watchOS 3 promises a real speed boost
- Inside the betas: A sneak peek at what’s new in tvOS 10
- Filling the Gap: A look at third-party HomeKit apps
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of tvOS 9.2
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.3
- Opinion: Why Apple needs a dedicated HomeKit app