Group FaceTime is wrecking my Mac on macOS Monterey

Not to be all “there is an ugly bug with Group FaceTime in macOS 12” here, but there is a kind of ugly bug with Group FaceTime in macOS 12. I’m sure it’s already on Apple’s radar without my feedback, but I only realized this weekend that it’s not just me. That part is a relief!

This is how it goes. Group FaceTime works great for hours at a time – most of the time. Then out of nowhere the Mac freezes and the only escape hatch holds the power button down until it turns off.

However, the Mac does not freeze completely. True Tone turns off and on, the beach ball is constantly spinning, and a series of profile password requests pop up.

“CommCenter wants to use the ‘login’ keychain,” and it does iCloudNotificationAgent, assistentd, divided, and callservicesd. You can enter your password or cancel. Either way, the Mac is stuck in a loop with these requests until you force a shutdown.

When you start backing up and logging in to your profile, both Messages and FaceTime need to log in again (which asks for new login notifications on iPhone).

I found no mention of this error on the net, but one Space explored colleague mentioned that it also happened on their M1 iMac. I’m sure FaceTime is more popular than Group FaceTime, and FaceTime on an iPhone or iPad is used more than FaceTime on Mac.

Errors occur, and sometimes gremlins linger from beta versions of operating systems for a while. Not quite convinced that my colleague and I were experiencing the same error, I tried deleting and reinstalling macOS.

Unfortunately, the reinstallation effort did not go well. The Magic Mouse that comes with the iMac would not pair when connected over the cord. The solution to this was to buy a cheap wired mouse and use my USB-A to USB-C adapter to connect it and use it to reinstall macOS.

Success! macOS reinstalled flawlessly and my Magic Mouse was paired again. Cool. Then the Group FaceTime iMac crashed again with the very first call I made. Eek.

I ruled out that it was an iMac-specific issue after using my M1 MacBook Air with a potato-quality webcam. This time, I was actually relieved that Group FaceTime crashed on my Mac! It’s not a bad OS installation, and it’s not my hardware.

My guess is that something related to Group FaceTime’s new SharePlay feature breaks something behind the scenes. SharePlay works on iPhone and iPad, and it’s coming to Mac in the next update for macOS Monterey.

It’s likely that the miserable experience with Group FaceTime on Mac is fixed in the upcoming macOS update, especially since it focuses on SharePlay. For now, I’m not keen on running beta software and being unsure if there’s an error due to the beta or not. Instead, I use one Mac for typing and another device for Group FaceTime.

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