Users reported seeing the icon after installing the update.
For the longest time, FaceTime has been blocked in the UAE as part of the country’s VOIP restrictions. This included other services such as Skype and Google Duo. Alternative apps like Botim were introduced, but it included a subscription for it to work. The recent COVID-19 crisis also saw services like Zoom and Google Meet to be used freely in the country, but personal VOIP services are still banned.
FaceTime is Apple’s dedicated video calling app and service. Since it is officially unavailable in the UAE, devices that you purchase from here won’t have FaceTime installed by default. But something changed last night when users started installing the iOS 13.6 update – many reported getting the FaceTime icon now showing on their devices.
There were earlier talks that Apple was already in negotiations with the local government on enabling FaceTime for its devices. Many users and even local personalities in the UAE have called for the lifting of the ban not just for FaceTime but for VOIP services as well.
In my case, I didn’t get the FaceTime icon to appear on my iPhone 11 Pro Max after installing iOS 13.6, but changing my region from UAE to the US for example instantly showed the FaceTime app. You still can’t activate it though unless you use a VPN, so we’re assuming the ban isn’t completely lifted as of yet.
Neither Apple nor local UAE telecom providers Etisalat and Du have provided statements but we will update this news piece once the information becomes available.