Should you use FaceTime in portrait or landscape?

FaceTime on iPad
FaceTime on iPad (Image credit: iMore)

If you're someone who uses FaceTime frequently, someone who's obsessed with seeing their Memoji, or someone who occasionally uses the feature to connect with friends and family to check-in, knowing the best etiquette for angling your FaceTime conversation is critical. While some people may argue that all video on an iPhone or iPad should be shot in a landscape/horizontal way so users can get the best use of the space & width of their screen, FaceTiming actually works a wee bit better if you're in portrait orientation.


With the way FaceTime is set up on your screen, whether on your iPhone, iPad, or MacBook, you should be able to see that not only is the window you're having your conversation in portrait orientation, but the entire FaceTime window is in portrait too.

This makes sense because when you're FaceTiming on your iPhone, the natural way you hold your phone is in portrait orientation; very rarely are people constantly texting, Instagramming, and interacting on their iPhone or iPad in landscape. Using FaceTime in portrait mode just feels more natural to most people.

But my DSLR/point-and-shoot camera is landscape/horizontal, so wouldn't that actually feel more natural?

If you were FaceTiming with your DSLR, then yes! But FaceTiming on your iPhone is a different story.

Because we hold our iPhone's upright, it just makes sense to FaceTime at this angle. After all, FaceTiming should look casual and simple with just the quick tap of a button from writing a text, not like you're fumbling to angle up & match the perfect shot like you would while shooting a photo.

Can I FaceTime in landscape mode?

Of course! You can do whatever you want! But it's important to note that the way your screen is set up, and the way you see your FaceTiming partner/they see you, is all set to function best and fit appropriately in portrait mode.

What's so bad about FaceTiming in landscape mode?

While landscape mode can be great for shooting video, selfies, photos, and so, so much more, FaceTime falls a bit flat when it comes to shooting landscape.

Why? When you're FaceTiming with someone and switch to landscape mode, they don't actually see that switch: you still appear to them on their screen in a portrait-style vertical box in the corner of their screen.

When you tilt your iPhone, the box doesn't tilt with you; it stays in portrait mode. Meanwhile, suddenly, your image is closer to the camera; it's a bit more awkward to FaceTime with someone, and getting the perfect angle becomes a bit of a chore.

How do you FaceTime?

Are you a big fan of having your FaceTime conversations in portrait mode? Or are you a true-to-heart landscape mode FaceTime-ilist?

Let us know how you've mastered FaceTime in the comments below!

Updated May 2020: Up-to-date for current versions of macOS and iOS.

Cella Lao Rousseau

Cella writes for iMore on social and photography. She's a true crime enthusiast, bestselling horror author, lipstick collector, buzzkill, and Sicilian. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @hellorousseau