By Dan Moren
October 8, 2015 11:56 AM PT
Wi-Fi calling now available on AT&T iPhones
Note: This story has not been updated for several years.
Update: It seems that AT&T is not supporting this feature on the iPhone 5s, only the iPhone 6 or later.
The good news is that AT&T and the FCC seem to have finally finished whatever
spat discussions they’ve been having, and iPhone users on the carrier can now enable the Wi-Fi Calling feature added for all in iOS 9. (Previously, it was offered by other carriers, including T-Mobile, but not for AT&T.)
To enable the feature, open up Settings > Phone and flip the Wi-Fi Calling on This iPhone switch to On. You’ll then have to accept some agreements and update your emergency address–the reason being that when a call is routed over Wi-Fi instead of the traditional cellphone network, 911 emergency services can’t necessarily figure out your current location. If that happens when you’re on Wi-Fi, first responders will be sent to whatever your default location is (probably your home).
Once you’ve got Wi-Fi Calling enabled, it should work automatically as needed. As a test, I flipped my phone into Airplane Mode, activated Wi-Fi, and sure enough, AT&T Wi-Fi showed up right in the status bar. Making a call on it worked perfectly fine, and while I didn’t notice any particular sound improvement, that may be because I was calling someone on a landline.1
As someone who lives in an apartment with an often unreliable cell signal–and as I write this, I note that my iPhone has automatically switched over to AT&T Wi-Fi–I’m looking forward to this feature.
Also of note: while in the past, it seemed like you had to choose between Wi-Fi Calling and the ability to place calls from your Macs, iPads, and so on, it seems that the conflict has been resolved as of iOS 9: I had both Wi-Fi Calling and Calls on Other Devices enabled, and there doesn’t seem to be any interference.
- The other week I called my cousin who is also on an AT&T iPhone, and we ended up with a crystal clear connection that sounded more like FaceTime Audio, so I assume that was an HD connection. ↩
[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Mastodon at @firstname.lastname@example.org or reach him by email at email@example.com. His latest novel, the supernatural detective story All Souls Lost, is out now.]
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