Just because you’re in the middle of a phone call, it doesn’t mean you can’t multi-task and use your device for other purposes at the same time.
If you want to know what you can do on your iPhone while talking, keep reading. We’re going to find out.
1. Start a Second Call
? Whilst on a call to my Mum on my iPhone SE, managed, with my ear to put her on hold, select Apple support and dial the number. Trouble is that it was a US number and cost me £1.25 for 6 seconds. Then managed to phone a vet! ?
Need to keep an eye on the proximity sensor.
— Glen Wilson (@glenwilson) August 28, 2018
It’s not the 1990s anymore. These days, you can start a simultaneous second call and jump between the two with a tap of the button.
Joking aside, this has practical benefits. For example, you can keep your place in a hold queue, or call a colleague to check specific details during a business call.
To start a second call while talking on your phone, tap on Add Call from the in-call menu. You can either select one of your contacts, or tap the Keypad tab to enter a number manually.
2. Switch to FaceTime
To switch to FaceTime, tap the FaceTime icon on the in-call menu.
If the person you are talking to is a fellow iOS user, you can convert your phone call into a FaceTime call. FaceTime lets you see each other on the screen and introduces additional features such as Memoji, Live Photos, and incoming call alerts.
3. Make Conference Calls
Surprisingly few people are aware of this trick. Your iPhone offers an easy way to create conference calls for up to five people. To begin, follow the same steps as detailed above for starting a second call (press the Add Call button).
Once the receiving party has accepted your call and you’ve established a connection, the on-screen in-call menu on your iPhone will change and reveal a couple of new options.
Tap on the Merge Call button, and the two phone calls will connect on a single line. To add more participants, repeat the Add Call > Merge Call process.
If one member of the conference call hangs up (including you), the other callers will stay connected.
4. Put the Phone on Speaker
This is an obvious one, but for the sake of completeness, we’ll mention it.
To put your iPhone on speakerphone, tap on the Speaker button on the in-call menu. The call audio will then play through your device’s speakers instead of the earpiece.
5. Browse Your Contacts
We’ve all been there. You’re chatting with someone on the phone when they ask if you’ve got the number of a friend, business contact, or colleague.
It’s easy to search your contact list while you’re in a call on iOS. You don’t even need to return to the home screen first. Instead, there is a dedicated Contacts button on the in-call menu.
Using this method (rather than accessing your contact list through the Add Call button) means you won’t accidentally end up making a second call while you’re searching for information.
6. Respond With Instant SMS
Phones have a habit of ringing at the most inopportune moments. Whether you’re about to start driving or standing up to give a big presentation, there are times when you need to speak to the caller, but you’re unavailable at the precise moment.
One way to acknowledge the caller without getting bogged down in a lengthy chat or instant messaging thread is to send an automatic SMS to the person.
To send a message, tap on the Message button while the phone is ringing. There are three pre-written options: Sorry, I can’t talk right now, I’m on my way, and Can I call you later?. You can also enter a custom message by tapping on the appropriate option.
You can overwrite the three default options by going to Settings > Phone > Respond with Text and entering your desired phrases.
7. Mute the Call
This is another obvious one, but the ability to mute a call is vital. You can use it if you need to chat privately with someone in person while you’re on a call, or if you’re in a conference call and there’s too much distracting background noise.
To mute a call on iOS, tap on the Mute button from the on-screen in-call menu.
8. Set a Call Reminder
There’s a second option available to you while the phone is ringing—you can set a reminder for yourself. It’s another feature that’s useful in situations where you can’t answer and don’t want to forget to return the call later.
Two reminders are available. The first will automatically remind you about the missed call in one hour. The second will trigger a reminder when it detects you have left your present location.
The second is more useful if you’re stuck in conferences and meeting rooms. If you’re driving, cooking, showering, or performing some other short-term task, use the time-based reminder.
For the location reminder to work, you need to ensure that the Reminders app is allowed to access your location. To enable the feature, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services and set Reminders to While Using the App.
9. Play a Game
Let’s wrap up with two fun tricks you might not think of. After all, everything on your phone is available if you return to the home screen.
If you have an iPhone 8 or earlier, tap the Home button to return to the iOS home screen. For users of an iPhone X or later, swipe up from the bottom of the screen.
Now you can entertain yourself while you wait for the hold queue to get smaller or for the other person to stop talking. Just open your favorite game in the usual way, and it will work.
10. Listen to a Video or Podcast
Did you know that your iPhone can play audio from both your call and apps like YouTube simultaneously? The call will not mute while you play other audio.
This means that you can watch a video, listen to music, or play a podcast while also keeping an ear on the conversation. Return to the home screen using the instructions detailed above, then open your app of choice.
More Useful iPhone Tips for You
The in-call options on an iPhone are diverse. They allow you to perform any number of tasks to keep your day moving in the right direction.