Video Chats

The state of the art in video calling, of course, is FaceTime (DVD Player).

But FaceTime requires that both you and your partner be on Apple computers. Messages, on the other hand, lets you conduct free video chats with up to four people who aren’t on Macs. They show up on three vertical panels, gorgeously reflected on a shiny, black table surface. If you’ve got the Mac muscle and bandwidth, your partners are as crisp, clear, bright, and smooth as television—and as big as your screen, if you like.

People can come and go; as they enter and leave the “videosphere,” Messages slides their glistening screens aside, enlarging or shrinking them as necessary to fit on your screen.

Everyone in a video chat has to be on the same service (iCloud, AIM, Yahoo, or Jabber), and everyone needs pretty high-horsepower computers and Internet connections.


For better audio quality during your video calls—both hearing and broadcasting—wear a headset. For example, you can pair a wireless Bluetooth headset with your Mac in Messages→Preferences→Audio/Video→Set Up Bluetooth Headset. This fires up the Mac’s Bluetooth Setup Assistant program to guide you through the process.

After you get your Bluetooth headset married to your Mac, then go to →System Preferences→Output and select your headset in the list.

Starting the Video Call

If you’re in an iMessage conversation, click Details, then click to begin ...

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