Using iPhone 4 Facetime to call Internationally.

I currently live in Japan. Most of my friends are back in the USA. Luckily I have the internet. If not for the Internet I think I’d go stir crazy, plus I have no idea what I’d do for work. Anyway, many of my friends and family back home have the latest iPhones. I too have the latest iPhone here in Japan, and as long as we are connected to local wifi networks it is possible to do video chat with Facetime.

It all started a few weeks ago. My brother wanted to do Facetime, I personally didn’t care. I had tried a couple times to instantiate the call, and gave up. My brother though was adamant about getting it to work.

When making a normal phone call to Japan from the United States you do as follows: 011 + 81 + phone number. Most Japanese phone numbers start with a 0, when calling Japan you remove that leading 0

When making a phone call to the united states from Japan you do as follows: 010 + 1 + phone number (including area code).

Why is this important? Well it is how my brother figured out how to call me. By adding 011 + 81 to the beginning of my phone number in the address book, he was able to initiate a Facetime call.

There is however an easier way which I figured out. In the address book on your phone when you edit the number, you’ll notice it gives you the option to add either +, *, or #. The one we care about is the plug sign.

To call the US it’s simply (plug sign) + 1 + number (including area code). So to dial a facetime user in Massachusetts it would be something like +1(978)555-1212

To call Japan it would be +81 (some long phone number).

It’s that easy. Have fun doing your international video chat. If I ever get an iPod touch I’ll do a tutorial on how to Facetime with that.


  1. Carley
    Posted June 25, 2013 at 1:14 am | Permalink

    Okay. My friend is in japan, her phone is Japanese iphone etc.
    am I doing this correctly?


    and my number in hers is


    So it should work correct?
    By area code do you mean the towns area code or like the cellphone area code that’s kinda included or.. yeah… We are confused.

  2. Posted June 25, 2013 at 1:26 am | Permalink

    Hey Carley,

    Ignore the 011 it should just be +81+**********

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