Jonathan Wylie is a writer, educator and podcaster. You can hear the audio version of this article, and others, on the Unpacking iOS podcast
Apple's Continuity Features
If you have multiple Apple devices in your home, you can take advantage of the Apple ecosystem by sharing features between them. Apple calls this Continuity. It's a way to connect your iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch so that they can communicate with each other and help perform a variety of useful tasks. The ability to make and receive phone calls on your iPad or Mac, is just one of these Continuity features, but it's a very popular one. Here are the basic requirements that you need in order to make that happen:
- All devices should be signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID
- All devices need to be signed in to FaceTime with the same Apple ID
- All devices must have Wi-Fi turned on
- All devices must be connected to the same network using Wi-Fi or Ethernet
How to Connect iPhone to iPad
To connect an iPhone to an iPad so that it can make and receive phone calls, grab your iPhone and navigate to Settings > Phone > Calls on Other Devices, and toggle the switch to Allow Calls on Other Devices. When enabled, you should see a list of the other Apple devices that you own. You can choose the iPad that you want to receive calls on by turning on the switch next to the device name.
Once you have granted permission on your iPhone, pick up your iPad and follow the steps below:
- Open the Settings app
- Tap FaceTime
- Turn on the option for Calls from iPhone.
From the point onward, you will be able to use your iPad to make and receive phone calls, so long as your iPhone is nearby and connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your iPad.
Make a Phone Call from iPad
If you are using your iPad, and you decide that you need to make a phone call, there are a couple of options you can try. Here is method one:
- Open the FaceTime app on your iPad
- Tap the plus sign in the top left-hand corner
- Enter the number that you want to call and tap the Return key
- Next, tap the green Audio button to make a phone call from an iPad
An alternative method uses apps like Mail, Calendar, Contacts or Safari. These apps are capable of automatically recognizing phone numbers. When you tap on a phone number, you will see the option to Call Using iPhone. Tap that to make a phone call from your iPad.
How to Connect iPhone to Mac
The process is very similar if you want to make phone calls on Mac computers. You start with the iPhone and make sure you have enabled Calls on Other Devices, (as detailed above). When you've done that, make sure that your Mac is listed as an active device and has the switch toggled to the on position. The remaining steps are completed on your Mac.
- Open the FaceTime app on your Mac
- Click FaceTime in the menu bar
- Choose Preferences, and make sure you are on the Settings tab
- Enable the option that says Calls from iPhone by clicking the checkbox
From this point onward, you will be able to use your Mac to make and receive phone calls, so long as your iPhone is nearby and connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your Mac.
Multiple Ways to Use an iPhone With a Mac
Make a Phone Call From Your Mac
As with the iPad, you can make a phone call on your Mac when you use the FaceTime app. Simply, open the app, enter a phone number in the search box, hit Enter, and click the green Audio button to place a call. Remember, your iPhone needs to be nearby, on the same WiFi network, and connected to the same iCloud account as your Mac.
You can also take advantage of apps that recognize phone numbers. Apps like Safari, Mail or Calendar are good examples of this. When you see a phone number you want to call, hover over it with your cursor, and then click the drop-down arrow. Select Call Using iPhone, to make a phone call from your Mac.
Answer a Call on iPad or Mac
When you connect your iPhone to an iPad or Mac, you will be able to answer calls on any device. On a Mac, you will see a pop-up notification in the top right-hand corner of your screen that has the caller's name/number and the option to accept or decline the call. On the iPad, you will see a call screen that is very similar to the alert screen you get on the iPhone. The caller's name or number will appear at the top of the screen as well as a message that says, "From iPhone."
If you can't take the call right now you can tap Remind Me on the iPad, or click the drop-down arrow on the Mac, to create a note in the Reminders app that will prompt you to call that person back later. You can also tap Message on the iPad, or choose Reply with Message from the same drop-down menu on your Mac, to send a text message to the caller.
Transfer a Call from Mac or iPad to iPhone
If you start a call on your Mac or your iPad, and you want to switch back to your iPhone for more privacy or so that you can continue talking while looking for something that you need for the call, then follow the steps below.
- Unlock your iPhone while the call is active on your Mac or iPad
- Tap the green bar at the top of the screen that says, Tap to return to call
- Next, tap the Audio button on the call screen
- Choose iPhone, to transfer the call back to your phone so you can continue your conversation on your iPhone
Disconnect a Mac or iPad from iPhone
Adding additional devices to make and receive phone calls often sounds like a good idea, but it is not always as convenient as you might expect. So, if you decide that phone calls everywhere are not as useful as you thought they might be, you can disconnect a Mac or iPad from your iPhone with just a few quick taps. All you need to do is pick up your iPhone and navigate to Settings > Phone > Calls on Other Devices, and disable the switch next to the iPad or Mac that you want to disconnect from your iPhone. From this point onward, you will no longer receive calls on that device.
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Jonathan Wylie