Apple

iOS 6 users no longer able to use FaceTime, iOS 7 upgrade required

Apple's FaceTime video chat service no longer works on iOS 6 devices because of an expired security certificate. Apple is requiring users update to iOS 7 to continue using it.

FaceTime with iOS 7

Beginning on April 16, some iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch owners running Apple's last-generation mobile operating system, iOS 6, found themselves unable to make FaceTime video calls. Originally, it appeared to be a routine system outage that could be quickly resolved, but it appears that Apple has no plans to fix the issue and, instead, is encouraging users to upgrade to iOS 7 -- a free software update -- to continue making FaceTime calls.

The main problem is that iOS 7 makes significant changes to the user interface, and many users, particularly the less savvy kind, simply prefer to stay with the older operating system.

It also affects users who prefer to jailbreak their devices -- basically a hack that allows iOS owners to customize their phones in a variety of ways not normally allowed by Apple. The latest version of iOS 7 is not jailbreakable, and some users simply prefer to stick with the tried-and-true operating system that they're familiar with.

"I jailbroke my iOS 6 device because it gives me the ability to tether my device, something my carrier doesn't support under the standard iOS operating system." said Nolan Adams, an IT professional with a hospital system in California. "It gives me additional customization options that I wouldn't have otherwise. I've also had poor experiences with battery life on other iOS 7 devices."

According to Apple, FaceTime on older devices no longer works because of a "device certificate that expired" on April 16. The company says updating "to the latest software will resolve the issue."

The bug also affected users on older versions of OS X, but Apple choose to issue updates to FaceTime that didn't require those users to actually upgrade their entire operating systems. This means that Apple likely could update FaceTime for iOS 6 users but is choosing not to, most likely to encourage upgrades to iOS 7.

Earlier this month, Apple said 87% of iOS users are running iOS 7, with just 11% using iOS 6. The company frequently touts the large number of users that are on the latest version of its operating system, a significant contrast to Android, which only has 5.3% of users on Version 4.4 or KitKat, the latest version of Google's mobile operating system.

There are only a handful of devices that are capable of making FaceTime video calls but are unable to upgrade to iOS 7, including the fourth-generation iPod Touch, which received a separate software update to re-enable FaceTime calls.

Though there are alternatives to FaceTime, including Microsoft's Skype, Adams says he prefers FaceTime for ease of use, particularly for the less tech-savvy family members that he talks to with the service.

"I spend five days a week away from my family, so I use FaceTime daily to keep in touch," Adams says. "I'll just upgrade my iPad to iOS 7 and use that for video calls."

"It's disappointing that Apple choose not to continue FaceTime support for iOS 6, but that's their prerogative," he concluded. Do you agree? Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.

About

Jordan Golson is an Apple Columnist for TechRepublic. He also writes about technology and automobiles for WIRED and MacRumors. He has worked for Apple Retail twice and has been writing about technology since 2007.

23 comments
buddyfry5
buddyfry5

Considering the damn update is 3.8 gb and the iPhone 4 is the smallest storage anyway.... I have 1.1 avaliable (5.1 used).  Im stuck choosing between FaceTime or many other apps I use every day.  Looks like I'm staying in the past and being one of those 11% or fewer by now.  Screw giving up half my memory just to slow the phone and use FaceTime.

mcoventry
mcoventry

This story has been the tipping point for me.  As an iPhone & iPad user in need of a new phone, that phone will be Android now.  Way to go Apple, another loyal customer now gone forever.

Rann Xeroxx
Rann Xeroxx

Funny how this is coming on the heels that iPad sales are soft.  Not enough people upgrading their old iPads because... there is nothing wrong with them.  So now Apple is ensuring that something is wrong with them.

john
john

What's unforgivable is the way Apple do this from their ivory tower with no warning or announcement. How  many frustrating man hours were wasted rebooting routers and restarting iPhones etc etc trying to figure out what was wrong.  And it really makes me wonder who owns this £500 device when I have so little control over it.

micheri
micheri

No apple sold the product with FaceTime...n it has no right to stop the support n force buyers to upgrade for continued use...sorry I m going for android...bye bye u r already loosing to Samsung n other android phones... Don't lose the mainstream as well

jdtool
jdtool

IOS7 has added many great features but the Flat look of IOS7 is just not at intuitive as IOS6. Its hard to tell where certain buttons are or whether the keyboard shift key is active or not, etc.  In IOS6 it was a no brainer. 

All of the UI looks set aside though, my biggest problem is that they left much functionality out of IOS7 that was in IOS6.  We used to use IOS devices as educational tools.  We could watch Video Podcasts stored on a PC from any IOS Device using HomeSharing but now we cannot. The Music App also had a nice Chapters list we could use to choose a certain Chapter when listening to Educational AudioBooks.  Now it does not.

If Apple is forcing everyone to upgrade, they need to put all the tools back in IOS they removed.  We have spent thousands of dollars for devices which now don't work for what we bought them for.

edgespeeder04
edgespeeder04

The ios7 colors are horrible on the eyes even after reducing the brightness....thanks Apple. I was a big fan of your products until this. All my other products are Apple but now it looks like I have to switch to Samsung unless a new update comes out where we can adjust the colors. The phone has too much white to it (i.e. the message and email areas). 

Fyrewerx
Fyrewerx

I would be happy to upgrade my iPod Touch, 4th Gen. to iOS 7.  However, Apple says I CANNOT do that!

Way to go Apple!

aureolin
aureolin

Can you imagine the uproar if Microsoft did something like this?

Bh72bh72
Bh72bh72

This is ridiculous. I have consciously chosen not to update my iOS and now apple has something in the old iOS "expire"!? Well, they should just renew whatever expired without requiring me to use iOS 7, which I have on 1 device and think its horrible.

And then touting a huge percentage of people are on the latest iOS?! Well, yeh, if you disable the old iOS and people don't have a choice. Jerks!

jqbecker
jqbecker

OK all you people who are whining about Microsoft making you upgrade off WinXP, this is why Apple is worse. WinXP is 13 years old. iOS6 is how old... what? 2 years?.


Chill2u
Chill2u

I agree. IF Apple wants to keep their edge they really need to stop pretending to be an Android and be an Iphone. We don't like the childish looking new icons and if we wanted an Android we certainly would be happy to pay less for it. Apple needs to offer options and stick with what distinguishes them from the others smartphone companies, sure offer dual options with a new IOS (or IOS . 7.1.2 or something ) if they feel the need to chase Android otherwise stop trying to force this new crap on everyone. Yes I said Crap! As expensive as IPhones are they should darn well look and perform like an Iphone not a cheap Android. Manup Apple, you can do better!

Popalock
Popalock

Outrageous. They are doing this because they know older devices will struggle to perform on iOS 7 and thus by upgrading they are going to strongly force users into buying a newer device.

As soon as competitor devices have same/better video calling quality as Facetime I'm ditching Apple

Lynx55
Lynx55

@mcoventry  lol, man, yeah, go and try Android. I think we'll see you running back and screaming "aw mai gawd" when your last year super-duper flagman phone wont receive update from 4.4 to 4.41 because of... well, just because of. And you also may want to try Microsoft, who dropped legacy of their mobile OS. Twice. In four years. So I wish you good luck.

SaeedZam
SaeedZam

@Rann Xeroxx  @Rann Xeroxx  would be great conspiracy  -- but in this case, they are asking to update the software, which is available free.  They are not asking you to go buy newer device. Furthermore, if your device is old and does not support latest version of iOS7, you can update it to 6.1.6 to fix the issue.  So they are not telling those guys to throw away the device and buy a new one either.

Rann Xeroxx
Rann Xeroxx

@micheri  Its OK to stay with Apple but stay away from their proprietary protocols.  Even things like AirPort and iBeacon are these islands of proprietary tech that you simply have no control over at the whims of Apple and their blackbox decision making.  

SaeedZam
SaeedZam

@jdtool  Maybe I am an old geezer (I am in my 30s), but I am not too crazy about the flat look that Apple (and others) are going for either.  I agree that you that iOS6 (and earlier) was a bit more intuitive.

SaeedZam
SaeedZam

@Fyrewerx  You can upgrade it to 6.1.6 to fix the FaceTime issue. (article should really mention that)

Goooz
Goooz

Only iPod touch 4th generation and iPhone 3GS can be updated to 6.1.6 because by default these devices can not even be updated to iOS 7. What about iPhone 4, 4s, iPad 2,3,4 and iPad mini users running iOS 6.1.3 or earlier and iPhone 5 users running iOS 6.1.4 or earlier? These devices can not be updated to iOS 6.1.6 and this is exactly what Apple wants. If they can renew some expired certificate for iOS 6.1.6, they can do it for other versions of iOS 6 as well, but they are not! This is the part they are not telling you so you are forced to update to iOS 7. If you fall in this category (millions of you out there) Apple has basically given you the middle finger corporate style. Not only they didn't notify users, they want you to believe that some expired certificate was a cause of all this. At this point it is pretty obvious that this was done on purpose to force users to update those devices than can still be updated. This is what Apple does best, forcing us like a bunch of iSheeps to do whatever they want!! If Microsoft did something like this, it would have made national news by now, ending with Microsoft apologizing and doing what is right. It took them almost 12 years before dropping support for Windows XP, whereas Apple wants to drop support of some key features for an operating systems that is not even 2 years old.

By the way Apple keeps deleting iOS 6 users' posts who complain or ask for explanation on their support forum. They are doing everything possible to kill this discussion.

Kevin Morley
Kevin Morley

It might be "free" but it's not really because it comes at a large storage capacity hit. Surely it's not beyond apull to rewrite the OS pertinent to the device. Why should I run a system for iPhone 5 on 4s extra M$ type bloat with no gain. That as well as interface is a reason people don't change