Facetime as a security camera in one simple command line

Apple’s Facetime (Free on your iPhone/iPad or .99¢ on your desktop) is a nice high resolution way of doing face-to-face conferences between any two people in the Apple iOS environment.  Want to Facetime grandpa from the iPhone?  It can be done (with a wifi).

But with such a nice interface, the question has arisen throughout the net “Can I use Facetime as a Baby Monitor?” and “Can I use Facetime as a security camera”.  The problem was that Facetime required you to actively accept an incoming request, much like you have to pick up a phone to speak to someone who is calling you.

Intrepid hackers moved quickly to find a solution to the auto-answering Facetime question.  A simple Applescript solution has been posted for a few months now that enables, when running, Facetime to answer an incoming call without any human interaction.  But after just a few minutes of playing with this script (hanging up, reconnecting, failing, etc) I discovered it wasn’t the be all end all of answers.

Wouldn’t you know, there is a much more elegant solution, thanks in large part to Apple’s foresight (and possible future software upgrades).  Hidden in the preferences for Facetime at the configuration file level is a function for Auto Accept incoming calls.  Typing this simple command for example would enable your Facetime to start automatically anytime Steve Jobs sent you a request, simply by opening your terminal and typing in this line:

defaults write com.apple.FaceTime AutoAcceptInvitesFrom -array-add [email protected]

Now the slightly more confusing bit is that you should probably have a second Apple ID tied to the Facetime you intend to use as a security camera.  I used a second email address and registered a new Apple ID to tie to that computer running the auto-accepting Facetime.

But I can confirm it works.  I have a monitor now set up in the living room so I can check on the boys as they terrorize the nanny and the neighbor kids.  Works so well that I’m now thinking of getting a higher resolution camera (Logitech 1080p Webcam Pro C910) to record their crimes for future prosecution.