Problems activating FaceTime on iPad

Q: I have a new third-generation iPad and I’m trying to activate FaceTime on it. However, I don’t see a toggle on/off button in the FaceTime section in the Settings app. Instead it asks for my Apple ID and password, which it does not accept in either the FaceTime Settings or directly in the FaceTime app. Any ideas how
I can activate FaceTime?

– Emma

A: Unlike the iPhone, which can automatically register for FaceTime with nothing more than your cellular phone number, iPad and iPod touch devices both require an Apple ID in order to use FaceTime. As a result, the ON/OFF toggle for FaceTime only appears on these devices after you’ve activated FaceTime by signing in with your Apple ID.

However FaceTime requires an Apple ID that is an e-mail address, as opposed to the older, username-style Apple IDs that were previously used for things like iTunes Store accounts. Although Apple has been trying to encourage users to convert to the newer e-mail address usernames, it has not chosen to force the issue outright for anything other than newer services. As a result, many long-time iTunes users don’t encounter this issue until the first time they attempt to log into a newer service like FaceTime or iMessage.

If you’re still using a username as your Apple ID rather than your e-mail address, you can easily change it by going to http://appleid.apple.com. Changing your username to an e-mail address will not affect any existing content you have purchased or downloaded from iTunes with the Apple ID—only the login name changes, which is what you will need to use in the future with iTunes or any other Apple online services. Note that your actual iTunes purchases will probably still show your older username, rather than the new e-mail address, however this is entirely a cosmetic issue and does not affect your ability to use any protected content in your iTunes library.

Changing your username to an e-mail address is the recommended approach, as it is relatively transparent and will ensure compatibility with other Apple services going forward. If there is some reason you do not want to do this, however, you can just as easily sign up for a new Apple ID exclusively for FaceTime. Keep in mind, however, that a given e-mail address can only be associated with one Apple ID at a time, so if you’re already using your preferred FaceTime e-mail address on your original Apple ID, you will not be able to assign it to a new one without removing it from the original first.

For more information be sure to check out our Complete Guide to FaceTime: Set-up, Use, and Troubleshooting Problems.

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