Home 9 Apps & Devices 9 iOS 17 FaceTime Gestures Not Working? Here’s What to Do!

iOS 17 FaceTime Gestures Not Working? Here’s What to Do!

by | Dec 10, 2023

One of the exciting new features in iOS 17 is the ability to use gestures and animoji to react during FaceTime video calls. This means you can give a thumbs up, send hearts, or playfully interact while on a FaceTime call. However, some users have encountered issues with the new FaceTime reaction gestures after updating to iOS 17. If you’ve updated your iPhone and find that the facetime reactions aren’t working, there’s no need to worry. In most cases, it’s a simple problem that can be fixed. In this article, we will guide you through some troubleshooting tips to resolve the issue of iOS 17 facetime gestures not working on iPhone 11.

iOS 17 FaceTime Gestures Not Working? Here’s What to Do!

Make sure you have iOS 17 installed

Make sure you have iOS 17 installed

Since FaceTime hand gestures are a new feature, you need to update your iPhone to iOS 17 to use them. If you’re using an older iOS version, you won’t be able to see FaceTime reactions. To update to iOS 17, go to Settings, then General, and select Software Update.

Check if your iPhone is compatible

After updating to iOS 17, check if your iPhone model supports FaceTime gestures. Older iPhone models, like the iPhone SE (2020), iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone 11, can’t handle real-time gestures due to limited processing power. On these models, you can still use FaceTime reactions by manually triggering them through the Control Center. I’ll explain more about this in a moment. Also read Why can’t I Share My Screen on FaceTime.

Verify FaceTime server status

Verify FaceTime server status

Before troubleshooting further, check if there’s an issue with FaceTime servers. Visit Apple’s System Status page to see if FaceTime is available. If there’s a problem, you’ll have to wait for Apple to fix it.

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Enable FaceTime reactions

After installing iOS 17, FaceTime reactions should be automatically enabled. However, it’s possible that you accidentally turned them off in the Control Center, which is why the gestures aren’t working. To fix this, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Control Center.
  2. Find the option for Video Effects.
  3. Tap on Reactions to turn it back on.

Use thfront camerae front camera

Usually, FaceTime automatically uses the front camera (the one you use for selfies) during video calls. If you accidentally switched to the rear camera, FaceTime gestures won’t work. While the rear camera may provide better video quality, it can’t detect gestures for FaceTime reactions.

front camera

To fix this, tap the camera flip button located at the bottom-right corner of the screen. This will switch the camera back to the front-facing one, allowing you to use FaceTime gestures again.

Use the correct hand gestures

To ensure that FaceTime reactions work properly, it’s important to use the correct hand gestures. Apple has assigned specific gestures that will trigger different reactions. Here are the eight hand gestures you can use to activate FaceTime reactions:

  • Thumbs up with one hand πŸ‘πŸ½: This will display a like sticker.
  • Thumbs down with one hand πŸ‘ŽπŸ½: It triggers a dislike sticker.
  • Thumbs up with both hands πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½: This will cause fireworks to appear behind you.
  • Thumbs down with both hands πŸ‘ŽπŸ½πŸ‘ŽπŸ½: It triggers a rain animation.
  • Heart sign with one hand 🀞🏽: This gesture will activate red heart stickers.
  • Peace sign with one hand ✌🏽: It will make flying balloons appear from the bottom of the screen.
  • Peace sign with two hands ✌🏽✌🏽: This gesture starts a confetti animation.
  • Rock sign with two hands 🀘🏽: Enjoy a laser show by making this gesture.

Make sure to perform the correct hand gesture to see the desired FaceTime reaction.

Ensure proper framing

To make sure FaceTime gestures work correctly, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

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Ensure proper framing
  • Proper framing: In addition to using the right hand gesture, make sure that your gesture is within the camera’s view and not too close to your face. Be patient and hold the gesture until the reaction appears. It’s important that both your hands and face are clearly visible in the frame.
  • Clear camera view: If your iPhone camera is blurry, the FaceTime gestures may not work properly. To improve recognition of the gestures, try cleaning the screen of your iPhone where the front camera is located. This can help your device better detect and understand the gestures.

By ensuring proper framing and a clear camera view, you can enhance the performance of FaceTime gestures on your iPhone.

Try using manual reactions

If you’re having trouble getting FaceTime reactions to work with gestures, you can try using manual reactions instead.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Tap and hold on the preview window of your camera, which shows your face during the FaceTime call.
  2. Look for the icon of the reaction you want to display.
  3. Select that icon to manually show the desired reaction.

By following these steps, you can manually trigger and display FaceTime reactions during your calls.

Disable and re-enable FaceTime

If FaceTime gestures are still not working on iOS 17, you can try disabling and then re-enabling the FaceTime feature. This can help resolve any glitches or conflicts that may be causing the issue. Here’s what you can do:

Disable and re-enable FaceTime
  1. Force quit the FaceTime app by closing it.
  2. Restart your iPhone.
  3. Open the Settings app and go to FaceTime settings.
  4. Toggle the FaceTime option off to disable it.
  5. Wait for a few moments and then toggle it back on to enable FaceTime again.
  6. Restart your iPhone once more.
  7. Now, try using gestures during a FaceTime call to see if they work properly.

By following these steps, you can attempt to resolve any issues with FaceTime gestures not working by disabling and re-enabling the feature on your iPhone.

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Uninstall and reinstall FaceTime

If the previous suggestion doesn’t solve the problem, you can try uninstalling and reinstalling the FaceTime app. Here’s what you can do:

Uninstall and reinstall FaceTime
  1. Check if there is an available update for the FaceTime app. If there is, update the app before proceeding.
  2. Delete the FaceTime app from your iPhone.
  3. Turn off your iPhone, wait a few minutes, and then turn it back on.
  4. Go to the App Store and reinstall the FaceTime app.
  5. After reinstalling, go to Settings and then navigate to FaceTime settings.
  6. Set up FaceTime correctly by configuring the necessary options.

By following these steps, you can uninstall the FaceTime app, restart your device, reinstall the app from the App Store, and then properly set it up again. This may help resolve any issues you were facing with FaceTime gestures not working.

Reset All Settings

Resetting all settings is a last resort option to fix FaceTime reactions not working on your iPhone. This method helps to resolve issues caused by incorrect settings that couldn’t be resolved using the previous methods.

By resetting all settings, your iPhone will restore the default settings without deleting your data and other media files. It’s a way to start fresh with the settings and can be effective in resolving FaceTime reaction problems.


In conclusion, it’s normal to face challenges when using new features, but I hope these easy fixes help you with the issue of FaceTime gestures not working. If none of the solutions mentioned above work for you, it might be best to reach out to Apple support for assistance. They can help diagnose the problem, especially if it’s related to the hardware of your device.

We would love to hear about your experiences with these tips. If any of them helped you get FaceTime gestures working on your device, please share your feedback below!

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