Automatically Accept FaceTime Calls in Mac OS X

Jan 17, 2011 - 18 Comments

auto accept facetime calls

FaceTime is the video chat protocol available to Mac users in OS X as well as iOS for iPhone and iPad, and it works great to beam images from one camera to another device over the internet. One lesser known feature that is hidden from the general usage of the Mac FaceTime app however is the ability to set FaceTime to automatically accept FaceTime calls from a specific contact, which is what we’re going to cover here.

To be clear, this won’t accept all incoming FaceTime calls automatically, instead you set FaceTime to automatically accept incoming FaceTime calls from an approved phone number or email address of a set contact. In order for this to work, you’ll need to have FaceTime working for Mac, which comes preinstalled on all modern Macs but can be obtained on older versions of OS X if necessary. The rest of the process is handled through the Terminal and the defaults command as detailed below:

How to Automatically Accept FaceTime Calls from Specific Contacts in Mac OS X

You can set FaceTime to accept an incoming call either by email address or by phone number, or both if you want to set them separately.

Auto-accept FaceTime calls from a specified email:

defaults write AutoAcceptInvitesFrom -array-add

Auto-accept FaceTime calls from a specified phone number:

defaults write AutoAcceptInvitesFrom -array-add +14085551212

Make sure the string is all contained in one command on one line.

You can add as many pre-screened email addresses and phone numbers that you’d like to automatically receive and accept FaceTime calls from (Obviously this only works in Mac OS X), and it will work with both the FaceTime Video and FaceTime Audio communication methods.

Removing Contacts from Auto-Accepted FaceTime Calls

To remove the ability to automatically accept Facetime calls use the following defaults string:

defaults delete AutoAcceptInvites

This is a neat trick that I was trying to figure out how to do on my own, since it allows you to use a FaceTime computer in a set location as a remote web cam of sorts, when I stumbled on a post from a computer repair company amusingly named CornDog Computers which discovered the defaults strings. Apparently they were writing an application that would automatically answer calls when they discovered you can do it manually through the defaults command, which is what we detailed above.

This appears to work in all modern versions of OS X that support FaceTime, give it a try and let us know in the comments if you have any findings for OS X or otherwise.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks


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  1. Michael says:

    It would be great if you could do this on the iPhone too

  2. Mark says:

    Oh ya, this is a REAL good idea. If I happen to be standing in from of my Mac in my altogether, I certainly want my aunt Lizzie’s FaceTime call to go right through. (rolls eyes)

  3. John says:

    I tried this but after the it automatically accepted the call, the ringing wouldn’t stop. Anyone else experience this? I also just realized I tried this without knowing how to remove someone :\

  4. Greg says:

    @ John …., same here. Ringing doesn’t stop. I also would like to know – just in case – how to UNDO this.

  5. Jason says:

    Same here it doesn’t stop ringing.

  6. […] could take this tip a step further and combine it with setting your Mac to automatically answer FaceTime calls from specified emails and numbers. David saw this tip on TUAW’s tips sidebar and sent it in, […]

  7. willowhaus says:

    This did not work for me (10.7) until I also ran the following:

    defaults write AutoAcceptInvites -bool YES

    Then calls from the address previously added were auto-accepted.

  8. […] Terminal found in /Applications/Utilities/ and enter the following command to automatically accept incoming FaceTime […]

  9. Walid says:

    I tried but IT was Always accupied!!!! Thé FaceTime start then it pass To Occupied. Is Thérèse someone who CAN help me??? Thanks

  10. Francisco says:

    This no longer works on Mountain Lion (10.8.x).

    “AutoAcceptInvites” still works, but “AutoAcceptInvitesFrom” is ignored, so all calls are accepted and there is no access control.

  11. jay says:

    I entered the code and it says is not an array;cannot append? help

  12. Shal says:

    How do you undo this? Anybody?

  13. L says:

    To remove:
    Probably something like this:

    defaults delete AutoAcceptInvitesFrom

  14. L says:

    You know what?
    defaults delete AutoAcceptInvitesFrom
    defaults delete AutoAcceptInvites
    seem to work, but they actually don’t!

    What I had to do was this:
    defaults write AutoAcceptInvites -bool NO

  15. L says:

    Alright, here are the steps to UNDO everything:

    1) defaults write AutoAcceptInvites -bool NO

    [restarted my computer after this – don’t know if that’s necessary or not]

    2) defaults delete AutoAcceptInvitesFrom

    3) defaults delete AutoAcceptInvites

    Everthing back to normal :-)

  16. Ron Jon says:

    I did this but it doesn’t seem to work for me. I wrote: write AutoAcceptInvitesFrom -array-add […] but it didn’t do anything for me. I’ve tried entering the email and the phone numbers but still nothing works. I was wondering if someone would help me out here?

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