User not available for FaceTime when calling overseas
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 in Germany has an iPhone with Wi-Fi. I tried calling the correct number—overseas, country and locality codes. When I try to call him I get a message that he is “not available for FaceTime.” That means he can’t receive I think. What am I doing wrong?
A: Unfortunately, the message that a user is “Not Available for FaceTime” can several things, including an incorrect number, the user being out of appropriate network coverage, or the user simply declining or not answering the FaceTime call. Calling the wrong number usually results in a different message that the user is not registered for FaceTime, but we have seen situations where the user is simply shown as “not available” instead.
So you should first ensure that you are calling your son’s FaceTime number using a proper mobile number format; although most North American landlines require you to prefix an international call with “011”, this is not the case when calling via a mobile network—instead of “011” the “+” sign is used. So to call Germany, instead of beginning your number with “01149” you would need to dial “+49”; the “+” key can be accessed by holding down the “0” key on the iPhone dialling keypad, or entering it into the phone number field in a contact record using the standard iPhone keyboard. Note that many cellular carriers will accept a “011” prefix for compatibility with landlines, however Apple’s FaceTime servers don’t know how to handle this and simply look for the actual number: country code + local number.
Alternatively, if your son has signed up for FaceTime using an Apple ID, you may be able to reach him by “calling” his e-mail address via FaceTime instead of his phone number. See our Guide to FaceTime + iMessage: Setup, Use, and Troubleshooting for more information on how to set this up.
You may also want to have your son call you via FaceTime, which will display the correct FaceTime address from his iPhone as the caller ID. You can then add to your address book just to make sure you’re using the correct phone number or e-mail address for him.
Also, depending on the model of iPhone your son is using and how he has it configured, he may only be able to receive FaceTime calls when he is actually on a Wi-Fi network. Only the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 allow FaceTime over a cellular data connection, and even with those models the feature can be disabled by the user to minimize cellular data expenses. If your son does not have FaceTime over Cellular enabled, then he will not receive any FaceTime calls while away from a Wi-Fi network, and caller will simply receive a message that he is not available. The option to enable of disable FaceTime over a cellular data connection can be found either under Settings, FaceTime, or Settings, General, Cellular.
If you’ve confirmed that you are calling the correct number or e-mail address and that your son is on a Wi-Fi network when you are trying to call, yet he is still not receiving your FaceTime calls at all, then the problem likely lies with whatever Wi-Fi network he is on. Certain firewall and router configurations can block FaceTime calls, and in many cases this may even only block incoming FaceTime communications, allowing his calls to reach you but preventing your calls from reaching him. This is most often a problem if the user is on a corporate or school network, as many of these have very restrictive firewalls, and in this case there’s probably little he will be able to do about it, other than enabling FaceTime over cellular data and using that instead if he’s on a reasonable enough data plan to get away with it; FaceTime calls over cellular use about 3MB per minute, and you can check the data usage for individual calls from the call history.
If your son is having this problem when on his own home Wi-Fi network, the section on Troubleshooting Home Network Issues in our Guide to FaceTime + iMessage: Setup, Use, and Troubleshooting provides some suggestions that may be of use.
- 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?
- Apple’s new ‘Echo rival’ may feature a camera
- Apple ‘working rapidly’ to extend Apple Pay to more countries
- Report: Apple’s Siri-based Amazon Echo competitor will be a new Apple TV
- Report: Apple SVP Eddy Cue proposed bid to buy Time Warner
- Beta testing for Pokémon GO begins in the U.S.
- Apple’s plan to open stores in India hits a snag (Update: India’s finance minister ratifies ruling)
- Apple looking into charging stations for electric cars
- Apple hires hint at improvements in encryption, health monitoring
- Hyundai adds CarPlay support to more vehicles
- Plaintiffs file new motion to keep ‘Error 53’ Touch ID lawsuit alive
- OtterBox Symmetry Series Hybrid Case for 12.9” iPad Pro
- Logitech Logi BASE Charging Stand for iPad Pro
- Twelve South TimePorter for Apple Watch
- August Doorbell Cam
- August Smart Lock HomeKit enabled + Smart Keypad
- ecobee3 HomeKit-enabled smart Wi-Fi thermostat
- Zagg Now Cam
- Yantouch EyE Portable Wireless Speaker
- Netatmo Wind Gauge
- Incipio Stashback for iPhone 6/6s
- 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
- Inside the betas: What’s new in iOS 9.3 and tvOS 9.2 (Updated)
- Life with HomeKit: Our experiences with Apple’s home automation system
- Under the Radar: 10 ‘hidden’ details about the new Apple TV
- Instant Expert: Secrets & Features of iOS 9.0
- Under the Radar: A closer look at smaller iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus changes
- A First Look at iOS 9’s Transit in Apple Maps (Updated for watchOS 2)