6 iPhone phone call secrets you probably didn’t know

Get to know a few more secrets

Apple has hidden a few useful surprises that you might like using when you make calls in your iPhone. C/O a.pasquier and Flickr.

Apple’s iPhone does lots of things, but perhaps the thing we use it for the least is making phone calls, but even for that traditional task Apple has popped a few useful surprises that may make your life a little easier, read on:

Always take calls on the iPhone’s speaker

Sick of talking into your iPhone? You can take all your calls on your iPhone’s speaker, if you want. (You can always override this by tapping the speaker button while taking a call). Here’s how to make your iPhone automatically take calls in speaker mode:

  • Settings>General>Accessibility
  • Scroll down the page in search of the fabled Call Audio Routing item
  • Tap this item and in the next window select Speaker until it is ticked.
  • In future, all incoming calls will be answered in speakerphone mode.

NB: You can also set this so all calls are taken via your headset.

Siri’s speakerphone talent

Want to call someone? Got a broken headphone or a problem with the earspeaker on your device? Or just want to talk to someone via the speakerphone? Siri will help. Just ask it to “Call [your contact] on speakerphone” and Siri will dial the contact number and automatically launch the conversation using the speaker.

Answer calls automatically

You can set your iPhone to answer calls automatically. Now, this may or may not be a good thing, but if you’re working at your desk and expect a call it may help you stay a little more focused on what you are doing. You can also choose how to take the call, and reject the call in the usual way (just hit the red reject button when a call comes in).

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Set it up in Settings>General>Accessibility, scroll down the page to find Call Audio Routing
  • Tap this feature and look to the bottom of the next page for Auto-Answer Calls, tap this and switch the toggle to on (green).
  • You should also adjust the number underneath the toggle. These figures represent how many seconds you will let your iPhone ring before it picks up the call. You can always choose to reject the call as it comes in as your iPhone will show you on the alert screen.
  • Return to Settings>General>Accessibility>Call Audio Routing and you can define if you want the call to be picked up and transmitted via the iPhone speaker, Bluetooth headphones, or automatically.

From now on, your incoming calls will be answered automatically by your iPhone – but don’t forget to disable this when you don’t want it to happen. Nothing worse than your smartphone automatically answering a call from your mother when you’re in a somewhat compromising position…

Above: Speaking of hidden talents…

Dial extensions automatically

Do you need to call someone up on an extension frequently? If you don’t know this tip, you probably dial the main switchboard number and then ask for the relevant extension. It doesn’t have to be this way:

  • Open (or create) a Contacts file for the person you need to contact.
  • Enter the relevant main contact number (if working in a new contact file), or tap Edit at the top right of the contact file to edit it. Once you’ve entered the number you can use this tip, which you can also use to edit an existing number to add the extension you need.
  • Enter the number (or select its field) and tap # on the iPhone dialler to reach some new options.
  • Tap the pause button, this will insert a comma. This tells the dialling system to pause for a moment before it requests any numbers that follow that number.
  • Now type the extension number you want to use. You should end up with a standard number followed by a comma with the extension number at the end.
  • Save, and in future when dialling your contact with that number your iPhone will ask for the relevant extension automatically on your behalf.

Alternatively, you can tap wait and a semicolon will appear, then type the relevant extension. Next time you call that contact, you’ll find a new button that lets you quickly dial the relevant extension if you want. (Thanks to OS X Daily for that).

A little hold music

Been stuck on hold? Bored? Know you might be stuck in an endless loop for almost an hour? You’ll want to play a little music – or podcast – or whatever. Do this:

  • Tap the Home button
  • Open the Music app and select what you want to hear.
  • Press play
  • Now you should tap the green alert bar at the top of the screen to get back to the call

You’ll find the music plays back through your ear speaker, which means you can listen to it while the person at the other end of the line can’t tell you are doing so.

Those secret codes

Apple’s buried some phone features inside of your smartphone. These don’t always work with every operator but may sometimes be useful. Here’s a few of these useful secret features (with thanks):

  • Activate Call Waiting: Dial *43# and you’ll be told when a second call comes in even while you are on a call. You can also answer the new call without losing the one you are on. Dial *43# again to switch off this feature.
  • Disguise your number: *#31# will stop your number showing up in Caller ID. Dial *#31# again to switch off this feature.Or type #31# and then type the number you are trying to call to hide your number only for that specific call.
  • Straight to answer machine: Have your iPhone send all your calls to voicemail by dialling *#21#. Don’t forget to dial this again to switch it off.

I hope you have some fun with these handy little tips.

Jonny Evans

Watching Apple since 1999. I don't say what they should do. I say what they might do. They sometimes do.

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