wifi calling mac set-up

How to Set Up Your Mac for Wi-Fi Calling

Posted in How To, Mac, macOS on 12/02/2017 by Chris Hauk

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You can, in fact, make phone calls from your Mac. Wi-Fi (WiFi) calling is one of the perks you get when you choose to go with Apple’s complete eco-system. If you own an iPhone 5c or newer devices and one of the “Wi-Fi Calling” compatible devices (Mac, Apple Watch, iPod touch or iPad), you’re one step closer to making what Apple named “Wi-Fi calls on other devices.” It’s imperative that all your devices are properly registered under one Apple ID connected to one iCloud account.

Apple’s “Other Devices” that support Wi-Fi calling

You can use Wi-Fi Calling on these devices, even if your iPhone isn’t on the same Wi-Fi Network or turned on:

  • iPad, iPad Pro, or iPod touch with iOS 9 or later
  • Apple Watch or Apple Watch Series 2 with watchOS 2 or later
  • Mac including iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro (2012 or later model) with OS X El Capitan or later

How to set up Wi-Fi calling on a Mac

This process allows you to make regular Wi-Fi calls from your Mac using your nearby iPhone connected to the same Wi-Fi network

  1. On your iPhone, Go to Settings -> Phone -> Calls on Other Devices
  2. Enable your Mac by inputting prompted digits into your iPhone
  3. On your Mac, open the FaceTime app and click “FaceTime” in top left of your menu bar
  4. Click FaceTime “Preferences
  5. Check “Calls from iPhone” on the Settings tab

How to Set Up Your Mac for Wi-Fi Calling

Mac -> FaceTime -> Preferences

How to Set Up Your Mac for Wi-Fi Calling

How to make a Wi-Fi call on your Mac

  1. Open FaceTime on your Mac and make sure you’re connected to the Internet
  2. Make sure you’re on the same Wi-Fi network as your iPhone
  3. Click on desired contact’s “i” icon to display all options
  4. Hover over the phone number to the “Phone” icon
  5. Click on the “Phone” icon to make the call
  6. Let it ring and connect

How to Set Up Your Mac for Wi-Fi Calling

When you’re trying to call a non-Apple user, the process looks more like this:

How to Set Up Your Mac for Wi-Fi Calling

U.S. mobile carrier support

All of the four major carriers in the U.S. support this method of calling on from your Mac, or “Other Devices.” If you wish to check whether your smaller carrier supports the feature, visit the Apple Support website.

By enabling Wi-Fi Calling on your Mac, you allow yourself more options for making or receiving phone calls. This is particularly handy if you receive a call when your iPhone is in another room when it rings. (I really have to stop leaving my iPhone on the kitchen counter when I get my morning coffee…)

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  • SV650

    No. Wi-Fi calling is where the carrier allows your phone to connect to their calling network via Wi-Fi when your cellular signal is poor to non-existent. Inter-device calling has been available between Apple devices since well before the release of the Watch.

    • Kip Beatty

      You’re right and wrong. Yes, wi-fi calling is ALSO the feature that allows your phone to make a call via wi-fi if the signal is poor, but that’s not this. Nor is this inter-device calling where the Mac uses the iPhone to make and receive calls.

      This is dedicated wi-fi calling and it’s relatively new. When enabled by your carrier, you can make a wifi call on your Mac even if your iPhone is off or not around. Same for your watch and iPad. It’s very cool.

      • SV650

        Then you should differentiate by calling it what Apple does: “Wi-Fi calling over iCloud Connected Devices” However, your entire article describes the existing Interconnectivity, including:

        “How to set up Wi-Fi calling on a Mac
        This process allows you to make regular Wi-Fi calls from your Mac using your nearby iPhone connected to the same Wi-Fi network.”

        and
        “How to make a Wi-Fi call on your Mac
        1. Open FaceTime on your Mac and make sure you’re connected to the Internet
        2. Make sure you’re on the same Wi-Fi network as your iPhone…”

        If it does indeed work as you suggest, and your phone does not need to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network as the other devices, possibly you should clarify in your article.

        • Kip Beatty

          I might have clarified between the two, but I didn’t write the article. For what it’s worth, for whatever reason, AT&T (my carrier) simply refers to this as “wi-fi calling” as well. Within your iPhone settings, if your carrier supports this, within “Phone” you should see “Calls on Other Devices” right under “Wi-Fi Calling”. The description says:

          “Allow other devices signed into your iCloud account to make and receive calls using your carrier account even when your iPhone is not nearby.”

          I can confirm it does indeed work as I suggest, and as I’ve said, it’s really cool and very handy. I was in Lowe’s the other day when I needed to call my wife and ask a question. I realized I left my iPhone in my car, which given the size of Lowe’s was about 2 miles away. Since Lowe’s had free wi-fi, I was able to call her using my Apple Watch. Awesome!

          • SV650

            My apologies for associating you as author, and thanks for the additional clarification.

          • Kip Beatty

            No worries, the distinction between the two is confusing. The wi-fi calling you’re thinking of has been around a while, then this new wi-fi calling comes along. In fact, when AT&T first popped up the message on my iPhone asking if I wanted to enable/allow it, I was confused because I knew I had already turned it on. It was only after I dug a little deeper that I realized this was entirely new and much more useful.

  • gracion

    Without Phone? On my iPhone 5S, I’ve enabled “Allow Calls on Other Devices” including my Mac (Sierra) and iPad (Air, ios 10). And I’ve enabled it for Facetime on both, and can make/receive calls via the iPhone. But if I turn the iPhone off, attempting to make a call fails (literally, it says “Call Failed” after I attempt to place call.) The wording in Settings/Preferences mentions the iPhone being “nearby”. But this is also supposed to work without the iPhone, correct? What am I missing?

    • Kip Beatty

      There are a couple of possibilities:
      1. Who is your carrier? Not all carriers support this yet. I have AT&T and a short while back (2-6 months, my memory is bad) a message popped up on my iPhone asking if I wanted to enable wi-fi calling on other devices. I said yes.
      2. In your iPhone settings, under “Phone”, if your carrier supports it and you’ve asked to allow it, you should see a setting for “Calls on other Devices”. Here you can enable/disable calls on your Mac, iPad, Apple Watch, etc. Make sure the device you want to use is enabled.

  • Mac WiFi Calling

    There are three types of Wi-fi calling from Apple’s point of view. This article covers #2.

    1) Wi-Fi calling on your iPhone (wi-fi network assists to cover bad cellular reception area on your iPhone only). All carriers support this.
    2) Wi-Fi calling through OTHER DEVICES such as iPad, Apple Watch, or Mac (this article is about). iPhone has to be connected to the same wi-fi as your OTHER DEVICE. All carriers support this.
    3) Wi-Fi calling through iCloud-connected devices (iPhone doesn’t have to be nearby or even turned on for you to make calls from e.g. iPad, Apple Watch, or Mac. All major carriers support this except for Verizon. Verizon should support this in iOS 10.3

Author

Chris Hauk

MacTrast Senior Editor, and self-described "magnificent bastard," Chris Hauk owns Phoenix Rising Services and writes for everyone's favorite "bad movie" website, Big Bad Drive-In.

His first Apple product was an iPod Classic 9 years ago, and he has since added a MacBook Pro, a number of iPads, iPhones, and multiple Apple TVs to his collection.

He lives somewhere in the deep Southern part of America. Yes, he has to pump in both sunshine and the Internet.