How to Use Call Forwarding on the iPhone

Mar 10, 2013 - 13 Comments

Forwarding calls on an iPhone

You can easily forward calls from your iPhone to any other phone number. This is a great trick to use in a ton of situations, whether you want to send calls to an office line or landline, you’re in an area with bad reception for and want to redirect calls to a phone with better service, you’re taking a vacation to somewhere without cell service at all and want to leave your phone at home, or if you’re traveling and want to send your calls to a lowcost dumb phone. You can even forward your number to a Skype or Google Voice number if you’d rather accept inbound calls on a VOIP provider, whether that’s on another iOS device or a computer. You don’t need to contact a cell provider or pay any additional fees to use the service, it’s free and everything is done right on your iPhone, here’s what to do.

Turning On Call Forwarding

This will forward all inbound calls to the number you specify, it lasts until the feature has been turned off.

  • Open Settings and choose “Phone”
  • Tap “Call Forwarding” and flip to ON
  • In the text field box, enter the phone number you want to forward all incoming calls to
  • Tap back and exit out of Settings for changes to take effect

Forward calls on the iPhone

As soon as a number is entered, the calls will start forwarding. The example shown is forwarding calls to a number that doesn’t exist:

Call forwarding turned on

You will always know the iPhone is forwarding calls because of the small phone icon in the titlebar with an arrow pointing out of it:

iPhone call forwarding indicator ON

By entering your own voicemail number, you can also forward all inbound calls to voicemail instantly, without having to turn the phone off or manually send an incoming call to voicemail every time. It’s also a handy way to pretend that your iPhone number is no longer in service, by forwarding it to a phone number that’s not active.

From a callers perspective, nothing is different, but your iPhone will no longer ring and instead it will just send the calls off to the number you specified. You can still make phone calls as usual with forwarding on, but return calls will not come back to your phone number even though that number remains on caller id.

Turning Off Call Forwarding

Switching off forwarding is even easier than turning it on:

  • Go back to Settings and choose “Phone” again
  • Tap “Call Forwarding” and flip the switch to OFF

The phone icon should disappear from the title bar, and the iPhone will accept inbound phone calls and ring again as usual.

Set Up Call Forwarding on a Verizon iPhone

Most Verizon iPhone devices will not have the “Call Forwarding” option built directly into iOS Settings, meaning the method described above must be modified slightly. Instead, Verizon users will need to do the following:

Enable Call Forwarding with Verizon: Dial *72 followed by the phone number to forward to. For example: *72 1-408-555-5555

Disable Call Forwarding with Verizon: Dial *73 at any time to disable call forwarding and receive calls on the phone as normal.

The plus side to the Verizon difference is that the trick is universal for all devices and not exclusive to iPhone, meaning you can forward any Verizon number using the *72 method.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, Tips & Tricks

13 Comments

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  1. ept says:

    Add your own voice mail number and you can keep your phone turned on, still get new voice mails alerts, and still make calls out. I think that’s better than Do Not Disturb in my opinion!

  2. ann says:

    It should be noted that this is only for AT&T iphone service. Verizon and other phone services are different.

    • Mike Steebs says:

      Really? Gsm only then? How do you do it on Verizon?

      • ann says:

        On Verizon to forward your phone you dial *72 + phone number you are forwarding to. *73 to disable call forwarding.

        I just think its a software issue between the providers. Yes ATT is easier but in my area Verizon has better service.

    • Rich W. says:

      Sprint is also not built into iPhone’s settings, and what you’d probably expect isn’t free.

      They use a method that involves slightly different codes to turn toggle various types of forwarding. The type of forwarding described in this OS X Daily post, that is instant and can circumvent bad reception, has a $0.20 per/minute fee in addition to what you’re already paying (in most cases).

      The free types are limited in that they have to ring through to your mobile first before being rerouted to ring yet again. Stacking the time for two sets of rings will not only be annoying to your callers, it will be annoying for you as you repeatedly explain the long ring.

      It’s all needlessly complicated, but possible: http://community.sprint.com/baw/thread/101794

      Too bad Apple and the other carriers didn’t/couldn’t/wouldn’t work together on this to create on/off toggles as for AT&T. It really shouldn’t be complicated, hard-to-remember, and cost even more than our slower-in-reality plans (now I understand why Sprint is not afraid of “unlimited” data plans).

      • Rich W. says:

        Little follow-up: Call forwarding for Sprint is slightly built-in to iPhone’s settings.

        What would you think if AT&T only had an “off” button for call forwarding, but not an “on” button? Behold Sprint’s “off” button: Settings > Phone > Sprint Services > Call Forwarding Disable. There is no “on” button. There is no “on” button. There is nothing about on the free forward methods.

  3. kate says:

    hhhmm, good information, I think the gsm service provided will charge us for call forwarding service charges.

  4. Chris says:

    Not possible on Sprint as far as I can tell. Would be nice, though….

  5. tom8 says:

    I can fwd my skype calls after a designated number of rings–now that’s really useful as I can answer the calls at home but they’ll fwd if I’m on the road. Anyone?

  6. Kevin says:

    Does anyone know how to make call-forwarding on specific phone number only?

  7. Eric says:

    It does not work.
    I tried.
    Apple care tried
    AT&T tried.
    I worked at this for a couple hours with phone help.
    No was does it work for me.
    I can only forward my calls by calling AT&T and asking them to do it for me.
    I like to forward to vonage or magic jack when I travel over seas.
    This is a real problem for me.

  8. Talwarh says:

    This is a solution for forwarding all calls to a number… I just want to forward calls when BUSY, UNREACHABLE, NOT ANSWERED ETC

    need a sloution to the above!
    Cheers!
    HT

  9. George zhang says:

    Google phone has excellent call forwarding functions ,iPhone is over valued for combing so many things but leave basic forwarding not available , I am Google phone user .it is $ 200 phone .but good enough

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