“We Have Different Phone Numbers, Why Are Our iPhones Ringing at the Same Time?”

Dec 15, 2014 - 58 Comments

Different iPhones Ringing Together At the Same Time

Many iPhone users have discovered that since updating a few of the household phones to the latest versions of iOS, suddenly when one iPhone rings, so does another completely different iPhone with a different phone number. This is often the case with spouses and partners who find their iPhone ringing when their wife or husbands iPhone gets a call, and vice versa. You have different phone numbers and different iphones, so why on earth are they both ringing together?


There are actually two reasons that different iPhones with unique phone numbers will ring at the same time as each other, which gives you some options on how to deal with it. Settings-wise, the reason the phones actually ring together is due to a new feature FaceTime called iPhone Cellular Calls, but the underlying cause is more relevant, and that is the sharing of a single iCloud and/or Apple ID. Thus, to resolve the different iPhone ringing together thing, you can either just disable FaceTime iPhone Cellular Calls, or better yet, use a different and unique Apple ID per person (meaning both partners have a unique Apple ID for their specific iPhones).

Half-Solution: Disabling the FaceTime iPhone Cellular Call Feature on Each iPhone

This will stop the different iPhones with unique phone numbers from ringing at the same time, but it does not resolve the underlying cause which is the usage of the same Apple ID on different phones.

  1. Open the Settings app on both iPhones, then choose “FaceTime”
  2. Toggle the switch for “iPhone Cellular Calls” to the OFF position on both phones

Stop different iPhones ringing together by turning off FaceTime iPhone Cellular Calls feature

This will stop the two different iPhones ringing together, but it’s really not the best solution as we’ll cover in a moment.

You’ll also find that by disabling the FaceTime iPhone Cellular Call feature, that any other associated OS X 10.10 or newer Mac will also stop ringing when an inbound call arrives on the iPhone, as will any iPad or other device that is using the latest versions of software that support FaceTime iPhone Cellular Calling – that may or may not be desirable depending on your situation. If you don’t want that to happen and you only want the iPhones to stop ringing together, you’d need to use different Apple ID’s for the phones, which we’ll cover next.

The Real Solution: Use Different Apple ID Logins on Each iPhone

The ideal solution is to use different Apple ID logins on each iPhone, which likely means logging out of an existing Apple ID / iCloud ID, and then logging into a new one or creating a new login.

You can learn how to change an Apple ID on the iPhone here, it’s not technical, but there are some potential complications that all users should be aware of. Notably, changing your Apple ID can pose a problem with Contacts and shared photos, which are tied to the iCloud account, thus logging out of the same account will stop the sharing of those iCloud details. Admittedly, this could make it annoying or impractical for some users, so you’d only want to do this after backing up each device so that if you decide it’s way too annoying or detrimental you can just quickly revert your changes again.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPhone, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

58 Comments

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  1. Steve says:

    This is really annoying and Apple should have foreseen the problems with sending phone calls to every single Apple ID device that is logged in. Other than the unwanted symphony of the whole household of hardware ringing, I mean.

    Aside from that, I wonder how many “external” relationships this has exposed? For calls and iMessages… upgrade to iOS 8 and suddenly your “external” partner talk is getting sent to the husband / wife too! Probably a fair amount! Maybe this is why so many people hate iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite? LOL.

    From the screen shot shown up top: “Damnit Ivy, you’re going to blow it!! Every time you call me you’re calling my wife at the same time! We have such a good thing going, don’t blow it Ivy! I hate iOS 8, you ruined my relationship!”

  2. mike sanders says:

    The phone shown is clearly US on non US phones it is iPhone Mobile Calls just in case anyone this side of the world is reading this article.

  3. Shilo Watts says:

    This would be nice if it actually worked, but sadly doesn’t work for me “(

    maybe they can fix this in the next cydia update.

  4. Chris Giordano says:

    Some people might be scared of getting their own Apple ID because they’ll lose access to purchased apps or media. One thing I’d suggest is to utilize the “Family” feature in iOS 8. This means you and anyone part of your family will be able to share purchased items whether it be apps or media. The only actual downside to that is all purchases are tied to the primary member’s credit/debit card, however the primary member can set it so that purchases need approval before they go through. It’s a pretty great solution and workaround, especially if you want to have separate Apple IDs which I absolutely recommend.

  5. Mike says:

    The issue with changing IDs is you have to delete all apps and download new. Sure you can continue using the apps already installed but they won’t update sine each app downloaded has your Apple ID listed inside it. Once you change IDs the updated app will have your new ID in it and the existing app has the old and the update will hang. My brother was going to do this with his family this past weekend but realizing all apps have to be wiped and re-downloaded decided not to.

    Same problem inside iTunes. Apple needs to fix how IDs are tied to apps so it’s easy to change to a family account. Then iTunes will work, and syncing will work again for more than the organizer.

  6. I phone user says:

    This is extremely annoying and not something the consumers asked for. Pain in the a$$

  7. Clementina says:

    FIX THIS PLS! I hope an update will fix it. I don’t want another Apple ID with another password to remember.

  8. Karene says:

    This is going to irritate me!!! So much for the family plan I just was talked into. Cloud didn’t do this previously when we both had iPhones. We had only one Apple ID and shared contacts. We have two different phone numbers, it should only ring on that phone!!!

  9. Kevin says:

    It’s ridiculous having to separate apple ID’s and jury rig through Family sharing something that was so simple- I liked having our contacts and calendars sync’d since we’re married and separating our info now creates more hassles and barriers…
    Apple should make it like it was- or maybe we’ll get S6 Edges…

  10. Don says:

    Very frustrated with this! In the last month, I’ve talked with 4 “senior advisors and each of them have a different answer and so far, none of them have worked. A couple of them were adamant that my wife and I each had to have separate icloud accounts and it would not work properly unless we did! BULL ****! I have daughters, family with 4-5 on 1 icloud account and they DO NOT have this problem! They all have the latest ios also! Very frustrated with apple. The real world doesn’t work the way their techs think we do. My wife and I are in real estate. We share contacts, apps, etc., and we need the ONE account! APPLE SCREWED UP EVERYONE ON THIS! Might be time to go a different direction which I’m seriously thinking of doing. It seems like since Steve Jobs is gone, they’re losing direction!

    • cp says:

      As usual, I should have not upgrade to 8.3 (8.1 did not have this issue).
      Apple sometimes likes to take both feet and stick it up their….

      Really, did they not see this as an issue?

  11. Pm says:

    I checked both husband and I phones. Neither one of us had the iPhone cellular button on. But we have been receiving each other’s calls, etc. Adding another Apple ID etc. is totally inconvenient and irritating. It’s just not feasible.

  12. Justin says:

    If I create a separate Apple id for my wife’s phone, will we still be able to use the find my phone feature or will I just have to key in her Apple id on my phone to track it?

    • Paul says:

      If you use separate Apple ID’s for separate peoples iPhones – which you should, that is the best approach for backups and to not mix up text messages and calls – you will need to enter the other Apple ID into Find My iPhone to find and track it if it goes missing and locate it on a map. But you can also track a missing iPhone with Find My iPhone from iCloud.com with any web browser on a computer.

  13. Danger says:

    Wonderful Apple. Every phone call I make or recieve shows up on my wife’s phone. And every call she makes or receives shows up on my “recents”. Get your collective Apple heads out of your arse. You say fix it by doing this or doing that. NEWS FLASH…it should never have happened.

  14. Maria says:

    I’m having the same issue with my husband and daughter, we all ring. And I’m also getting my husbands in going and out going calls in my recents even when he’s at work. And this all started when we switched carriers from Att to Verizon. I think it’s just Verizon. We have the same phones. We just switched carriers.

  15. Shelly says:

    Agh! This sucks. I have children and find my phone is a feature we use all the time. What the heck were they thinking this is a big pain in the a**. I am not getting my kids thier own apple ID. I turned off cellular on both phones it did not help.
    Not impressed!

    • Gungoi Panoit says:

      Each unique iPhone with each unique owner should have its own Apple ID, that’s the way it is set up to be. If you use it outside of that, you may get unexpected behavior you are not impressed with, like the other iPhones ringing when yours gets a call. That is not recommended.

  16. Robert says:

    I travel a lot and I keep two IPhones in two countries (with one apple ID). I might be the only one here but I really like it – it just means I can keep only the currently local IPhone in my pocket and not worry that I miss an incoming call. There is one questions though: Would I face any additional costs for incoming calls if my incoming call from one country is forwarded to another country phone…?

  17. peter says:

    if i leave one phone at home and it ring while I’m out will it still ring on the phone i got with me and which phone pays the cost this could be good like having 2 numbers but only carry one phone cool

  18. Chris says:

    Having this feature switch on unprompted is a serious design flaw. There should be guidance from Apple, but there isn’t. My wife’s calls and mine are mixed, but we have different Apple ID’s.

  19. Alejandra says:

    So those calls are the ones that they got today . So there’s no way a person can lie and say that they didn’t receive or made a call . Right ?

  20. atlantaboudreaux says:

    My family consist of teenage children using “Find My iPhone” so I can see where they are at all times (very handy when the one driving gets lost). In order for this feature to work, all iPhones need to be on the same Apple ID. But I don’t want my children to get my calls! (and I don’t want there’s either!!!)

    • Jen says:

      Same thing here….we all have the same apple id and we never had this problem until this past month. This is ridiculous. I am not creating a different apple id for my 12 year old. No way !

    • John T says:

      Sorry, but a single Apple ID is not required for Find My Friends, or Find My iPhone. My daughter and my wife and I have separate Apple IDs, and the apps work just fine. With separate IDs, though, you have to ask for permission to use Find My Friends. The advantage of this is that you can identify who is where. You might be able to see where all your children are, but can you tell for sure which child is where? It’s better for Find my iPhone, too… you can pick a specific phone to find without having to account for the whereabouts of all the others.

  21. Lisa says:

    How do I get an Apple ID for a child? I can’t create an email address for her since she is under 13?

  22. Sherrie says:

    Well everyone I believe I have the answer. It apparently all has to do with FaceTime. When going into Settings/FaceTime, we all need to make sure that we don’t have “Use your Apple ID for FaceTime.” If it is set to do use Apple ID for FaceTime, for some reason that info will transfer. Make it only so that you can received facetime through your cell number. Once that is done, all is fixed. :)

    • Cassie says:

      OH MY GOSH, AFTER RIPPING MY HAIR OUT FOR MONTHS! YOUR ANSWER SOLVED OUR PROBLEM IN 30 SECONDS. THANK YOU SOOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!

    • Peggy says:

      Sherrie, you are a genius! Tried so many other suggestions, but when I saw Cassie’s response, I tried your suggestion, and YES! It worked for us, too, and without having to create a second Apple ID. And it makes sense that it’d work when you think about it, but I never would have figured it out! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  23. Macy says:

    I’ve done EVERYTHING. I issued us all our Apple id’s seperately. I turned off FaceTime. I still get every single one of my teenage daughters text messages. It is the most annoying thing EVER!!!

  24. John says:

    I’ve a corresponding problem. My wife and I have same ID on iTunes and iCloud, it dosn’t affect calls on both phones, but in my phonelog I can see who has called my wife and who she’s calling – she can’t see mine? Instead she can follow my text messages (we don’t use iMessage)
    We live in DK and I’ve spoken to danish apple tech support, but they can’t figure the how this can happen! Anyone out here heard about this issue?

    • Yes says:

      Yes this is not too uncommon for using the same ID for multiple devices. To stop this, there must be different ID used on each iPhone.

      You need to use different Apple ID and iCloud ID, per device, otherwise the messages and phone calls are shared. It’s that simple.

  25. AShley says:

    Issue: Me and my mother have different numbers but same apple ID… our phones continuously get linked up where I get all her calls/missed calls and they show up in my call log… occasionally the texts will get switched as well.. ANYONE know how to fix this WITHOUT changing our apple ID?!

    • Yes says:

      Yes what you describe is what happens when you have the same Apple ID. As the article says, you have to change your Apple ID. Each unique owner needs their own Apple ID to avoid the numbers and texts crossing between related devices. The only other option would be to turn off all the iCloud features, Phone features, iMessage, etc, but that defeats the point of using an iPhone.

    • Donna says:

      Yes
      Go to Settings
      then Messages
      toggle iMessage to Off

      then go to FaceTime
      toggle iPhone Mobile Calls to Off

      This will stop the sharing of messages and calls. Go back and check both are off as it took a couple of goes with imessage before it stayed Off.

  26. whoop whoop says:

    Go to “settings”
    Go to “calls on other devices”
    turn it off.

  27. Ray says:

    I don’t understand why Apple has to make things so difficult unless they are just trying to pinch more pennies from us by paying for storage on multiple iCloud accounts.

    My wife and I share contacts, notes, reminders, etc…. We want 1 iCloud account that we both use on our phones with no issues like exist now….It used to work and Apple has broken it.

    Put it back the way it was and let those that want multiple iCloud accounts have them but let those of us that want to share an account do so.

    • internet says:

      Each device owner should have their own iCloud account. You can share reminders and notes and contacts through separate iCloud accounts by using the sharing feature.

  28. Gary Rush says:

    We’ve tried all above solutions, no success. Like most of you we’re not creating separate Apple id’s because what if an iPhone is stolen, find my iPhone won’t work. This is definitely an Apple issue. Definitely miss Steve Jobs. #appplefixthis

    • Nitin says:

      Facetime Settings options have changed.

      Go to Settings > Calls > Calls on other devices

      Switch off this feature.

  29. Sammy D'Souza says:

    I was able to do this finally today. Yes, you need two Apple ids but the two phones can stay on the same single Apple ID. The trick was to turn off FaceTime on the second phone, restart both phones, then turn on FaceTime on the second phone – only this time it asks what I’d you want to use. Set that one up, add any emails.etc. et voila, no more ringing on two phones 😀

  30. MSR says:

    I have two iPhones, I am the user of both of them. They both ring in my bag receiving the same call or txt!!!! It is so annoying!! I don’t know which phone the caller actually rings.
    Also it uses the battery unnecessary.
    Also when I want to sent txt from the first of my phones to the second one – this is ending up in a complete mess!!! I cant run my tests anymore!
    I don’t want separate apple ID. It is my Apple ID and I want to use it both of my phones.

    • Donna says:

      Go to Settings
      then Messages
      toggle iMessage to Off

      then go to FaceTime
      toggle iPhone Mobile Calls to Off

      This will stop the sharing of messages and calls. Go back and check both are off as it took a couple of goes with imessage before it stayed Off.

  31. PP says:

    the best solution is this:

    Open the Settings app on both iPhones, then choose “Phone”

    Under Calls select “Calls on other Devices” “When nearby”

    You can disable “Allow calls on Other Devices”
    or if you want you can disable only the devices you don’t want to receive calls but still keep multiple devices to receive calls from.
    Allow Calls ON will show all the devices that have the same Apple ID.

    after selecting on both phones you should be fine.

  32. Richard says:

    Looks like a newbie iPhone User Here, an ex android user perhaps.

    One thing you should do is activated your “Family Sharing”
    You are gonna be the master ID with Credit Card only

    Then get your Daddy Mummy And Kids and all ouf your neighbours to join Family Sharing with another apple ID
    note : do not let other credit card put except you, they will use Master ID Credit card for payment. and you can take decided wheither they want to buy an app or not

    Dont worry for an app they buy, your can share app and they can share an app.

    Other Way use 1 apple ID and turn off in Setting-Phone-Call On Other Devices- Set turn Off
    and also Setting-FaceTime-choose your mobile number, not your Apple ID on each phone

    Damn you stupid ex android user

  33. Richard says:

    Looks like a newbie iPhone User Here, an ex android user perhaps.

    One thing you should do is activated your “Family Sharing”
    You are gonna be the master ID with Credit Card only

    Then get your Daddy Mummy And Kids and all ouf your neighbours to join Family Sharing with another apple ID
    note : do not let other credit card put except you, they will use Master ID Credit card for payment. and you can take decided wheither they want to buy an app or not

    Dont worry for an app they buy, your can share app and they can share an app.

    Other Way use 1 apple ID and turn off in Setting-Phone-Call On Other Devices- Set turn Off
    and also Setting-FaceTime-choose your mobile number, not your Apple ID on each phone

    you stupid ex android user

  34. Nick says:

    I have a personal and work phone (iPhone 5s and 6), Verizon and ATT. I will completely miss some of my work calls and it will go to my personal phone. This may have just cost me a job as I had an interview that went to the wrong number. Will Apple take responsibility for this? DOUBTFUL!

  35. Lou Rey says:

    Latest IOS 10 provides a solution. Go Settings>Phone. Look for CALLS ON OTHER DEVICES and turn feature off. Problem goes away.

  36. tim says:

    Apple are making things far too complex and now iPhone 4s and 5s do not even work properly and it happens when my contract is up for renewal.why? Apple are creating their own market effectively forcing ppl to upgrade as it looks like the phone is playing up and needing upgraded…sooooo frustrating…

  37. Shankar says:

    1) Launch the Settings app on your main iPhone and open the Phone preferences pane

    2) Next, open the Calls on Other Devices preferences pane to choose how other devices will handle your iPhone’s calls. If you want your iPhone to be the only device to take phone calls on, then you’ll just disable calls on other devices completely by turning off the toggle switch at the top of the preferences pane entitled Allow Calls on Other Devices.

  38. Big Yin says:

    F**k Apple the wife left me because innocent enough calls and emails went to her new iPhone.!!!!! Seriously.

  39. Dan says:

    Go to settings/phone. Turn off “calls on other devices”

  40. Zheng says:

    I turned off “calls on another device” on both phones. But the call to my number still go to my wife’s iPhone.

    No calls from her number coming into mine though.

    This problem goes on years….

  41. Paul says:

    Other parts of the world this crap issue is turned off in settings, phone, calls on other devices.
    This stops the phones all ringing but your recents call logs still are synced together so each phone will know who rang in or out on all devices.
    These Apple idiots with the update to 11.0.3 also has hotspot issues. Other devices including iPads are now in the wifi section. You have always seen available wifi connections but now you you also can see available hot connections even if that phones hotspot is turned off. If you select another phones hotspot that phones hotspot is turned on and connected even if you change the password in that phone the hotspot is still overrided and connected. I had to put iPad on flight mode and enable wifi seperately in order for iPad not to override the phones hotspot.
    Real good Apple, again pushing customers into something they don’t want but what Apple want. Probably to make more money on families having to buy the same apps multiple times.

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