Yesterday, the first beta of WatchOS 5.0.1 was released to testers. This release was in conjunction with the release of iOS 12.1’s first beta and with both beta builds, Group FaceTime has returned.
Group FaceTime will allow for you to have a FaceTime video call with up to 32 people at once. It was a feature that had been expected to be released with iOS 12 but it was delayed just over halfway through the beta cycle for that build. Apple has indicated that it will be out before the end of the year and with it being in the 12.1 beta, that seems plausible.
With WatchOS 5.0.1, Group FaceTime is there too. No, you can’t take a video call but you can at least have the audio portion of the call on your watch before joining the video portion on your iPhone when you get back to your phone.
This, obviously, becomes really handy for those with an Apple Watch that supports cellular but overall is a handy feature for everyone. If you have your iPhone in your handbag or your backpack and need time to fish it out, you can at least join the Group FaceTime call on audio to start then kick it over to video once you have your phone in your hand.
Other than the “end of the year” target, it isn’t clear when iOS 12.1 or WatchOS 5.0.1 will actually be released. Apple does seem pretty aggressive however given they released the first beta on the day after the iOS 12 and WatchOS 5 update was made available to everyone.