Making Real Phone Calls With Your Mac

If you turn on the right options on your iPhone and Mac, you can receive and place phone calls via the FaceTime app on your Mac. These calls can be from or to a non-Apple ID number or even a landline.

Comments: 34 Responses to “Making Real Phone Calls With Your Mac”

    Chris Proudlove
    1 year ago

    Gary, great tip and it works just fine for me here in the UK on EE. Just one question: if I’m calling a landline using Facetime, is the call free of charges from the supplier of my landline phone line? And if so, can I make overseas calls and save myself tons pf money. Or do I stick to WhatsApp, Skype etc.

    1 year ago

    Chris: The call is going through your iPhone’s provider. I would imagine that it would be treated just like if you were calling from your iPhone, in terms of billing and cost.

    Mike Fisk
    1 year ago

    i have AT&T as well. When I slide the “Allow Calls On Other Devices” switch I get a pop up indicating “Cannot Turn on Calls on Other Devices” indicating that “FaceTime and iCloud must be signed in to the same Apple ID to enable Calls from other Devices.”
    I’m pretty certain that they are but will check. Anyone else have a similar experience?

    Cameron
    1 year ago

    What’s the difference between doing this and enabling calls over Wifi?

    1 year ago

    Cameron: Calls over Wi-Fi allows you to use your iPhone to make calls using your home’s Wi-Fi network instead of the mobile phone company towers. What I’m talking about in this video is using your Mac to make the calls, not your iPhone.

    Arnie Keller
    1 year ago

    Given Facebook’s less than stellar protection of one’s data, what info is gathered and kept—and sold—by Facetime?

    1 year ago

    Arnie: FaceTime is a method of placing a voice or video call. It isn’t a social network. It doesn’t have anything to do with data such as interests, hobbies, political leanings, etc. It is similar to Skype or your home landline. So I’m not sure what you are getting at here.

    Scott Smith
    1 year ago

    I get the same message as Mr, Fisk?

    Floyd Wige
    1 year ago

    I have the same issue as Mike Fisk: “Cannot Turn on Calls on Other Devices”

    1 year ago

    Fisk, Scott, Floyd: Did you check your FaceTime settings to see which Apple ID you were using there and whether it matched? On all of your devices? If they match, then perhaps signing out and back in will help.

    Johnny Gonzalez
    1 year ago

    I can receive a call on my Mac with no problem, but I have never been able to initiate a call from my Mac. I always get the message “Your iPhone and Mac must be on the same Wi-Fi network”, even tho they are on the same Wi-Fi network. :(

    Cameron
    1 year ago

    If wifi calling is for the iPhone and not the Mac, then why is there a button in the Mac’s FaceTime preferences that says, “Upgrade to Wifi Calling” right under the checkbox for “Calls from iPhone”?

    1 year ago

    Cameron: This allows your Mac to then use your Wi-Fi to make the call. So Mac->Wi-Fi->out instead of Mac->iPhone->tower->out. I had thought your original question was about the Wi-Fi Calling option in the iPhone settings, not in the Mac’s FaceTime app.

    Johnny Gonzalez
    1 year ago

    Thanks to Cameron and Gary I am able to initiate calls on my Mac now. Thanks! From :( to :)

    Cameron
    1 year ago

    I did both. I checked the box for “Calls from iPhone,” and I upgraded to wifi calling. I was able to:

    1. Call a landline in another state using my MacBook, even with my iPhone turned off.

    2. Call my iPhone’s number using my iPhone, and it rang through to my MacBook, where it was able to be answered and have a conversation between my MacBook and iPhone on the same number. This is a great feature, because we don’t have a landline, but I can still call home and have a family member answer!

    Mike Fisk
    1 year ago

    Gary: I checked iCloud, FaceTime, and logged out and back in each one with the same Apple ID and still get the same result. I’ll call Apple support if I don’t see an effective answer here. Likely a little tweak that hasn’t been discovered here yet.

    I see having this option as a great tool. I spend hours daily at my desk and my Mac Pro with no land line. I will use this option exclusively.

    John S
    1 year ago

    Mike Fisk. Yes the same thing happens to me. At first I got the message on my iphone and I was NOT logged into FaceTime. But I keep getting the message even after I did log on.

    Doris Slattery
    1 year ago

    Gary I’ve been receiving calls on my Mac for some time now. I had never made a call out until just now. It worked fine. I have AT&T as well.
    Thanks for the info.

    Cameron
    1 year ago

    Btw, forgot to mention that we use Verizon. However, we just moved to Alaska, and there are no Verizon towers in are area, so we’re roaming, and calls on the Mac still works!

    Joyce
    1 year ago

    Hi Gary! Hey, I use FT frequently from my iPhone & iPad to talk to kids and grandkids, but have apparently never installed it on my Mac. When I just tried, I got a msg that said it couldn’t be installed because my OS was too new. I’m running High Sierra. Do you know of any fixes for this? Your articles and suggestions have helped me learn a lot. Thank you!

    1 year ago

    Joyce: FaceTime comes as part of macOS, you don’t need to install it. Just search for it with Spotlight or LaunchPad.

    Yarg
    1 year ago

    Gary, cellular option no avail on OS 11.3 in Australia

    Sas
    1 year ago

    Not available in South Africa.
    Everything looks the same as your steps of explanation except that “Cellular” under Settings, is called “Mobile Data” and all the rest is the same but for the explanation wording of how it works: It specifies that this only work when your iPhone is nearby and on WiFi.

    Don
    1 year ago

    Gary, I’m on iOS 11.2.6. But when I go to Settings->Cellular->Calls on Other Devices the description says “Use your iPhone cellular account to make and receive calls on devices signed into your iCloud account when they are nearby and on Wi-Fi.” That’s different from what you’re showing. Any ideas why? I’m on Verizon if that matters. Thanks!

    1 year ago

    Don: Seems to say the same thing. Maybe just a wording difference between AT&T and Verizon.

    BB
    1 year ago

    Gary,
    You can also make calls , when properly set up, directly from your contacts on your Mac/MacBookPro.

    Lali Raj
    1 year ago

    Gary if one turns on the FaceTime preference call from iPhone it says the following: “Use your iPhone cellar account to make and receive calls when your iPhone is nearby and on wi-fi”. I want to know if I want to make an international call; don’t you think it will charge me on my cellar charging?

    1 year ago

    Lali: I would imagine it would be billed just as if you called from your iPhone. But you’d need to check with your carrier to be certain.

    Don
    1 year ago

    Gary, the wording difference seems to be that yours says even if the phone isn’t nearby, and mine says if it is nearby. So different functionality. Didn’t know if it was a Verizon/AT&T difference or if it was some setup option I’d missed somewhere.

    Karl
    1 year ago

    Gary,

    Maybe I’m a little confused by this. I thought in order to receive and make phone calls on the Mac (or an iPad) is that BOTH your iPhone and your Mac had to be on the same WiFi network? It even stats in the settings on the Mac that both have to be on the same WiFi network. Is that not the case, am I not understanding how this work? How else would the Mac make the call if it didn’t have cell phone access? Or is the call being done over WiFi via your internet connection?
    Thanks

    1 year ago

    Karl: Perhaps it has to do with combining the features of “Allow Calls on Other Devices” and “Wi-Fi Calling.” The second is only available if your mobile carried allows it, so not everyone has that. But if you have both options turned on, then it is technically possible to call from your Mac, via Wi-Fi, without your iPhone present (or turned on). After all, if the call is routed via Wi-Fi though the Internet, and not via your iPhone through the mobile tower, then there is no need for your iPhone to be involved, technically. But then again, it could be something that some carriers allow, and some do not, for whatever reasons they have.

    rocky
    1 year ago

    Does not work. Message on iPhone: “Cannot Turn on Calls on Other Devices”
    FaceTime and iCloud must be signed in to the same Apple ID to enable. Calls on Other Devices”

    I have only 1 iCloud account and both are signed into the same account.

    Narelle
    1 year ago

    Can i call my iPhone when i have lost it in the house (from my iMac)?

    1 year ago

    Narelle: If you have lost your iPhone nearby, there is a special function that makes it easy to find: https://macmost.com/find-your-lost-iphone-with-a-sound.html

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