FaceTime calls finally seem to be working in UAE
FaceTime hasn’t been available in the UAE since Apple launched the technology in 2010, but that policy may have been relaxed, at least for a brief time. The PA reports that FaceTime calls were suddenly working in the UAE on October 10, allowing users of the app (not available on Apple devices sold in the UAE) to make high-quality video and voice calls. The feature worked when talking to people inside and outside the country.
It is not certain whether this is a permanent or an intentional change. Dubai kicked off Expo 2020 (yes, the city knows it’s 2021) on October 1 and will run it until the end of March 2022 – a move like this could encourage visitors to stay in touch and show off what they saw. However, the UAE’s Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority has so far been silent on the apparent change, and the restrictions appear to be largely intact for competing services like Skype and WhatsApp outside the park. exhibitions.
Authorities never officially explained the ban. Some suspected it was a simple effort to protect the profits of state-run telecommunications, especially in the early years when FaceTime allegedly consumed a disproportionate amount of bandwidth. Others, meanwhile, suspect security issues. The UAE has reportedly hacked dissidents’ iPhones to spy on their activities, and live video chats could make such surveillance difficult.
As a result, we are not counting on this long-term reprieve. If this represents a change in policy, it could represent either an acknowledgment of the changing times or simply a matter of practical necessity. Video calls have often been the only way to see friends and family during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the UAE’s ban hasn’t helped matters.