Automatically Accept FaceTime Calls in Mac OS X

Jan 17, 2011 - 25 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.


Related articles:

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


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  1. oldmachead says:


    My 101-year old Mum gets FT calls and I have to be there to Accept each call.

    Until I discovered this solution. Brilliant!

    I’ve tested it with my phone and it connected to her computer exactly as I wanted it …

    If only I could figure out how to maximise the FaceTime app as it opens in a minimized mode.

    Still, the auto-connect problem has been solved. Thank you very much.

  2. Patrick says:

    Thank you very much. This is a great way to setup a thermometer in front of your computer to know what your house temperature is while you are gone. Thank you!

  3. Ken says:

    I tried everything on top it doesnโ€™t accept it and also i tried the -bool YES it was just ringing

  4. 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?

  5. 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 :-)

  6. 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

  7. L says:

    To remove:
    Probably something like this:

    defaults delete AutoAcceptInvitesFrom

  8. Shal says:

    How do you undo this? Anybody?

  9. jay says:

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

  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. Walid says:

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

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

  13. 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.

  14. […] 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, […]

  15. Jason says:

    Same here it doesn’t stop ringing.

  16. Greg says:

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

  17. 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 :\

  18. 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)

  19. Michael says:

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

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