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Messages (Mountain Lion): Video chatting

Start a video chat in Messages

If you start a video chat with someone using iMessage, you start a video call in FaceTime, which is a separate app. For information about FaceTime video calls, see the following:

If you start a video chat with someone using AIM (including me.com and Mac.com), Jabber, Google Talk, or Bonjour, you’ll video chat in Messages.

Image of the Video Chat window. Click Effects to add background and video effects. Click Invite (+) to invite more people to video chat. Click Mute to mute the video chat. Click the two outward arrows button to expand to full screen.

You can video chat with up to three friends at a time who have the same account type. For example, you can video chat with AIM buddies, but you can’t invite Jabber buddies to that video chat. You can only participate in one video or audio chat at a time.

When someone joins a video chat but doesn’t have a camera, he or she is represented by his or her buddy picture and a sound level meter.

Start a video chat

To start a video chat with someone in a buddy list, click the video chat button next to that person’s name. To video chat with several people, Command (⌘)-click each name, and click the video chat button next to one of the names. If there is no video chat button next to someone’s name, you can’t video chat with him or her.

To start a video chat using the Messages window, do the following:

  1. Send a message to the person you want to video chat with. Send a group message if you want to video chat with several people.

    Keep the conversation going

  2. Click the Audio/Video chat button and then, depending on the account type of the person you’re chatting with, choose Video or FaceTime.

    For Video, Messages asks the people you’re chatting with if they want to video chat with you.

    For FaceTime, FaceTime opens and starts a video call.

Things to do while you video chat

While you’re video chatting, you can do the following:

Invite more people to video chat: Click Invite (+) in the video chat window, and then choose a buddy in the pop-up menu.

Anyone you add who doesn’t have a camera can participate using audio only.

Only the person who started the video chat can invite others.

Use backdrops and video effects: Click Effects, and then select a backdrop or effect.

If you select a backdrop, a message asks you to step out of the frame. After a moment, the new background appears, and you can step back in.

To add your own backdrop, click the arrows until you see frames labeled “User Backdrop,” and then drag a QuickTime movie or an image into one of the frames.

Send or share a file: Drag the file over the video chat window. For more information, see:

Share files, photo albums, and websites

Take a snapshot of the video chat: Choose Video > Take Snapshot.

Mute or unmute your side of the video chat: Click the Microphone button.

Pause or resume your side of the video chat: Choose Video > Pause Video.

Pausing a video chat also mutes it.

Stop the video chat: Close the video chat window.

When the person who starts the video chat closes the video chat window, the video chat ends. If a participant closes the window, the video chat continues as long as the host and at least one participant stays.

Join a video chat

When you’re invited to a video chat, a small window appears notifying you of who invited you.

Click the window.

It expands to show a preview of your camera, and the following options:

Accept: Accepts the invitation and starts the video chat.

Decline: Rejects the invitation. The video chat window closes, and the person who invited you is notified.

Text Reply: Rejects the invitation and opens the Messages window so you can send a message to the person who invited you.

Change how the video chat window looks

  • To toggle the video chat between normal and full-screen views, click the double arrow button.
  • To resize the video chat window, drag the window’s lower-right corner.
  • To resize the preview image, place your pointer over an inside corner of your preview image, and then drag.
Last Modified: Feb 18, 2013
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  • Last Modified: Feb 18, 2013
  • Article: PH12020
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