Group FaceTime’s launch is going to be delayed. The feature, which supports up to 32 people in a single audio or video call, was pulled from the latest iOS 12 and macOS Mojave betas released on Monday, and will be held until a later date, says Apple. According to the company’s Release Notes for both operating system updates, Group FaceTime will “ship in a future update later this fall.”
The feature was introduced at this year’s WWDC, with the goal of capitalizing on the growing popularity of larger group video chat sessions – especially among younger people. Today, apps like Houseparty, Instagram, and Snapchat, among others, cater to this audience with group video calling support of their own. But they don’t offer support for up to 32 people – a feature that requires a lot of technical overhead, and apparently, more time to prep than Apple had planned.
Apple didn’t offer any official explanation for the delay, but early beta testers have said the feature has been working well so far. Of course, it’s one thing to go from supporting some 4 million beta testers, to supporting everyone who installs the iOS 12 and macOS Mojave updates.
It’s not unusual for Apple to hold back features from its September OS releases. With iOS 11, Apple held back AirPlay 2, Messages in iCloud, and Apple Pay Cash, for example.