Making Facetime work on iPhone using unsupported carrier without MiTime

Apple introduced a new tool called Facetime during the launch of iPhone 4, that lets users of iOS and MacOS devices to have video chat in real time with their friends, with a pretty good image resolution. Skype recently also brought video chat facility to their mobile application. But in places where you have good wifi connectivity, and know that the person you want to call also has a Facetime supporting device, you would always want to go with Facetime, due to its better image quality, compared to Skype’s more compressed video.

But there is this one weird thing about Facetime. While on the iPod Touch, and Macbooks, you can use it instantly where ever you have access to wifi, it is not the same with iPhone. You will have to activate the service in order to use it on your iPhone. From what I’ve gathered, this activation process sends across couple of SMS messages to some Apple servers, after which, if it went well, you’ll be able to use Facetime on your iPhone.

I live in a country where iPhone isn’t officially launched. So I ordered a factory unlocked version for myself, and am using it with a carrier that isn’t officially supported by Apple (Telenor in Pakistan). This led to many problems with Facetime activation. After trying many times and spending lots of credit on SMS charges trying to activate Facetime, I came to know I can’t, on an unsupported carrier. That’s when I discovered about this nifty little tool called “MiTime“. You can download it using Cydia on a jailbroken device, and use it to activate Facetime.

But I am an iOS developer, and continuously need to have latest build of iOS running on my device. This makes it harder to have it jailbroken at all times, and MiTime isn’t always compatible with the latest version of iOS either. I lost all hope, thinking I’ll have to live with one nice feature on iPhone disabled for me. But… surprisingly, searching across web today, I found a set of instructions that are very simple in nature, and which, actually worked! Here is what I did that enabled Facetime for me:

  1. Make sure your iPhone is unlocked (factory, or using a tool such as ultrasn0w).
  2. Make sure that your own phone number is listed, complete with international code (+xxx), in your phone settings. (Settings -> Phone -> My Number)
  3. Disable caller ID. In my case I wasn’t allowed to, so I just skipped this. But it still worked for me.
  4. Turn off Facetime in settings.
  5. Turn your phone off, by pressing the home button and sleep button together.
  6. Turn your phone on again.
  7. Turn the caller ID on again (if you disabled it).
  8. Turn Facetime on.

Voila! There it was. Facetime enabled, and showing in my contacts as an option to use for calling. I tried calling my friends, none of whom was available to pick up. So I just called my own Mac from iPhone. And there it was, call received on the other side.

This is great news for those using iPhone with an unsupported carrier. Let me know how it works out for you.

P.S. Thanks to this forum post by a helpful user that allowed me to make my Facetime work.

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19 thoughts on “Making Facetime work on iPhone using unsupported carrier without MiTime

  1. Toto: I am sorry to hear that. What network are you on? Which iPhone and what version of iOS?

  2. @shuaib
    Hi I have an iPhone 4. Jailbroken through snowbreeze 2.2. Firmware 4.2.1
    Baseband 01.59.00. I use warid postpaid in Pakistan n FaceTime dosent work. I tried doing it from mitime but it didn’t work and took me to SAM n eventually had to jailbreak again. I really want it to work. As for now the FaceTime button in settings is lost too. Please help. Thanks

  3. Topgun: Upgrade your firmware to 4.3.2. MiTime support is better for that. Hopefully it will work for you. Plus, did you try above instructions?

  4. Shuaib: thanks for the reply mate. I did try the above but it didn’t work. Also can u send me a link how to “safely” jailbreak+unlock on 4.3.2. Thanks

  5. Topgun: Sorry mate, I am not really updated with unlock procedures since I don’t have to perform one. But Google should help you there. :)

  6. i bought my iphone4 in bahrain. Now i come to know that facetime is not activated for the middle east. D: i dont even see the facetime option under ” settings > phone “. any way of helping without having to jailbreak ?

  7. This doesnt seem to work :9 I live in Belize, on the Digicell network with a factory unlocked (4.33) iphone 4 jailbroken.

  8. Hey. Im on warid telecom with a gevey unlocked iphone 4. Ur steps didnt work for me mate. A frnd who also has a gevey unlocked iphone but on telenor got it working by just switching facetime on. M pretty puzzled abt it. Help me out man

  9. For all of you not able to get your facetime working, I am sorry to hear that. The steps I mention here, I don’t guarantee they would work for everyone. I listed them here because they worked for me. You guys can try MiTime and see if that works. Plus, as far as my experience goes, facetime activation happens out of the box in iOS 5, so wait till you get to upgrade to that, and hopefully you will be set to go. :)

  10. http://www.sinfuliphone.com/showthread.php?t=46779

    this worked for me…

    WARID PAKISTAN

    I have iphone4 on 4.3.1 and had My3G and facebreak installed.
    Recently wanted to do a facetime and couldnt find the option
    in contacts. Tried load of things but no joy at all. So i uninstalled
    My3G and Facebreak. Replaced the plist file with the one given on
    this thread.Rebooted the fone.Went into settings/phone and tried
    to turn on the facetime. Instaead of waiting for activation,after
    replacing the plist file the swich would go back to off position as
    soon as i press it to on.
    I installed facebreak again and in settings /facebreak swiched both
    options to on that is Face Time over 3g to on and also Force FT Button to
    on position.
    Went in to settings/phone and swiched face time on and to my amazement
    it stayed on the on position and got a message under it sayin “Your phone
    number will be shared with people you call with FaceTime”
    Went to contacts and there was the option of Face Time.
    I dreaded doing a restore but thank God Its workin….Hooray !!!!
    Hope this experience will help some of you strugling for so long.
    Good Luck !!!

  11. Nice work bro… its working for me :) very detailed explanation ;) keep up the good work

  12. I got a factory unlocked iphone 5 runnig on ios7. Brazil, using CTBC (carrier not “autorized” by apple, and my FaceTime doesnt activate too. The steps above did not work. Help me please!

  13. Hey man. Bought an iPhone 6 a month back and was not aware of the Facetime issue at the time. However, it was too late when I found out and now I’m stuck with a device that doesn’t have Facetime on it. And I really need to figure out how to activate it. So far, everyone’s told me that I’ll have to jailbreak my phone, but I have some doubts about it. Any idea what I can do?

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