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.