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Call forwarding Android: 3 easy methods

call forwarding android

If you answer work calls on your Android cell phone, you’re used to being always on. You’ve made yourself accessible, and you know your customers and prospects are being taken care of. 

The problem? Keeping your business running smoothly when you need to disconnect feels impossible. Maybe you have a big vacation planned. Maybe you’re taking some time off for a new baby. At any rate, you want to make sure someone still answers the incoming calls to your cell phone — even if it isn’t you.

You have a few options for call forwarding on an Android device, which will send your incoming phone calls to another number. We’ll walk you through how to forward calls through your phone and show an alternative via a virtual phone number. 

As you test your options, you’ll want to be a bit like Goldilocks: find the one that’s just right for your business.

Option #1: How to set up call forwarding on Android’s default app

One option for setting up call forwarding on an Android device is to use the phone’s default app. The actual app interface will vary, depending on your device and carrier. However, the process and steps shown here are similar on most Android phones. 

  1. Launch the Phone app.  
  2. Select the three-dot menu in the top right corner and choose Phone Settings.
Android phone settings
  1. Select Supplementary services.
Android supplementary services
  1. Select Call forwarding.
Selecting call forwarding on an Android device
  1. Turn on the options for call forwarding and add the numbers you’d like to forward calls to:
  • Always forward: Forwards all calls to another number
  • Forward when busy: Forwards calls if you’re on another call
  • Forward when unanswered: Forwards if you do not answer the call
  • Forward when unreached: Forwards if you’re out of your service area
Android call forwarding options

To turn it off, return to the same phone settings. Delete the phone number you’d like to remove from call forwarding (Always forward, Forward when busy, etc.). Note that this is only for Android phones; call forwarding on an iPhone is different.

If Goldilocks were testing her Android phone settings, she might think they’re too big. While you have four different call forwarding options, they’re all-or-nothing settings. You don’t have much control over the call forwarding, such as forwarding only at specific times of day.

Option #2: How to set up call forwarding on Android using star codes

Another option is to set call forwarding options at the carrier level. To do this, you’ll do the following within your phone’s dialer:

  1. Press the star key (*).
  2. Dial the 2-digit code based on the chart below.
  3. Enter the 10-digit number you’d like to forward calls to.

Some carriers will end the call automatically; others will need to end with the pound sign (#). Each carrier has a similar process for deactivating call forwarding. 

Below are the major U.S. mobile phone carriers and their codes for activating and deactivating call forwarding. 

Phone providerFeatureActivateDeactivate
VerizonForward all callsDial *72 followed by the 10-digit forwarding phone number. Listen for a series of beeps, and then wait for the call to end automatically.Dial *73. Listen for a series of beeps, and then wait for the call to end automatically.
No answer or busy call forwardingDial *71 followed by the 10-digit forwarding phone number. Listen for a series of beeps, then wait for the call to end automatically.Dial *73. Listen for a series of beeps, then wait for the call to end automatically.
AT&TForward all callsDial *72, enter a forwarding number, and then press #Dial *73#
No answer call forwardingDial *92, enter a forwarding number, and then press #Dial *93#
Busy call forwardingDial *90, enter a forwarding number, and then press #Dial *91#
Safe call forwarding (during an outage)Dial *372, enter a forwarding number, and then press #Dial *373#
Exclusive call forwarding (select calls to another number)Dial *63# and configure up to 20 numbers in the online portalDial *83#
T-MobileForward all callsPress **21*, enter a forwarding number, and then press #Press ##21#
No answer call forwardingPress **61*, enter a forwarding number, and then press #Press ##61#
Unreachable call forwardingPress **62*, enter a forwarding number, and then press #Press ##62#
Busy call forwardingPress **67*, enter a forwarding number, and then press #Press ##67#

The call forwarding settings using carrier star codes can be confusing. Goldilocks might declare too small as she squints to read a cheat sheet she created for herself, since the codes are hard to remember. She probably also thinks, “I don’t have time to set this up each time I need call forwarding.”

She moves on to the next option. 

Option #3: How to set up call forwarding on Android using a virtual number app

You need two things if you use the call forwarding options within your Android device. First, you need to have cell service in order to turn on call forwarding. And second, you need to have a second phone number to receive forwarded calls. A virtual number service like OpenPhone eliminates the need for call forwarding when you’re traveling as long as you have an internet connection. You can take calls from anywhere in the world, as well as share phone numbers with your team members (more on that later).

But if you still need to set up call forwarding while you’re traveling and don’t have cell service or are in airplane mode, you can do so easily. You can even forward calls without having the phone with you. Virtual phone numbers include call forwarding software that allows you to set up call forwarding with only an internet connection. 

Here are the steps to set up call forwarding using the OpenPhone app on your Android device:

1. Download the OpenPhone Android app. Log in to your existing OpenPhone account or create a new one. (You can try out OpenPhone with a seven-day free trial.)

2. If you’re signing up for a new account, select your city or area code in the US or Canada to pick your phone number. You can also get a 1-800 toll-free phone number. If needed, you can port a number for free. 

3. Customize your call settings by tapping on your account image in the upper-left corner of the app.

4. Tap on Manage next to Inboxes.

Call forwarding using OpenPhone on Android device

5. Select the phone number for which you want to set up call forwarding.

6. Select Call Forwarding and enter the number (US or Canadian) to which your calls should be forwarded. You can forward calls on OpenPhone to any US or Canadian number

Call forwarding number set up in the OpenPhone Android app

7. When you want to turn off call forwarding, navigate back to the Call Forwarding section and delete the number. Click Save to activate your changes.

6 scenarios when you may opt for a virtual number over Android call forwarding

OpenPhone has straightforward call forwarding, like what’s available within your Android or carrier settings. But other features available with a virtual phone number make it the just right option with the most flexibility. Goldilocks approves. 

1. You want to answer calls from anywhere

Many people set up call forwarding if they travel out of the country and don’t have cell service. You can still use OpenPhone from your computer or the Android app on your smartphone, as long as you have internet access. 

2. You need call forwarding at specific times

When you turn on call forwarding on your Android device, every call will be forwarded until you turn off the setting. This is known as unconditional call forwarding. However, you may want to set up call forwarding for only certain times of the day, such as after business hours or weekends. With unconditional call forwarding, you’d need to remember to turn call forwarding on and off. 

OpenPhone has conditional call forwarding, allowing you to set up call forwarding based on certain conditions, such as your business hours. 

3. Divide call forwarding responsibilities among team members

Call forwarding only allows you to forward to a single phone number. With virtual phone numbers, you can have a shared number. By forwarding phone calls to a shared number, the call will ring multiple people in a call group. You can also set a ring order, so if the first person does not answer, the call goes to the next group or person in order.

Forward phone calls to a shared number

OpenPhone also has warm transfers, so if the person answering the call isn’t able to help, the call can be easily transferred to another team member. Even if you can’t answer the call yourself, you can ensure your customers still have a great experience. 

4. You use a third-party answering service

Call forwarding is particularly helpful if you have a virtual assistant or third-party messaging service that can answer calls when you can’t. Combine this with conditional call forwarding, and you can send calls to your third-party answering service outside of business hours. 

Third-party answering services can also help with call overflow. If calls ring to your entire team and no one is available to take them, they can be forwarded to your third-party service so your customers can still talk to someone.  

5. You want records of customer conversations

If you’re forwarding phone calls to other team members, you want to be assured that calls are handled with the same care you’d provide. OpenPhone has call recordings, call transcripts, and AI-generated summaries so you can review the interactions with your customers. (These can also be invaluable training tools.)

Records of customer conversations

6. You need business texting features

A smartphone does its job with back-and-forth texting, and you may even be able to forward a text on Android if you’re not available to respond. But OpenPhone has additional texting features for businesses that help you save time. You can use snippets, which are like templates for text responses you use regularly. Auto-replies can let your customers know you’re unavailable or direct them to another resource (like your website). 

AI-suggested business texting features

OpenPhone can even generate AI-suggested text responses based on the conversation’s context. You also can give OpenPhone AI a prompt to generate a text message. 

Virtual phone numbers through OpenPhone take you far beyond the standard smartphone features of your Android device, whether it’s more control over call forwarding or other business needs. See if OpenPhone is right for you with a seven-day free trial.

How do I deactivate call forwarding?

On your Android device, you can deactivate call forwarding in your phone’s settings. If you have set up call forwarding through your carrier, you’ll need to use a star code (*) specific to your carrier. Refer to the chart above for the specific star code to use.

Is it possible to forward calls from an Android phone when it’s turned off or out of coverage?

No, your phone must be turned on or within your service area to set up call forwarding using Android’s native settings. 

How much does call forwarding cost?

There is no cost for call forwarding.

What are some limitations of Android’s call forwarding feature?

You need to remember to turn off call forwarding when it’s no longer needed. There’s no way to activate call forwarding at specific times, such as outside of your business hours. Additionally, call forwarding is all-or-nothing, so you have no way to forward business calls only while still receiving personal calls.

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