FaceTime With 911? How-To, and what to know!

With the various devices available on the market today, it isn’t always necessary to simply voice call those you want to get in contact with. But what if you need to get a hold of emergency services? Can you FaceTime with 911, or is a voice call your only option?

As a general rule, some dispatchers are able to communicate with callers via FaceTime, as long as the carrier supports it. However, this isn’t as widespread as texting 911 or making standard video calls. FaceTime calls will usually be received as voice calls by dispatchers. 

The ability to video call 911 can be helpful in many situations. But, it’s essential to know what the limitations are and what steps you should take before making the call. Keep reading to learn more about using FaceTime to contact 911.

Can You FaceTime With 911?

For iOS users that prefer FaceTime over conventional calling, you might be curious about how easy it is to FaceTime 911. 

Generally speaking, if the carrier supports it, some dispatchers can speak with callers via FaceTime. You can do this from a variety of iOS devices, including:

  • iPhone
  • iPod
  • iPad
  • Apple Watch

However, FaceTiming 911 depends on your carrier AND the capabilities of the dispatcher in your county. For the most part, though callers can use FaceTime to call 911, the call is usually received as a voice call without video. 

While it’s not recommended, you can also email 911. I wrote an extensive article about how to email 911, click the link to check it out.

Can 911 Receive Video Calls?

Since FaceTime is limited to Apple only products, can you video call 911 on non-Apple devices?

Many counties have begun implementing a video calling system that allows dispatchers to receive video calls. However, the way it is implemented varies from county to county. 

For example, one county in Georgia sends callers an SMS text link that allows the dispatcher to access the phone’s camera. 

Another county in Florida recently implemented a cloud call management tool through Carbyne that allows citizens to make video calls as well as allows the dispatcher to share the video with responding units. 

Can You FaceTime 911 with WiFi Calling?

If you’re an Apple user, chances are an iPhone isn’t the only product you own. You may be more inclined to use your Apple Watch when out and about, or maybe your older kids use the iPad when you aren’t home. You What if an emergency arises and one of these products is all you have on hand?

Luckily, you can still make calls to 911 with your other Apple products as long as WiFi Calling is enabled and your carrier supports it. This basically allows your iPhone to provide cellular service via a WiFi connection. 

Though you can make 911 calls, FaceTime calls will still be received as voice calls by the dispatcher. Also, you can’t make calls to 211, 311, 511, and 811 via WiFi Calling, as it is not supported. 

What Is The Benefit Of FaceTiming 911?

As a general rule, making a voice call is still the best option for reaching 911. 

However, there are some cases in which a video call could be beneficial:

  • More initial information can be gathered
  • Allows those who can’t communicate via voice to call for help
  • Helps first responders better read the situation
  • Gives first responders that ability to provide help before arrive on scene

Texting is also a feature that many counties are starting to implement that could provide the same benefits. Keep in mind, however, that video calls and text messaging capabilities are not available everywhere. So, it’s best to check with your local dispatcher to find out what your options are. 

Calling 911 is a scary situation, and being a 911 operator is a tough job. Check out the article I wrote on why 911 operators can be rude.

How To FaceTime With 911

To FaceTime 911, you would use the same method you would use for any other FaceTime call. 

First, you’ll need to make sure the FaceTime app is turned on and that you are signed in with your Apple ID. You can find this in the settings under FaceTime. If you are using an iPad or iPod, you may need to register with your email address to get started. 

To make a call, open the FaceTime app and enter the phone number. In this case, you would want to dial 911. Then, hit the phone symbol for audio only, or hit the green ‘FaceTime’ button for a video call. 

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of using FaceTime to call 911.

The ability to give first responders a visual of what’s going on when you call in can be appealing to many. However, not all dispatchers and counties have this capability just yet.

Still, you can always make a FaceTime call to 911, regardless of whether video is accepted. Just keep in mind that they are probably receiving it as a voice only call.