Placing FaceTime calls with one e-mail address

Q: I have both an iMac and a fourth-generation iPod touch and now that there’s a FaceTime application for the Mac I want to be able to use FaceTime from my iPod touch when I’ma way from home to say goodnight to the kids. However I only have one iTunes account and one e-mail address. How do I setup FaceTime so I can call from my iPod touch to my iMac?

– Ross

A: FaceTime on the iPod touch and the Mac use the e-mail address as a sort of phone number to place calls between devices.

If you configure the same e-mail address on more than one device any incoming calls will simultaneously ring on all of those devices, however you can’t place calls to an e-mail address that is already configured on the device you’re using—it’s basically the same idea as picking up your telephone and dialing your own phone number.

Note that the Apple ID that you use to sign into FaceTime is separate from the e-mail address that you are using to identify a particular FaceTime device. The Apple ID is used to authenticate you to FaceTime, whereas the e-mail address is used as your FaceTime “contact number.”

Although you can use the same Apple ID on multiple FaceTime devices, in order to place calls between them you will need a unique e-mail address for each device.

Note that FaceTime merely requires that an e-mail address be unique and verifiable, so you can use an alias for your existing e-mail address if your e-mail provider allows you to setup aliases rather than having to setup a whole new e-mail account somewhere. Alternatively, many e-mail providers also support a feature known as “plus addressing” where you can add any suffix you like to your name by preceding it with a plus sign—for example if your e-mail address was [email protected] you could also receive mail as [email protected], or [email protected], or just about anything else after the plus sign. If your e-mail provider supports this feature, it can be a useful way of assigning an alternate e-mail address for FaceTime, as the FaceTime network will see this as a unique e-mail address, you’ll still receive the FaceTime verification e-mail in your normal mailbox and you won’t have to set anything else up to make it work.