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The Ultimate Guide to Making Wifi Calls on Your iPhone

Have you ever found yourself in an area with poor or no cellular reception, unable to make or receive calls on your iPhone? Thanks to the built-in wifi calling feature, staying connected is easier than ever. In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll dive deep into what wifi calling is, how it works on iPhone, and how to enable and use it for high-quality calls anywhere with a wifi signal.

Understanding Wifi Calling: What It Is and How It Works

Wifi calling is a feature that allows you to make and receive phone calls over a wifi network instead of using your carrier‘s cellular voice network. When enabled, your iPhone will automatically route calls via wifi whenever a wifi connection is available and provides a stronger signal than the cellular network.

How Wifi Calling Connects Your Calls

So what‘s happening behind the scenes when you make a wifi call on your iPhone? Here‘s a high-level overview of the process:

  1. When wifi calling is enabled, your iPhone establishes a secure connection with your carrier‘s wifi calling server.
  2. To initiate a wifi call, your iPhone sends a SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) request to your carrier‘s server.
  3. The carrier‘s server responds and sets up a virtual phone line for your call using a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) connection.
  4. Your call is routed through the internet using this VoIP connection, which converts your voice into digital packets.
  5. On the receiving end, the digital packets are reassembled and converted back into voice, allowing the other party to hear you.

This entire process happens nearly instantaneously, allowing you to place and receive wifi calls just like regular cellular calls. The key difference is that the call is transmitted over the internet using VoIP rather than over a cellular voice network.

The Growing Popularity of Wifi Calling

Wifi calling has seen substantial growth in recent years as more carriers and devices have adopted the feature. According to a 2021 report by Research and Markets, the global wifi calling market is projected to reach $10.4 billion by 2026, up from $4.8 billion in 2020 – a compound annual growth rate of 13.7%.

Much of this growth is being driven by the increasing ubiquity of wifi and the demand for more flexible, reliable calling options. A 2020 survey by Ericsson found that 83% of smartphone users now consider voice calling "extremely important," with 25% using wifi calling at least weekly.

Enabling Wifi Calling on Your iPhone

Now that you understand the basics of how wifi calling works, let‘s walk through the setup process step-by-step. Enabling wifi calling on an iPhone is quick and easy, and only needs to be done once.

Step 1: Check Carrier Support

First, make sure your carrier supports wifi calling on iPhone. Most major US carriers do, including:

  • Verizon
  • AT&T
  • T-Mobile
  • Sprint (now part of T-Mobile)

If you‘re unsure whether your carrier offers wifi calling, contact their customer support or consult their website for more information.

Step 2: Enable Wifi Calling in Settings

Assuming your carrier supports wifi calling, enabling it on your iPhone is simple:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap "Phone"
  3. Tap "Wifi Calling"
  4. Toggle on "Wifi Calling on This iPhone"
  5. Tap "Enable" when prompted to confirm

And that‘s it! Your iPhone will now automatically prefer wifi for making and receiving calls whenever a wifi network is available and has a better signal than the cellular network.

Step 3: Provide Your E911 Address

Per FCC regulations, carriers are required to have an emergency address on file for wifi calling users. This E911 address is used to help emergency responders locate you if you call 911 over wifi, since wifi calls don‘t provide precise location data like cellular calls do.

When you first enable wifi calling, you‘ll be prompted to enter your physical address. Be sure to provide your complete street address, apartment number, city, state, and zip code. You can update this address anytime by going back into Settings > Phone > Wifi Calling and tapping "Update Emergency Address."

It‘s critical to keep your E911 address current to ensure emergency services can find you if needed. According to the National Emergency Number Association (NENA), around 80% of 911 calls are now placed from mobile phones, making accurate location data a literal life-and-death matter.

Optimizing Your iPhone‘s Wifi Calling Experience

While wifi calling is incredibly convenient, there are a few things you can do to ensure the best possible call quality and performance:

1. Use a Fast, Reliable Wifi Network

Wifi calling is only as good as the wifi network you‘re connected to. For the best results, aim to use a private network with fast speeds and strong signal strength. Some tips:

  • Connect to a 5Ghz wifi network if available, as it offers faster speeds and less interference than 2.4Ghz networks
  • Position your iPhone close to the wifi router to maximize signal strength (a wifi signal strength app can help you find the optimal location)
  • Avoid congested public wifi networks whenever possible, especially in busy areas like airports, stadiums, and universities

2. Implement Quality of Service (QoS)

If you‘re using wifi calling on a home or office network that you control, consider implementing quality of service (QoS) settings on your router. QoS prioritizes voice traffic over other types of network traffic, helping to minimize latency, jitter, and packet loss that can disrupt wifi calls.

Many modern routers include QoS settings specifically for wifi calling and VoIP. Consult your router‘s documentation or contact the manufacturer for guidance on enabling QoS.

3. Update Your iPhone‘s Software

To take advantage of the latest wifi calling features and optimizations, keep your iPhone updated with the most recent version of iOS. Apple often includes performance improvements and bug fixes for wifi calling in iOS updates.

To check for and install available updates:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap "General"
  3. Tap "Software Update"
  4. If an update is available, tap "Download and Install"

4. Restart Your iPhone and Router

If you‘re experiencing recurring issues with wifi calling on your iPhone, try restarting your device and home router. This can clear up network connection glitches and help re-establish a clean connection to your carrier‘s wifi calling service.

To restart an iPhone X or later, press and hold the side button and either volume button until the power off slider appears. For older iPhones, press and hold the side or top button. Drag the slider to power off your iPhone, then press and hold the side/top button again until the Apple logo appears.

Using Wifi Calling on Other Apple Devices

One of the great benefits of wifi calling on iPhone is the ability to extend the feature to other compatible Apple devices logged into the same iCloud account, like an iPad or Mac. With wifi calling enabled, you can make and receive calls on those devices whenever they‘re connected to the same wifi network as your iPhone, even if your iPhone isn‘t nearby.

Enabling Wifi Calling on Other Devices

To set up wifi calling on additional Apple devices:

  1. On your iPhone, go to Settings > Phone > Wifi Calling
  2. Tap "Calls on Other Devices"
  3. Toggle on "Allow Calls on Other Devices"
  4. Select the device(s) on which you want to allow calls

On your other Apple device(s), go to Settings > FaceTime and toggle on "Calls from iPhone." This lets you make and receive wifi calls using your iPhone‘s number right from a supported iPad, iPod touch, or Mac. Just make sure the device is signed into the same iCloud account and connected to wifi.

According to Apple, wifi calling is supported on the following devices running the latest software:

  • iPad or iPod touch with at least iOS 9
  • Mac with at least macOS 10.11 El Capitan
  • Apple Watch with at least watchOS 2

The Future of Wifi Calling

The rise of wifi calling has major implications for the future of mobile networks and carriers. As more calls shift from cellular voice to VoIP over wifi/internet, traditional voice revenue is declining. A 2021 report by JPMorgan Chase estimated that the major US wireless carriers now generate less than 5% of revenue from voice.

In response, carriers are increasingly focusing on monetizing mobile data while treating voice as an add-on service. T-Mobile has even launched home internet service with wifi calling as a key selling point for households looking to cut the cord on landlines.

Meanwhile, the growth of wifi calling is part of a larger trend toward "fixed-mobile convergence" – the merging of fixed broadband and cellular into a single, seamless service. The new 5G wireless standard will further blur the lines with support for high-quality VoIP calling over 5G.

Some experts believe wifi calling could eventually eliminate the need for a separate cellular voice network altogether. In a 2020 interview with FierceWireless, Dave Mayo, a former T-Mobile executive, predicted that "voice will be extinct" on 5G networks as carriers prioritize data and voice-over-wifi.

Comparing iPhone Wifi Calling to Android

While this guide focuses on using wifi calling on iPhone, it‘s worth noting that many Android devices also support the feature. Setting up wifi calling on Android is a similar process of enabling it in the device settings and providing an E911 address.

However, there are a few key differences between iPhone and Android when it comes to wifi calling:

  • Availability: Wifi calling is supported by more carriers on iPhone than Android. Some low-cost cellular providers only allow wifi calling on select Android models.
  • Setup: Android devices typically have wifi calling disabled by default and prompt you to enable it when you first set up the device. On iPhone, wifi calling is often enabled automatically if your carrier supports it.
  • Interfacing with other devices: iPhone‘s tight integration with iCloud and other Apple devices makes extending wifi calling to an iPad or Mac more seamless than with Android.
  • International use: iOS allows you to use FaceTime audio over wifi while traveling internationally. Most Android devices do not support wifi calling outside your home country.

Ultimately, both iPhone and Android offer a reliable wifi calling experience. The best platform for you likely depends on your carrier, other devices, and personal preferences.

Security and Privacy Considerations

When using wifi calling, it‘s important to be aware of potential security and privacy risks. While your carrier encrypts wifi calls between your iPhone and their network, the security of the underlying wifi network is a separate issue.

On an unencrypted public wifi network, like those at many coffee shops and airports, other users on the same network could potentially eavesdrop on your calls using packet sniffing tools. Similarly, connecting to a malicious wifi hotspot could allow an attacker to intercept your wifi calling traffic.

To minimize these risks, follow these wifi calling security best practices:

  • Avoid making wifi calls on public or untrusted networks
  • When in public, use your cellular connection or a VPN to encrypt your internet traffic
  • Keep your iPhone updated to protect against any wifi calling security vulnerabilities
  • Only enable wifi calling on your home and work networks that you know are secure

If you‘re concerned about privacy, be aware that your carrier collects data on your wifi calling activity, just like cellular calls. This includes who you call, when, and for how long. Carriers may also use your wifi calling location data for E911 purposes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have questions about using wifi calling on iPhone? Check out these FAQs:

What do I need to use wifi calling?

To make wifi calls on an iPhone, you need an iPhone 5c or later with at least iOS 8.0, an active cellular service plan, and access to a wifi network.

Can I use wifi calling without a cellular plan?

No, wifi calling still requires an active cellular service plan from a supported carrier. The feature does not work independently over wifi.

Does wifi calling work on airplane mode?

Yes, you can make wifi calls on an iPhone while in airplane mode. Just make sure to toggle wifi back on in the airplane mode settings.

Is wifi calling free?

In most cases, yes. Wifi calls are billed as regular voice minutes or considered unlimited, depending on your cellular plan. However, some carriers may charge an additional fee for international wifi calling, so check with your provider.

How much data does a wifi call use?

Wifi calls do not count against your cellular data allowance. However, a wifi call uses about 1 MB of data per minute, or 60 MB per hour, on average. Keep this in mind if you have a limited data plan for your home wifi network.

Can I handoff a wifi call to cellular?

Yes, you can seamlessly transition a wifi call to your cellular network if you move out of wifi range. You can also handoff a cellular call to wifi by enabling the "Allow Cellular Data Switching" option in your iPhone‘s cellular settings.

Do wifi calls show up on my call log?

Yes, wifi calls appear in your iPhone‘s recent calls list just like cellular calls. However, you can distinguish wifi calls by the small wifi icon next to the number or contact name.


Wifi calling is a game-changing feature for iPhone users looking to stay connected in areas with limited or no cellular service. By routing calls over wifi, you can make and receive calls with high quality almost anywhere with a wifi connection.

As we‘ve covered in this guide, enabling wifi calling on an iPhone is a straightforward process that can be completed in just a few taps. Once set up, your iPhone will intelligently use wifi to place calls whenever the wifi signal is stronger than cellular.

To ensure the best wifi calling experience, use a fast, reliable wifi network and keep your iPhone updated with the latest iOS software. You can also extend wifi calling to an iPad or Mac for added flexibility.

While wifi calling has some limitations, it‘s a valuable tool to have at your disposal, especially for frequent travelers or those in areas with spotty cellular coverage. As carriers continue investing in wifi calling and VoIP technology, expect the feature to only improve in the coming years.

Hopefully this guide has given you all the information needed to start making high-quality wifi calls on your iPhone. If you have any other questions or tips to share, feel free to leave a comment below.