FaceTime is a video calling application that was introduced by Apple alongside the fourth generation of the iPhone and iPod touch hardware. FaceTime has some specific requirements to operate on an iPhone, and the application will not be available to use -- or could even be missing altogether from the iPhone -- if these requirements are not met.
Although all iPhones have a rear-facing camera, the iPhone 4 is the first model to include a forward-facing camera. FaceTime is able to switch between the two cameras during a call, but requires that both be present in the hardware in order to work. As of June 2011, only the fourth generation in the iPhone range is able to install and run FaceTime. If you have an older model of iPhone, FaceTime will not be present.
When the iPhone 4 and iPod touch 4 were released, an updated version of the iOS firmware was required to accommodate the new hardware features. This includes, among other things, the forward-facing camera and the FaceTime application. If your iPhone is running a version of the iOS firmware prior to version 4, FaceTime will not be present. This sometimes occurs after downgrading the iPhone's firmware as part of an unlocking process known as jailbreaking.
The iPhone has a range of parental restriction settings to prohibit certain functions, should you have any security concerns. If FaceTime is turned off in the restrictions settings, its icon won't be present on the iPhone's home screen and the application will be unavailable, despite it still being installed on the device. Check the "Restrictions" page in the Settings application to see if the "FaceTime" switch is set to "OFF." If you don't know the PIN to change the restrictions settings, the iPhone will have to be erased to make FaceTime available again.
Corrupt Operating System
If the iPhone's operating system becomes corrupt, apps such as Camera and FaceTime can suddenly become unavailable due to the software fault. Restoring the iPhone from an iTunes backup can fix the problem, depending when the corruption occurred. Connect the iPhone to your computer, launch the iTunes multimedia management software and click the "Restore" button in the "Summary" tab. If this doesn't help, the corrupt files could be included in the backup, and the iPhone should be erased and set up as a brand new device to make FaceTime available again.
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