Disable Group FaceTime Resizing Windows

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Apple constantly spoils its users with update after update, making sure their needs are taken care of and its apps are as convenient as possible to use. As with the video conferencing platform Zoom, Apple recently updated Facetime to include automated screen adjustments to make video conferencing more manageable. Now, with Facetime, when you are on call with several people, the app resizes the window of whoever is speaking, making it bigger.

This feature predicts your needs by assuming you want to focus on whoever is speaking. In practice, this feature is not as neat as it sounds. When there is a back and forth conversation the windows keep resizing and bouncing about. This makes it very hard to concentrate and it becomes more of an inconvenience. Due to the many complaints that accompanied this feature, the latest Apple OS has come with an option to turn this feature off.  This is available on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Disable Group FaceTime Resizing Windows on a Mac

Because of the size of iOS device screens, most people make Facetime conference calls using their laptops for a better visual. But with a bigger screen, comes a bigger annoyance. There are two ways to turn off automatic window resizing on your Mac.

  1. Log into your Facetime app.
  2. On the menu bar, click on “Facetime.” This can be found at the top of the screen by the left side.
    menu-facetime
  3. Clicking Facetime will display a drop-down menu with “Preferences” as an option. Click on Preferences.
  4. A window will pop up with checkboxes under “Automatic Prominence,” uncheck the box labeled “speaking” and close the window.
    facetime-preferences

Unchecking this box will no longer give video priority to whoever is speaking.  You can manually double click on whoever is speaking, or whomever you want to focus on for that matter, to resize the window. All other windows will retain their normal size.

Alternatively, you can:

  1. Go to System Settings and navigate to Facetime under Apps.
  2. Scroll down until you see a checkbox for Speaking. Uncheck it.

This will also keep your Facetime screens static during a call unless you double click to focus on one. You can also drag and drop windows across your screen to arrange however you’d like.

If you did not see “Automatic Prominence” in your FaceTime app, do not panic, this means you are not running on the latest Mac OS. You simply fix this by updating your system OS.

Update your Mac operating system by navigating to System Preferences > Software Updates.  You will see System Preferences by either clicking on the Mac key or Apple icon on your menu bar. If your Mac is running on an operating system that is lower than Catalina 10.15.5, then update it.

Disable Group FaceTime Resizing Windows on an iPhone or iPad

Disabling automatic prominence is quite easy on iPhones as well.  Just locate the Facetime app in Default Apps. Turn off Automatic Prominence for speaking.

Before you do this, make sure that your iOS device (iPhone, iPads, etc.) is running on iOS 13.5 or higher. If not, go to General > Settings > Software Update. If there is an update available then make sure you have a stable internet connection with a full battery before updating your OS. Once you’ve updated your device, you can take the following steps:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Either type in Facetime or scroll down to Default Apps and select Facetime.
    settings-facetime-apps
  3. Go to Automatic Prominence under Facetime and turn off Speaking.
    turn-off-speaking

Wrapping Up

Although automated processes are good, sometimes they can be a tad too much, as is the case with Facetime automatic prominence. This is why the latest OS update has finally allowed users to turn it off and just enjoy the conversation without bouncing from window to window.

If you are unsure about updating your iPhone to the latest iOS 13.5 just so you can turn off automatic prominence for Facetime, there are additional features included in the update that may change your mind. Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the face unlock feature has been made to accommodate mask-wearing. This makes it easier for you to unlock your device when you are wearing a face mask. The name of the game is adapt and change — well-done, Apple.

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