FaceTime is Apple’s video-chat program. It lets you make free video calls to other Macs, or to i-gadgets like iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches. (This assumes of course, that you and your conversation partner both have high-speed Internet connections. You also both need Macs with Mac OS 10.6.6 or later, and cameras, either built-in or external. And you need an Apple ID; see the box below. If this is your first time, enter your Apple ID and password on the right side of the window, and click Sign In.)
To make a video call, open FaceTime. It starts out looking a little weird—the panel that displays the actual video (you, at first) is tall and skinny, as though you’re using—what else?—an iPhone.
Now you have to choose someone to call. Ironically, this setup step usually begins with a more old-fashioned communication—a phone call or a text message, for example. (“Want to FaceTime now?”)
The panel on the right side of the window offers three tab buttons (at the bottom). Click Contacts to see everyone in your OS X address book. If there is nobody in your address book, click the button at upper right and enter the FaceTime contact information of your first calling buddy. If you’re calling an iPhone, the contact info should be a phone number. For any other machine, it’s an email address. Click Done when you’ve entered the information.