Master Apple's video, audio, and text messaging tools!

Take Control of
FaceTime and Messages

Glenn Fleishman

Dig into FaceTime, Messages, and Phone from the basics through the most advanced and interesting features available, including screen sharing, group calls, and sending rich messages in Take Control of FaceTime and Messages. This comprehensive book will answer every question, and reveal useful features you never knew existed.

All Take Control books are delivered in two ebook formats—PDF and EPUB—and can be read on nearly any device.


FaceTime, Messages, and Phone form the core of Apple’s video, texting, and calling tools for owners of iPhones, iPads, Macs, and Apple Watches. As FaceTime and Messages have expanded features, they’ve become more complicated to master and use exactly the way you want. How they interact with the phone network and the Phone app can be a blurry line, too. In this book, Glenn Fleishman lays out your options to best understand, use, and customize FaceTime and Messages for your needs and conversations. Start by mastering (or reviewing) the basics of each app, then move into group calls and texts, using rich media, maintaining your privacy, and adding whimsy to conversations. Covers iOS, iPadOS, macOS, and watchOS.

The book covers all three apps (and the many ways they interact) extensively, showing you:

  • How to master the basics of the FaceTime, Messages, and Phone apps
  • Essential settings and preferences for these apps, including how to pick your primary address or phone number and manage location sharing, and maintain your privacy
  • Ways to share your screen (or let someone share theirs with you) in both FaceTime and Messages, and when to use which
  • How to insert the text of a sign or other printed material in a message, or even dial a phone number by pointing your iPhone at a printed number
  • How to have fun and get creative with Memoji, Message Effects, Camera Effects, stickers, and hashtag images
  • How Apple secures live audio, video, and texting
  • Strategies and tools to identify and block unwanted phone calls and messages

You’ll learn about FaceTime capabilities such as:

  • How to use FaceTime for audio or video calls with one person or a group of up to 32 people
  • Why you might want to use a FaceTime Link, and how it can extend FaceTime to Windows and Android users
  • How to work with audio input and output devices in FaceTime
  • How to use enhanced audio (Mic Mode) and video (Portrait Mode) effects in FaceTime calls on supported devices
  • How to use the Eye Contact feature on iPhones and iPads, which simulates eye-to-eye contact even when you’re not looking at the camera
  • How to use SharePlay, which lets parties carry on a FaceTime conversation while enjoying synchronized video, audio, or screen sharing (and even how to transfer SharePlay to an Apple TV)
  • How to convert a FaceTime audio call to a video call

Find out things you never knew about Messages, including:

  • Why some conversations in Messages use iMessage (blue bubbles for individuals, gray bubbles for businesses) while others use SMS/MMS (green bubbles), and the differences between them
  • All about advanced Messages features, such as nested replies and person-to-person Apple Pay
  • Why Messages isn’t just for text, but also for audio messages, Digital Touch effects, animations, and more
  • Ways to keep track of shared links and media across apps with Shared for You
  • The privacy tradeoffs of Messages in iCloud
  • Simple ways to create events and reminders from Messages conversations
  • What to do when group chats get out of control—managing notifications, using mentions, and understanding the differences between SMS and MMS chats

Make better use of the Phone app:

  • How to make phone calls (including emergency calls) from your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple Watch
  • What the “verified” label on incoming phone calls means
Glenn Fleishman

About Glenn Fleishman

Glenn Fleishman is a veteran technology writer who has contributed to dozens of publications across his career, including Macworld, Fast Company, and Increment. He has also written dozens of editions of books in the Take Control series. He spent 2019 and 2020 building 100 tiny type museums full of real printing artifacts. Glenn lives in Seattle with his wife and two children.

What’s New in Version 1.3

In early December 2022, Apple announced two significant encryption improvements relevant to iMessage users:

  • With an option to enable end-to-end encryption for most kinds of data in iCloud, including iCloud backups, Apple closed a security loophole for Messages in iCloud. See “Messages in iCloud Has a Security Choice.” This feature appeared in operating system updates on Dec. 13, 2022, for U.S. users.
  • iMessage Contact Key Verification provides an out-of-band method to ensure that in extraordinary cases the person on the other end of a secured iMessage conversation is really who they say they are. See “How Apple Secures Messages and FaceTime.” This feature is not yet available, but expected in early 2023.

What Was New in Version 1.2

This latest version included final changes required for the production release of iPadOS 16.1 and macOS 13 Ventura; both shipped at the end of October 2022. (Apple shipped iPadOS 16.1 as the first release of this major version, never releasing 16.0, widely understood to be due to finishing integration of the new Stage Manager in iPadOS.)

This version made minor changes throughout to incorporate last-minute changes and make it clear the versions are now out.

I also updated parts of “FaceTime Basics” to incorporate the new Desk View feature in iOS 16 and Ventura which can be used in FaceTime. See “Desk View” for details.

What Was New in Version 1.1

This version was updated to include features in iOS 16, iPadOS 16.1, and macOS 13 Ventura. It was written after iOS 16 shipped and before Ventura, expected in October 2022. I wrote this update using betas of iPadOS and macOS. I’ll update the book as required with the production releases.

Note: Apple said they would delay shipping iPadOS 16 to after iOS 16, which appeared on September 12, 2022. Instead, iPadOS 16.1 will be the first post-iPadOS 15 version, appearing in October with iOS 16.1. This is widely understood to be due to finishing integration of the new Stage Manager in iPadOS.

Changes in this version related to Apple’s operating system updates include:

  • Continuity Camera: I added an explanation of where you can select an iPhone XR or later running iOS 16 with a Mac running Ventura to use the iPhone as a camera in “Configure A/V for FaceTime on a Mac or Browser.”
  • New Video Effects modes in Ventura: When using an iPhone as a camera, you gain access to Studio Light as a video effect. See “Studio Light.”
  • Edit iMessages: Apple added the capability to edit iMessages up to 15 minutes after you initially send them. See “Edit or Unsend Your Message.”
  • Unsend iMessages: You can also “unsend” iMessages within two minutes of sending, effectively deleting them from other recipients’ devices—with some provisos. See “Edit or Unsend Your Message.”
  • Mark a conversation as unread: Before the latest releases, viewing a conversation marked it as read, removing the badging from Messages and its icon on the Home screen in iOS/iPadOS and Dock in macOS. You can now mark a conversation as unread. See “Act Within a Conversation.”
  • Recover deleted messages: Message you delete from your side of a conversation (not unsend, a feature that affects you and recipients) now get deposited into a Recently Deleted section of Messages for about 30 days. You can delete these immediately or restore them from that special spot. See “Recover Deleted Messages.”
  • Collaboration: Some of Apple’s apps and third-party apps that build on top of Apple’s interface can send invitations to collaborate via Messages and FaceTime, and push updates to Messages conversations. In a group message, every participant automatically gains access to the collaborative item. See “Collaborate.”
  • Ventura’s switch to “settings”: Ventura swaps System Preferences for System Settings, aligning it with iOS/iPadOS, and changed the App Name > Preferences menu to App Name > Settings. I’ve added additional wayfinding information throughout the book, particularly when Ventura has relocated a setting from Monterey and earlier releases. For Messages, FaceTime, and other macOS apps, I updated Preferences to Preferences/Settings for simplicity.
  • Read Me First
    • Covered Operating Systems
    • Updates and More
    • What’s New in Version 1.3
    • What Was New in Version 1.2
    • What Was New in Version 1.1
  • Introduction
  • Quick Start
  • Pick the Right App
    • Top Picks by Participant Knowledge
    • Recommendation by Conversation
  • Learn Common App Features
    • Connected Emails and Phone Numbers
    • Handle Incoming Calls
  • FaceTime Basics
    • How You Make a FaceTime Call
    • Configure FaceTime Audio/Video Options
    • Choose Whom to Call Via FaceTime
    • Conduct a FaceTime Call
    • Receive a FaceTime Call
    • Actions You Can Take During a Call
    • End a FaceTime Call
    • Disable FaceTime
  • Messages Basics
    • Send a Message
    • Receive and Reply to Messages
    • Manage Notifications
  • Phone Basics
    • Learn Phone Basics
    • Work with Voicemail
    • Connect a Phone Number with Devices
  • Conference with Others
    • Set Up FaceTime with 3+ People
    • Connect on FaceTime with a Link
    • Chat with Groups in Messages
    • Use Phone for Conference Calling
  • Capture Live Photos, Audio, and Video
    • Capture a Live Photo in FaceTime
    • Record a FaceTime Call
    • Record a Phone Call
  • Share Stuff
    • Explore What’s Shared with You
    • Stream Together with SharePlay
    • Share Location in Messages
    • Share a Screen
    • Collaborate
  • Extend Messages
    • Use Apple Cash for Personal Payments
    • Send with Extra Effect in Messages
    • Pick Apps to Enhance Messages
  • Get Playful
    • Camera Effects
    • Memoji
    • Stickers
    • Hashtag Images
  • Block Bozos and Spam
    • Block Incoming Parties
    • Reduce Unwanted Contact
  • Understand Privacy and Security
    • How Apple Secures Messages and FaceTime
    • Keep Alert About Information Leakage
    • Check for Verified Calls
    • Messages in iCloud Has a Security Choice
  • About This Book
    • Ebook Extras
    • About the Author
    • About the Publisher
  • Copyright and Fine Print


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