Before we get started
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You don’t have to reach for your mobile every time you need to make a phone call.
If you have an iPhone running iOS 8 or higher, then you can make and receive phone calls from many of macOS’ built-in apps, including FaceTime, Contacts, Safari, Spotlight and Mail.
When you place or take a call using any of these apps, that call gets routed via your iPhone, so your number remains exactly the same – chances are, the person on the other end of the line won’t even realise you’re chatting via your Mac!
In this article, I’ll show you how to make and receive calls on your Mac, so the next time you’re sat at your desk and your iPhone is ringing on the other side of the house, there’s zero chance of you missing that call.
Does call routing contribute towards my minutes?
While making and receiving phone calls from your Mac is convenient, there are some limitations you need to be aware of. Firstly, all phone calls will contribute towards your cellular minutes, so regular charges still apply. Unfortunately, routing calls via your Mac isn’t going to reduce your mobile phone bill!
Secondly, you need to take into account the quality of the audio. If you rely on your Mac’s built-in microphone and speakers then you may find that the person on the other end of the line struggles to hear what you’re saying, and vice versa.
If you plan to route your phone calls on a regular basis, then you should invest in a headset to ensure that the audio is every bit as loud and clear, as it is on your iPhone.
Enable Wi-Fi calls on your Mac and iPhone
Before we begin, make sure your Mac and iPhone are connected to the same Wi-Fi network, and that you’re signed into your iCloud and FaceTime accounts on both devices.
The next steps will vary, depending on which version of iOS you’re using.
On iOS 9 or later:
- Open your iPhone’s ‘Settings’ app and navigate to ‘Phone.’
- Tap to enable ‘Wi-Fi Calling on This iPhone.’
Depending on your mobile carrier, you may also see an ‘Add Wi-Fi Calling For Other Devices’ or ‘Call on Other Devices’ option. This setting lets you make and take calls even when your Mac isn’t connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your iPhone, so you may want to enable this setting, where available.
If your iPhone is running iOS 8 or higher, then you can enable Wi-Fi calls by navigating to ‘Settings > FaceTime’ and then selecting ‘iPhone Cellular Calls.’
Next, you need to enable Wi-Fi calling on your Mac:
- On your Mac, launch FaceTime and sign in with your Apple ID.
- Select ‘FaceTime > Preferences…’ from the FaceTime toolbar.
- Select the ‘iPhone Cellular Calls’ checkbox. If you don’t see this option, then double-check that your iPhone is setup to support Wi-Fi calling and that it’s connected to the same network as your Mac.
Receiving calls from your Mac
Whenever your Mac and iPhone are connected to the same Wi-Fi network, all incoming calls will trigger an ‘Accept an incoming call’ popup on your Mac. To answer the call, simply click ‘Accept,’ and when you’re ready to hang up, click ‘End.’
The ‘Accept an incoming call’ popup also has some useful additional options:
- Too busy to answer the call? You can quickly and easily set yourself a reminder to call this person back, by clicking the little arrow next to ‘Decline’ and then selecting ‘Remind Me.’
- Send a text message. If you and the caller are both signed into Messages, then you can reply with a text message instead, by clicking the little arrow next to ‘Decline’ and then selecting ‘Reply with Message.’
If you want to transfer the call to your iPhone at any point, then simply tap the ‘Handoff’ icon on your iPhone’s lockscreen.
Making calls from your Mac
To make a call from your Mac, you must be signed into FaceTime, but as long as you’re signed into FaceTime in the background, you can make a call from a range of apps:
- FaceTime. Select the ‘Audio’ tab, enter a phone number into the ‘search’ field, and then click the ‘Call’ icon. Note that FaceTime lets you place a call to any number, whereas all other macOS apps are restricted to known numbers, such as people you’ve registered in Contacts or numbers that are publicly available online.
- Contacts. You can call any number that you’ve registered in contacts, by selecting the contact associated with that number, and then clicking ‘Call.’ Alternatively, you can call any of your Contacts, by opening Spotlight (‘Command + Space’), typing the name of the person you want to call, and then clicking the little ‘Call’ icon.
- Safari. Many businesses and organisations include a contact number somewhere on their website. To call any of these numbers, either click the number as it appears in Safari, or hover over it, click the little arrow that appears, and then select ‘Call.’
- Mail. Many organisations include contact information in their emails, most commonly in their footers. To call any number that appears in an email, place your cursor over that number, then click the little popup menu and choose how you want to make the call.
- Maps. Apple’s Maps application often includes contact information for places of interest, such as restaurants and shops. Click the location that you want to call, and then click the little ‘i’ in the subsequent popup and select ‘Call.’
- Calendar. If you’re the sort of person who always adds a relevant phone number to your Calendar events, then you can make a call directly from the Calendar app. Simply find the event, click its accompanying ‘i’ icon, and then select the number.
- Reminders. Similarly, if you added a relevant phone number when you created a reminder, then you can call this number by finding it in the Reminders app, and then giving it a click.