Following Apple’s release of the beta version of FaceTime video calling software for the Mac, a number of iLounge readers reported problems using their Macs to call certain iPhone 4 users, even when those iPhones were on Wi-Fi networks and capable of making outgoing FaceTime calls. After testing with iPhone 4, iPod touch, and Mac hardware, it turns out that a simple but pesky bug is to blame for the problem: the Mac FaceTime application’s handling of telephone numbers with periods, as in 212.555.1212 versus the more traditional use of dashes in 212-555-1212.
Unlike the iPod touch 4G and iPhone 4, which automatically translate your Contacts’ phone numbers in the 212.555.1212 format into 2125551212 for calling purposes, the beta Mac FaceTime software appears to improperly treat the periods as additional characters when trying to initiate calls, resulting in an instant statement by the FaceTime software that the person you’re trying to reach is not available. Yet the same person will remain reachable at the same number using a different FaceTime device such as an iPhone 4 or an iPod touch 4G, and will also be capable of calling you.
Until Apple updates the Mac FaceTime software to properly handle telephone numbers entered with periods as separators, use the Mac’s Address Book application to swap the periods in phone numbers for more conventional dashes, which FaceTime for the Mac handles without complaint. Calls that previously seemed impossible due to instant rejection will suddenly go through without complaint.