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Reduce FaceTime CPU when only using voice Apps
FaceTime uses 100% CPU when in a call, probably because of video encoding. Yet it's possible to reduce CPU usage to 20% when you only need voice, extending battery life when mobile.

To stop FaceTime from encoding video when in a call, make it fullscreen and it will move into its own space. Then switch back to your main desktop space with a four finger swipe to the right (or by simply switching to an app in that space). Although your camera LED stays on, this actually pauses the video, reducing your CPU from 100% to around 20%. You will also find that voice quality improves with less drop-outs and cracks because now your CPU is prioritized on encoding audio.

Update: As mentioned in the comments, it's seems to be sufficient to just have FaceTime in a space and move to a different space, or to minimize the FaceTime window to the Dock.

[kirkmc adds: I don't use FaceTime often, choosing rather to use Messages video chats or Skype, so I can't confirm whether this CPU usage is universal.]
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Reduce FaceTime CPU when only using voice
Authored by: jellygreen on Apr 22, '13 10:48:05AM

Great hint. However, it begs the question: Why doesn't Apple support audio-only FaceTime chats through an actual option? Particularly on iOS devices? This is crazy!



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Three - no, Four - words
Authored by: gabester on Apr 22, '13 11:42:18AM

Non-User Replaceable Batteries...

See, the more CPU your iDevice uses, the faster the battery runs down. The faster the battery runs down, the quicker it wears out. The quicker it wears out, the sooner you buy another iDevice.

In seriousness, the Apple of yore would certainly have had a user-friendly audio-only option. These days it's not clear whether covenants with the carriers or the current attitude of "don't let the user muck with anything - default settings are the only settings they SHOULD WANT!"



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Reduce FaceTime CPU when only using voice
Authored by: rusty on Apr 22, '13 11:58:32AM

My understanding is that this is contractual with the carriers. Audio-only FT would essentially circumvent carrier voice service as Apple-controlled VoIP, and, contractually, Apple can't offer it without carrier approval.



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Reduce FaceTime CPU when only using voice
Authored by: scheeko on Apr 22, '13 01:01:41PM

It's more likely that it's something that would be problematic with operators since would entirely replace voice calls within iOS users. iMessage is still too fresh, probably.

However, for iOS it's especially easy to just press the home button, even before it establishes the connection. I know it's not exactly the same thing, but it's pretty close.



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Reduce FaceTime CPU when only using voice
Authored by: scheeko on Apr 22, '13 12:56:09PM

Isn't the "Messages video chats" FaceTime? That's what shows up on mine.



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Reduce FaceTime CPU when only using voice
Authored by: Strod on Apr 22, '13 02:26:22PM

Actually you don't need to put FaceTime in fullscreen to get it to pause the video. If the FaceTime window is in one Space (Desktop) and you move to a different Space the video stops while the audio continues. The people at the other end see a "video paused" message.

On the other hand, I honestly don't recall having 100% CPU usage under FaceTime. I have a 2009 15" MBP so you would expect that to happen to me, and I would have noticed the fans whirling during very long FaceTimes I sometimes have with my elderly parents abroad.



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Reduce FaceTime CPU when only using voice
Authored by: poenn on Apr 22, '13 03:06:17PM

FaceTime does not use 100% (or anywhere near that) on my old 2010 MBP. I would know, because anything that needs more than 30-40% CPU for more than a few minutes activates the fans noticeably!

I also noticed that video will be turned off if you just minimize FT to the Dock. Why should I make it fullscreen and switch away? cmd+m seems a lot better to me… I have used FT this way to have audio-only chats for quite some time now.



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