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How to fix FaceTime Reactions Effects not working on iOS 17

Apple took FaceTime a notch higher in iOS 17 by adding a Reactions feature that uses 3D visual effects to help you express how you feel. However, many users reported that their hand gestures were not able to trigger Reactions on their iPhones. If you are one of them, worry not! Below are troubleshooting tips to help you fix the FaceTime Reactions not working issue on your iPhone.

How to fix FaceTime Reactions Effects not working on iPhone

Since FaceTime Reactions is a relatively new feature, you must update your iPhone to iOS 17 to trigger and use them. 

If you have updated iOS and are still unable to use FaceTime Reactions, try out the fixes mentioned below.

  1. Check iPhone model compatibility
  2. Enable FaceTime reactions for video calls
  3. Use front camera
  4. Use correct hand gestures
  5. Ensure proper framing
  6. Restart iPhone and re-enable FaceTime
  7. Clean your notch or Dynamic Island
  8. Reset All Settings

1. Check iPhone model compatibility

First, check if your iPhone device supports FaceTime hand gestures. The feature is available for iPhone 12 or later.

Capturing real-time gestures requires a lot of processing power, so older iPhone models can’t process them and translate them into augmented-reality effects.

FaceTime hand gestures won’t work on older models that support iOS 17, including the iPhone SE (2020), iPhone XR, iPhone XS, and iPhone 11.

If you own any of these models, you can use FaceTime reactions by going to the Control Center to trigger them manually.

2. Enable FaceTime Reactions for video calls

Once you’ve downloaded iOS 17, FaceTime reactions should be enabled by default.

However, you may have accidentally turned it off in the Control Center – causing FaceTime gestures to not work. Turn it on again by doing the following:

  1. Access the Control Center.
  2. Select Video Effects → Tap Reactions.

    Enable FaceTime gestures

3. Use front camera

By default, FaceTime uses your front, aka “selfie” camera, when doing video calls. If you’ve switched to the rear camera, you won’t be able to use FaceTime reactions.

While the rear camera offers better video quality and resolution, only the front camera can detect gestures and trigger FaceTime reactions.

So, tap the camera flip at the bottom-right of the screen to switch from the rear camera to the front camera.

4. Use correct hand gestures

Apple designated specific hand gestures to trigger FaceTime reactions on your iPhone. It’s possible that the gestures you’re making don’t quite match the required gestures to trigger the reaction. Below is the list of 8 hand gestures you can do that’ll trigger a FaceTime reaction:

Use proper gestures on FaceTime
  • One hand thumbs up: Shows a like sticker
  • One hand thumbs down: Dislike sticker
  • Both hands thumbs up: Displays fireworks behind you
  • Both hands thumbs down: Rain animation
  • Heart sign: Triggers red heart stickers
  • Peace sign with one hand✌: Shows flying balloons from the bottom of the screen
  • Peace sign with two hands: Starts confetti
  • Rock sign with two hands: Enjoy your laser show

5. Ensure proper framing

Aside from making the appropriate hand gesture, make sure that the gesture is within the camera’s view and away from your face. Be patient and hold the gesture until the reaction appears. Both your hands and face should be properly visible in the frame.

6. Restart iPhone and re-enable FaceTime

Before you take more drastic measures, force-quitting the app may help flush out any glitches preventing FaceTime gestures from working in iOS 17.

After this, restart your iPhone and try using FaceTime again.

If this doesn’t work, try refreshing FaceTime to clear the bugs, cache issues, and other background processes conflicting with the feature.

  1. Go to Settings → FaceTime.
  2. Toggle FaceTime off.

    Disable and re-enable FaceTime
  3. Do a quick restart and enable FaceTime again.
  4. Now, try using gestures on a FaceTime call.

7. Clean your notch or Dynamic Island

As silly as this sounds, a dirty front camera lens can stop FaceTime from triggering Reactions.

So, make sure to clean your iPhone’s notch or Dynamic Island with a soft, lint-free cloth. If you are skeptical about your cleaning techniques, I highly recommend going through our guide to cleaning iPhones first.

8. Reset All Settings

Resetting your settings should ideally be your final resort in resolving FaceTime reactions not working issues on your iPhone. This approach effectively addresses problems from misconfigured settings that can’t be addressed using the above methods.

Factory resetting all settings restores your settings to default without wiping out data and other media from your iPhone. To do that:

  1. Go to SettingsGeneralTransfer or Reset iPhone.
  2. Select Reset All Settings.
  3. Enter your passcode and confirm your choice.

    Reset all setting on iphone
On which iPhone devices do FaceTime hand gestures work?

FaceTime hand gestures are only available on iPhone 12 or later models.

Does iPad and Mac support FaceTime hand gestures in iOS 17? 

Yes, iPad Pro 12.9-inch (5th gen and later), iPad Pro 11-inch (3rd gen and later), iPad (10th gen), iPad Air (4th gen and later), iPad mini (6th gen) and Macs with Apple Silicon running macOS Sonoma supports FaceTime gestures.

Wrapping up…

It’s pretty usual for you to experience difficulties when using new features. I hope these simple fixes resolve the FaceTime Reactions not working issue.

Were any tips mentioned above successful in getting the FaceTime gestures to work on your device? I’d love to hear about your experiences below!

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  • Rachel

    Rachel, an experienced Apple technology writer since 2021 and a long-time user since 2003, began her journey with a silver iPod Classic. Currently, she owns an array of modern Apple gadgets. At iGeeksBlog, her expertise shines through in the crafting of comprehensive how-to articles, informative guides, and well-curated roundups.

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