A Closer Look at the New FaceTime Features in macOS Ventura

FaceTime got some significant new features with the macOS Ventura update. You can use them to read live captions, switch FaceTime calls between more devices, and collaborate in other apps with screen sharing.

Here’s an overview of all the new FaceTime features in macOS Ventura, and how to start taking advantage of them.

Communicate Better With Live Captions

It’s hard to have a conversation if you can’t hear what people are saying. While it’s possible to reduce the background noise in FaceTime, that isn’t always powerful enough, which is where Live Captions come in.

Live Captions automatically transcribe what people are saying in a FaceTime and show up at the side of the screen. In group calls, Live Captions will even attribute dialogue to the respective speakers. You can also use Live Captions on devices running iOS 16 or iPadOS 16.

This is incredibly useful if you’re struggling to hear or understand what someone on a call is saying—you can just read the captions instead. Similarly, Live Captions allow you to carry out a FaceTime call even if you can’t use speakers or headphones at that time.

To use Live Captions, start a FaceTime call and open the Sidebar, then enable the Live Captions option. The first time you enable Live Captions, macOS will need to download them.

If you’re concerned about Live Captions appearing in screenshots—worry not! Apple has made it so that captions are removed from any screenshots people take of a FaceTime call, preventing your private conversations being shared with anyone else.

Use Handoff to Switch Between Devices

The updates to macOS Ventura and iOS 16 finally allow you to use Handoff with FaceTime. That means you can easily switch from your Mac to your iPhone, or vice versa, without ending a FaceTime call. It’s been possible to use Handoff on your Mac with other apps for a long time, so we’re happy to see Apple bring it to FaceTime.

Before you can use Handoff with FaceTime, you need to enable it by going to System Settings > General > AirDrop & Handoff. Then enable the option to Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices. Once it’s enabled, you can use Handoff to seamlessly transfer your FaceTime call between your iPhone, iPad, or Mac.

To switch, just look for the FaceTime icon on the device you want to move the call to. It should be at the top of the screen on an iPhone or iPad or in the menu bar on a Mac. When you click the FaceTime icon, you’ll see an option to Switch the call to that device.

Collaborate Across Multiple Apps Through FaceTime

With macOS Ventura, you can share the screen from various apps with people in your FaceTime call. This collaboration feature works with Finder, Keynote, Numbers, Pages, Notes, Reminders, Safari, and several third-party apps. This improved Share Screen feature allows you to share your entire Mac screen or a single app window, to help protect your privacy and keep the conversation focused.

To share your screen in FaceTime, simply start a call and click the Share Screen button. This is located at the bottom of the FaceTime window, between the End Call and Camera buttons. It looks like a person in front of a screen. Your collaborators will then be prompted to join the screen share, after which they’ll be able to view your Mac’s screen.

Alternatively, you can click the FaceTime icon in the menu bar, then choose Screen or Window. The Screen button will share your entire Mac screen, while the Window button will only share a particular app window.

Most importantly, if you’re already collaborating with someone on a document, you can easily start a FaceTime call with them from the toolbar. Just click the Collaboration button and choose Video to launch a FaceTime call with other collaborators.

A Superior FaceTime Experience

Whether you’re using Live Captions to better understand your friends, Handoff to take your calls on the go, or screen sharing to collaborate across a variety of apps, the experience with FaceTime in macOS Ventura is better than ever.

Even if you don’t find yourself using FaceTime very often, these new features are likely to come in handy on the few times you do use Apple’s video-calling app.

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