11 Replies Latest reply: Jan 29, 2014 8:19 PM by enzso
-trvsmrtn- Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
I have the iPhone 4. I deployed to the ME and had a mil suspension put on my account. For the first week here, I was able to use FT to talk to my wife back in the states. Anyway, I tried to call my wife 2 days ago and she said that she was hitting answer, but we weren't connecting. She tried to call me back and I didn't get anything. I tried turning my phone off and on, but that didn't help. I then turned FT off then back on, which apparently was a huge mistake because now FT wanted to activate again and since my cell service was suspended, I couldn't activate. I called Apple and the girl tried to tell me that each time you make a FT call, the phone sends an SMS to initiate. This can't be right because my phone was in airplane mode for that week that it worked. I activated my acc to reactivate FT. Anyone know for sure how often FT sends an SMS to work?

PC, it works
  • -trvsmrtn- Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Ultimately I'm wondering if the reason my wife and I weren't able to connect is because of poor connection or because of the need to send SMS so that I'll know if I can put my wireless service back on military suspension. For those that are curious, depsite the crappy internet here, Facetime works almost perfectly. Blows Skype video chat out of the water.
  • johninsj Level 1 Level 1 (70 points)
    It was a poor connection/firewalling. Once provisioned, Facetime works fine via Wifi.
  • -trvsmrtn- Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I agree, it works fine. The day it wouldn't work, I made numerous calls to my wife throughout the day. Come to find out, they were going through, but when she tried to answer, facetime between the 2 phones just wouldn't connect. It would be nice to know for sure exactly how it works. The people at AT&T and Apple that I've spoken to seem clueless themselves.
  • johninsj Level 1 Level 1 (70 points)
    When you activate Facetime, depending on the carrier (in the UK they use SMS, for example, while in the US/AT&T it seems they use some other back channel that is more invisible) Facetime registers your phone number as stored in the phone with the Apple servers that implement face time.

    When your phone is on and connected to wifi, and facetime is enabled, the facetime app registers for push notifications from that apple server. If someone "calls" you on facetime, they are really connecting to that server, which looks up your phone number, and then sees if your phone is registered as currently on/available, and if so sends a push notification. All that communication is done via wifi/internet not GSM or SMS, and of course the above description is greatly simplified, but in a nutshell that's what happens. It will work in airplane mode, as long as you are on wifi and have already registered, so NO cell connection is used or needed.

    If you change your number, for example, you need to turn off facetime, reboot the phone, and then turn on facetime again. That does the whole "register this phone number with the Apple server" step over. Otherwise, your facetime won't receive calls, and calls you make will show the old number
  • Feefer Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    So just to follow up, the pop-up dialogue that says "caller would like to FaceTime" that allows the recipient to accept or decline the call basically IS an SMS that opens within the FT app, but it transmits via wi-fi, only.

    Hence it won't use AT&T data lines (3G or EDGE) to initiate a FT call (or to receive a FT request), and thus you WON'T be charged from your SMS monthly allotment (if you don't have unlimited messaging plan).

    BTW, Airplane Mode disables ALL radios on the iPhone (i.e. the GSM radio used for voice, as well as the data radio, whether you're using wi-fi or 3G). Therefore, you cannot initiate or accept a FT call when you're in Airplane Mode (which makes sense, of course: the whole point of Airplane Mode is to disable ALL reception/transmission of radio signals).

    In the case Airplane Mode is enabled and a caller attempts to initiate FT with the iPhone, the initiator will receive the "caller is not available for FT" error message after a minute or so (i.e. call failure is not instant). This is identical to what happens when the iPhone is out of wi-fi range, or when wi-fi is disabled (but 3G is on), or iPhone is turned off. When the recipient turns the phone back on, etc, they'll have a pop-up message notifying them of a missed FT call.
  • -trvsmrtn- Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Okay, so since my iPhone has activated Facetime again, I should be able to suspend my wireless service again and continue using Facetime. Maybe the day that it stopped working there was indeed a crappy connection or maybe the Facetime server was down. Hopefully that's right. Thanks for clarifying.
  • johninsj Level 1 Level 1 (70 points)
    You can turn wifi on after you enable airplane mode. Sorry for the confusion, I meant that facetime works in this mode, obviously.

    "the call basically IS an SMS that opens within the FT app, but it transmits via wi-fi, only" - that's a more confused way of saying FT registers for Notification
  • mizie ahmad Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    hi, i have tried to connect to facetime. before this i'm using other sim card from different service provider and it works well. but when i change to my primary number from different service provider, it just state "waiting for activation" for ages. is there any restriction on some service provider who cannot get into FaceTime server? FYI, i'm from malaysia and my country don't block FaceTime.

    Thanks
  • -trvsmrtn- Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Well, FT refused to work again yesterday. It rings on my wife's end, but it won't connect when she tries to answer. When she calls me back, it doesn't ring at all. I was going to take the phone out of airplane mode and see if it wanted to send an SMS to connect, but apparently AT&T decided to suspend my wireless again without me telling them to. Before I go through the agony of dealing with those clowns again, I'll wait for my wife to get up and try again today and we'll see if it works. Maybe the internet connection was too crappy or maybe the FT network was down, or maybe it actually does require the ability to send an SMS. This time I did not turn off my FT though, so it's still activated.
  • JTizzle12 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi, I know this is an older post, but my boyfriend and I are having the same issue.  He is deployed to Japan and it was working fine for 2 months, then stopped.  He turned FT off, and is having the same issue re-connecting.  Is the only way to get FT back to re-activate his Verizon account?  Or is there another way?  Thank you so much! (Yes, FT works infinitely better than Skype)

  • enzso Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Very old thread but having the same issue.  FT on my wife's iPad working fine in home country.  She goes to New Zealand, connects to wifi network and FT rings but she can't answer/connect.  Anyone have a solution?