FaceTime suddenly starts working in UAE after years of blocks

Posted:
in iOS
FaceTime is apparently fully functional in the United Arab Emirates, a territory that has persisted in banning Apple's video chat service over the last decade.




Since the launch of FaceTime, usage of the service in the U.A.E. has been minimal, with the country's Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority preventing internet calling apps such as Skype and WhatsApp from working within its borders.

However, on Sunday, journalists from the Associated Press found that typical blocks that stopped FaceTime voice and video calls were apparently lifted, with good quality video and audio for calls made both within the country and to foreign contacts.

It is unclear exactly why the calls are passing through unimpeded. Neither Apple nor the U.A.E. telecoms regulator responded to a request for comment on the matter.

It's plausible that FaceTime is functioning as a byproduct of the launch of its world's fair earlier in the month, which is anticipated to draw in millions of visitors from around the world. Within the expo itself, WhatsApp and FaceTime calls could be made without dealing with the blocks affecting the rest of the country.

The availability of FaceTime may also be only temporary, given that WhatsApp and Skype calls continue to be blocked.

The U.A.E. has never officially explained why the blocks exist though it is thought to be a way for the country to control dissent in the country. With the use of encryption in VoIP platforms, the authorities may prefer to ban the platforms altogether rather than allow communications to pass through.

This isn't the first time that FaceTime was found to be working for a brief period of time. With the update of iOS 13.6, FaceTime was enabled in the country, though that was later blocked by the authorities.

In 2018, Apple and Microsoft attempted to convince the government to lift the blocks on FaceTime and Skype, an effort that seemingly failed to make progress at the time.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    Well now that you just made it news they will block it again 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 6
    FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp calls work just fine in the UAE with any VPN service. 
    I stayed in UAE for months over a period of a few years and never met a ‘local’ who didn’t use a VPN. 
    Just make sure to install the VPN service BEFORE you get in the UAE(these websites are blocked as well!) or hotspot with someone who already is using VPN. 
    edited October 2021 watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 6
    daniPhone said:
    FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp calls work just fine in the UAE with any VPN service. 
    I stayed in UAE for months over a period of a few years and never met a ‘local’ who didn’t use a VPN. 
    Just make sure to install the VPN service BEFORE you get in the UAE(these websites are blocked as well!) or hotspot with someone who already is using VPN. 
    Apple devices bought in the UAE don't have access to Facetime, and VPNs are mostly blocked too.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 6
    Expo 2020 is the main reason of FaceTime and other internet based communication working at UAE. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 6
    Perhaps you should have done some research rather than copy and paste from other websites?  It may have worked briefly last night but it didn’t last long
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 6
    ciacia Posts: 181member
    I know one person in the UAE and texted him asking about this.   He said it’s only in the expo area and doesn’t work outside.  Not sure how that works, but that’s what he said. 
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
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