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How to Use WiFi Calling on Your iPhone

by Suzanne Kantra on November 14, 2023

Updated on 11/14/2023 with iOS 17 screenshots and WiFi calling information for additional Apple devices.

Even when you can't get a cell phone signal, you can still make calls and receive texts on your iPhone. With WiFi calling, your calls and texts are routed through whatever WiFi network your iPhone is logged into instead of your carrier's cellular network. That means you can still be reached in the subterranean levels of hospitals, coffee shop dead zones, and anywhere else with good WiFi that you can't get a cellular signal.

How to activate WiFi calling

WiFi calling has been available on all models since the iPhone 5c. Your carrier needs to support WiFi calling – all the major carriers do, plus the U.S. carriers on this list.

However, WiFi calling isn’t automatically enabled on iPhones. To turn on WiFi calling, go to Settings > Cellular > Wi-Fi Calling and then toggle on Wi-Fi Calling on This Phone.

Two screenshots of Settings. On the left,you see the main Cellular menu with Wi-Fi Calling pointed out. On the right, you see  the Wi-Fi Calling page with the option to toggle on Wi-Fi Calling on This iPhone, Update Emergency Address, and Add Wi-Fi Calling For Other Devices.

Your iPhone usually sends your location when you call 911. However, when using WiFi calling, your phone will use the Emergency Address you have stored on your iPhone. The best option is to make your home address your Emergency Address since that is where you spend most of your time. But keep in mind that if you have an emergency elsewhere when using WiFi calling, you will need to provide your current location or help may be delayed.

After you turn on WiFi calling, you can also choose to make WiFi calling available on any of your other Apple devices that are signed into your iCloud account, such as your Mac or iPad. These devices will be able to make and receive calls even if your iPhone isn't close by.

How to make a WiFi call

Once you activate WiFi calling, you dial or text as usual. The routing of your call or text is handled automatically in the background. Simple, right?

WiFi calling costs

There is no extra charge for using WiFi calling, any calling fees will follow the rules of your existing cellular plan. This means if your plan isn't unlimited, WiFi calls will consume your monthly call minutes and calls to international numbers may incur fees.

For travelers, WiFi calling is especially beneficial. It typically eliminates roaming and international charges for calls and texts back to the U.S., and many plans offer free calls to Canada and Mexico. However, be aware that international rates apply when calling non-U.S. numbers, and some countries, like China, Cuba, and North Korea, do not support WiFi calling.

Check out the WiFi calling pages on your carrier's site for full details on included features, limitations, and charges:

Need to set up an Android phone for WiFi calling? Check out our story on How to Use WiFi Calling on Your Android Phone.

[Image credit: woman talking on cellphone in coffee shop via BigStockPhoto]

For the past 20+ years, Techlicious founder Suzanne Kantra has been exploring and writing about the world’s most exciting and important science and technology issues. Prior to Techlicious, Suzanne was the Technology Editor for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and the Senior Technology Editor for Popular Science. Suzanne has been featured on CNN, CBS, and NBC.


Topics

Phones and Mobile, Mobile Apps, Tips & How-Tos


Discussion loading

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From Carl Chappell on March 12, 2020 :: 3:18 pm

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the ads that pop up right in the middle of your great articles while reading the articles is incredibly annoying!

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Yes well said

From exactly on May 11, 2022 :: 9:35 pm

exactly, well said…we have mentioned before too..but nothing is done…plus the whole busyness of the pages bog them down

Reply

WiFi calling to the States on my AT&T Phone from overseas.

From Henry Kalir on June 29, 2020 :: 2:53 pm

“WiFi calling is perfect for overseas travelers because there‚Äôs typically no roaming or international charge for making calls or sending texts back home”.

I was banking on this when traveling overseas. BUT - having done it all, I get a “No Network Connection” message, even though the phone is CLEARLY connected to the network, and receives messages without any problems.

Prior to my overseas trip - I was told by ATT to enable Cellular WiFi calling (as you’ve outlined) but keep the phone on Airplane mode, to avoid the international calls.

Any advice would be MUCH appreciated!

Reply

Which country are you in?

From Josh Kirschner on June 30, 2020 :: 11:59 pm

Hi Henry,

Which country are you trying to call from? According to AT&T, WiFi Calling is restricted in China, Saudi Arabia, India, Turkey, Israel, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Pakistan, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria.

Best,
Josh

Reply

Problem solved

From Henry on January 25, 2021 :: 9:30 pm

Hey Josh,

The solution’s easy: I simply switched to Verizon - at least as far as WiFi calling from Israel goes - there are no restrictions! Works like a charm.

Reply

Difference between wifi calling and what's?

From Ivan on May 07, 2022 :: 9:34 am

What the difference between What’s up calling on an old samsung phone 2015 and a new samsungA52 with wifi calling?

If a buy a cheap A52s without wifi calling and I phone with what’s upapplication will it I be able to phone with what’s up?

Reply

Your phone doesn't need to

From Suzanne Kantra on May 13, 2022 :: 4:49 pm

Your phone doesn’t need to support WiFi calling to use WhatsApp for calls. WhatsApp uses the internet to place and receive calls, so as long as the phone has access to WiFi and can run WhatsApp, you can make calls.

Reply

Wifi calling

From Aztecace on May 12, 2022 :: 9:07 am

If you are talking about wifi assisted calls, for when your network isn’t strong enough, I had a problem with it on my previous phone, it was actually worse, than my network, and the calls would drop if I went beyond the wifi rather than switching to my network, which is what wifi assisted should have done. Now using What’s app which is totally wifi is great, chat with my friend when he’s in the UK with very clear calls

Reply

Cellular or wifi?

From Ed on February 18, 2023 :: 9:00 pm

I have a cellular plan with ATT and the wifi call is activated. Now, when I make a call, which one ATT or wifi will take my call?

Reply

It's based on your phone settings

From Josh Kirschner on February 20, 2023 :: 12:40 pm

If you have an Android device, you can set your “Calling preference” in your Settings under “Wi-Fi calling” to prioritize either calling via Wi-Fi or mobile. There is no equivalent setting for iOS and your iPhone will likely prioritize Wi-Fi calling if you have Wi-Fi calling turned on.

Reply

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