Here is a new feature – at least to Verizon Wireless that I have been waiting for and it has finally arrived, at lest for some of us. Wi-Fi Calling is arriving and for those of us who work, live or visit areas that have poor cellular coverage this will be a winner.
What is Wi-Fi Calling and How To Use It
Wi-Fi calling allows your iPhone to place and receive phone calls and text messages over a Wi-Fi network. If you have a weak cellular signal but a solid Wi-Fi signal, your iPhone will automatically switch over and route calls and texts via Wi-Fi.
Apple first added support for Wi-Fi calling to the iPhone with iOS 8, and it’s gradually becoming supported on more and more carriers, including the latest addition of Verizon Wireless on iOS 9.3. You can only use this if your cellular carrier supports it.
This is disabled by default, so you’ll have to enable it before it will do anything. Once you’ve enabled it, it will “just work” and your phone will automatically switch to Wi-Fi when necessary. You’ll see this indicated in the status bar — for example, it will say “T-Mobile Wi-Fi” rather than “T-Mobile LTE” if you’re using T-Mobile and your phone is currently connected to Wi-Fi rather than the LTE cellular network. Dial a number or send a text message in the normal way while “Wi-Fi” appears in your status bar and it will connect over the Wi-Fi connection instead of the cellular one.
It’ll automatically switch between cellular and Wi-Fi networks as you move out of an area covered by Wi-Fi, so you don’t have to do anything different or even think about it.
This only works if your carrier has enabled the necessary support on their end. The carrier has to be able to automatically route calls and texts to you over the Internet.
How to Set Up Wi-Fi Calling
You just need two things to use this feature:
- A carrier that supports Wi-Fi calling: In the US, T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T support this. Verizon is also very recently began to support this – as long as you are running iOS 9.3 or higher. More carriers should support it in the future.
- A special note about Verizon Wireless. As of this report Verizon Wireless only supports Wi-Fi Calling on iPhone 6 and newer and Samsung Galaxy S6 and newer. I am sure more models will be supported soon so stay tuned if you have a different mobile device.
- An iPhone 5c or newer: Older iPhones don’t support this. You’ll need an iPhone 5c, 5s, 6, 6s, or a newer model to use this feature.
How to Enable Wi-Fi Calling
To enable Wi-Fi calling, open the Settings app on your iPhone, scroll down, and tap Phone. Tap “Wi-Fi Calling” under Calls and activate the “Wi-Fi Calling on This iPhone” slider.
You should also tap “Update Emergency Address” and ensure your carrier has a correct address. If you ever dial 911 over a Wi-Fi network, the emergency responders will see your call associated with the emergency address you enter here.
You will also need to log into your cellular account and turn on “Wi-Fi Calling” for each phone. Be aware that Verizon calls this “HD Voice”. Turning this feature on is free – but you will need to do this as well.
Living With Wi-Fi Calling
Wi-Fi calling isn’t a feature you willl notice a lot after you enable it, but it will make your iPhone work much better in areas with low cellular reception but a solid Wi-Fi signal. For someone like me where I have very poor cellular coverage in and around my home this is huge!