Apple has long used FaceTime as a way to rope people into its ecosystem, but you won’t need an iPhone, iPad, or Mac to participate in every conversation. The company used its WWDC 2021 keynote to reveal that Android and Windows users will soon get to join FaceTime audio and video calls through a web browser.
The company didn’t outline exactly how FaceTime on Android or Windows would work, but iOS 15 users could share web links to invite others to conversations. You’d get a similar visual layout, complete with floating squares with everyone involved in a video chat.
Read more: The best alternatives to FaceTime on Android
On top of adding this partial Android and Windows support, Apple is also giving iOS 15’s FaceTime users a slew of functional upgrades that include spatial audio, background noise reduction, an easier-to-parse grid view, a portrait video mode and shared media watching experiences through Shareplay. iOS 15 is expected to arrive this fall.
In a sense, Apple is coming full circle. Steve Jobs claimed that FaceTime would be an open standard when he introduced it in 2010, but the company never followed through — he reportedly caught others at Apple by surprise. While this isn’t true openness, it’s much closer to Jobs’ original plan.
This approach to FaceTime might not thrill Android and Windows users who might have hoped for native apps that can start conversations. However, it dramatically expands the audience for FaceTime and ensures that you won’t be left out of conversations. It also helps address allegations that Apple artificially limits features to its devices to fuel more hardware sales. That could help it avoid antitrust complaints, of course, but it’s also good news for those who don’t want to alienate friends and family when they switch platforms — whether it’s Android or iOS.