T-Mobile was the first company to push Wi-Fi calling, a way to connect calls from a cell phone over a Wi-Fi network to their calling system. The company offered unlimited domestic calls with an add-on service and eventually included it in its general plans. This was a practical and competitive move: T-Mobile had not yet built a robust national network, while it is now often ranked best in tests.
But Wi-Fi calling persisted and spread to other carriers. It is offered by most US and Canadian wireless phone companies and many others around the world. While there’s no financial benefit to most carriers like lower costs or avoiding subscription add-ons, you’ll just get better quality call in indoor locations with weak cellular service and a good Wi-Fi network.
You can enable Wi-Fi calling via Settings > Phone > Calling via WiFi. The option will only appear if your carrier offers it for your account.
However, you may see a switch at the bottom of Wi-Fi Calling: Add Wi-Fi Calling for Other Devices. This allows you to use FaceTime on all other devices connected to your iCloud account: iPads, Macs, and even other iPhones that don’t have an active calling plan.
If that switch isn’t turned on, you might further notice that you may not be able to tap to turn it on – it may even taunt you, seem to turn on and then suddenly turn itself off. This intoxicates people because it is not clear what to do next. Here’s what to do:
Go to Settings > Phone > Calls on other devices.
Switch Allow calls on other devices.
Enable calls for specific or all devices with switches under Allow calls on.
Now return to Calling via WiFi and enable Add Wi-Fi calling for other devices.
On each of your iCloud-linked devices, you’ll see a notification notifying you that Wi-Fi Calling is now available. You can tap or click the prompt to agree to enable it.
If you don’t tap or click in step 5, you can enable Wi-Fi calling:
In iOS/iPadOS, go to Settings > FaceTime > Calls from iPhone.
In the FaceTime app in macOS, go to FaceTime > Preferences > Settingswhere you check Calls from iPhone.
Calls on other devices and calls over Wi-Fi differ in this way:
Calls on Other Devices allows other paired devices to forward calls through iPhone to the phone network. The iPhone must be nearby, turned on, and connected to Wi-Fi, just like the other devices calling through the iPhone.
Wi-Fi calling requires Calls on Other Devices to be turned on, but your iPhone or other devices can then all route a Wi-Fi call directly to the phone network. Your iPhone doesn’t have to be nearby or turned on.
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