Conference calling on your iPhone is basically a single-tap process, but there are other features you should know about to make the process easier to manage.
In the past we’ve covered the many things you can do while talking on the iPhone, but if you want to talk to more than one person it helps to know how to add calls, merge them, and end individual calls without getting confused.
Did you know that with the arrival of iOS 8, Apple even added FaceTime Audio conference calling?
Making Conference Calls
Apple allows for up to five calls to be merged using its conference call feature. While you can certainly dial individual party lines to add them to the conference, you might find it easier to access those numbers in your Contact list, reducing the need to dial the numbers.
To set up the conference, do the following:
1. Call the first person as you normally would. Let the person you call know that you’re going to add other callers.
2. Tap the Add Call button on the iPhone.
3. After the second person answers your call, tap the Merge Calls button. At this point notice that the names of the two callers are listed at the top of the phone. This is another reason to have party lines listed in your Contacts, because you can see their names listed during the calls.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for each additional call. After each call is merged, the Add Call button will re-appear. Note, you can also tap on the Contacts button to call and merge another recipient into the conference. At this point, it’s best to tap the Speaker button so you can speak all party lines without holding the phone to your ear.
Note: You may not know it, but you can also make audio phone calls using FaceTime over Wi-Fi and your mobile data plan. FaceTime Audio calls (not video calls) are also compatible with conferencing features, but these calls can only be made with other iPhone or Mac users.
Handling Incoming Calls
You can also accept incoming calls during your conference call. When you receive a call, tap on the Hold & Accept button, and then merge each caller into the conference call. If you don’t want to accept a call, tap the Send to Voicemail button. Pay close attention to the End & Accept button, it will end the connection with all current conference parties.
If you don’t want to receive calls during your conference call, open the Settings app on your phone, tap Do Not Disturb, and manually enable the feature (also accessible from Control Center, by swiping up from the bottom edge of the phone). This will silence all incoming calls and alerts.
During a conference call, you can talk privately with one person during the conference or end a call. To do this, tap on the blue “i” button on the top-right. This can only be done when all the calls are merged.
In the next window, all the connected party lines will be listed and you can check which one you want to end or talk privately to. The other party lines will remain on hold.
Accessing Other Apps
During a conference call, you can actually leave the iPhone app and open other apps. To do this, tap the Speaker button in the phone app then press the Home button on your iPhone. Be careful, of course, not to tap the red phone button, which will end all calls. Now you can open, for example, a notes app or a web browser app to get information while still holding the conference call.
To get back to the phone app, tap the green bar at the top of the phone.
If you’re in a situation where you don’t want other people to hear you during the conference, you can briefly mute yourself, but still hear others talk. Simply tap the Mute button and you’re good to go.
Practice Makes Perfect
You might want to practice the conference call process outlined above with friends or family members, so that you don’t feel clumsy when making that all important business or meeting call.
Do you make conference calls from your iPhone?