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How to set up call forwarding on an iPhone in 6 easy steps

call forwarding iPhone

Your bags are packed, your passport is up to date, and you’re ready for some much-needed rest and relaxation. But one thing has been niggling at you – how can you make sure clients can call you (or your business partner) while you’re away? The last thing you want is them reaching your voicemail, hanging up, and calling a competitor.

Or maybe there’s no island vacation on the horizon, but you desperately need that one hour of uninterrupted lunch break. Giving yourself a break – and giving clients an alternative way to reach your business — is possible with call forwarding. In this article, we’ll show you how to set up call forwarding on an iPhone in seconds. Plus, you’ll learn about a better alternative so you can ditch call forwarding altogether.

Find out how to set up call forwarding on an iPhone

Learning how to forward phone calls to another number or device is a must for maintaining a work-life balance. 

To forward calls to another number on your iPhone, follow these steps: 

  1. Tap on “Settings” from the home screen of your iPhone.
Call forwarding iphone step 1
  1. Tap on “Phone” in settings.
Call forwarding iphone step 2
  1. Select “Call Forwarding” from the phone menu.
Call forwarding iphone step 3
  1. Toggle on “Call Forwarding” (it should turn green).
Call forwarding iphone step 4
  1. Select “Forward To” and use the keypad to type in the number you want to forward calls to.
Call forwarding iphone step 5
  1. Toggle off “Call Forwarding” when you’re ready to stop forwarding calls or change the number as needed.
Call forwarding iphone step 6

Limitations of the iPhone call forwarding feature

While Apple’s call forwarding feature may get the job done, it has some drawbacks: 

  • You need to remember to manually toggle the button off from the settings app if you want to disable call forwarding. 
  • You must be within range of a cellular network when setting your iPhone to forward calls. Otherwise, calls won’t be forwarded.
  • There’s no way to forward business calls exclusively – personal calls will get forwarded to the same second number. 
  • You can’t set up conditional call forwarding to activate automatically at a specific time.

4 scenarios when you may need more than iPhone call forwarding

Yes, iPhone users can set up call forwarding on their phone in seconds – and it’s free. But Apple’s default option for forwarding calls wasn’t built with businesses in mind. Here are a few scenarios where you may need a true business phone system to give you more control over incoming calls.

  1. You want to take calls while out of the country

Imagine you’re traveling internationally and unexpectedly misplace or lose your cell phone, or perhaps you deliberately leave it behind to avoid carrying multiple devices. Without your iPhone physically in hand, there’s no way to set up call forwarding to another number. Alternatively, your phone may not support a dual sim, and you may not have a local number to forward calls to.

Virtual phone numbers ensure you remain accessible regardless of your location. VoIP phones let you make and receive calls on your laptop or mobile phone as long as you have a strong internet connection. If you’re without WiFi, you can still set up call forwarding (which we’ll explain below).  

  1. You want to set up call forwarding at specific times

While the iPhone gives you a basic way to redirect calls, you can’t schedule forwarding based on work hours or shifts. For example, you may want to forward calls only during meetings or outside of regular business hours. 

A virtual phone service gives you the option to automate call routing based on predefined schedules, so calls are redirected without constant manual activation.

  1. You need to share responsibility for incoming business calls

If multiple team members are responsible for handling incoming calls, relying solely on iPhone call forwarding may not be enough. Without processes in place to distribute and track incoming calls among team members, there’s a risk of working inefficiently and missing opportunities. 

To avoid confusion about call ownership, businesses can implement solutions such as call queuing and call routing based on availability.

Ring order OpenPhone

You can also have a custom ring group that can ring your team in a specific order.

  1. You need a record of all incoming calls

Many industries need to maintain accurate records of incoming calls for compliance, accountability, and customer service reasons. A virtual phone system lets you track and log every call, including details such as caller information, timestamps, and call duration.

If you’re an OpenPhone customer on our Business plan, you can also get access to automatic call recordings, AI transcripts, and call and message analytics to identify useful trends.

A more effective way to take incoming calls from your iPhone

To recap, having a virtual phone number means you can take advantage of: 

  • Not needing to set up call forwarding if you have an internet connection 
  • Saving time with business phone features like templates, AI-generated responses, and automated text messages
  • Collaborating with your team via shared numbers and ring order

If you’re receiving calls to your virtual phone number and are not around a reliable internet connection, you can follow the step-by-step tutorials below to forward calls on OpenPhone to any US or Canadian number.

How to set up call forwarding on the OpenPhone mobile app

  1. Launch the application and locate your account image at the top left corner.
  2. Select “Manage” next to the section labeled “Your numbers.”
  3. Choose the specific phone number you want to enable call forwarding for.
  4. Tap “Call Forwarding” and input the desired US or Canadian phone number to which calls will be forwarded.
  5. To disable call forwarding, revisit the “Call Forwarding” section, remove the designated number, and save your changes.

How to set up call forwarding on the OpenPhone desktop app

  1. Navigate to “Settings” ⚙️ located in the left-hand menu.
  2. Within the “Workspace” section, click on “Phone Numbers.”
  3. Choose the specific phone number where you wish to enable call forwarding, then select “Forward all calls” under the “Call Flow” settings.
  4. Enter the desired forwarding number and select “Forward.” Please note that we only support forwarding to US or Canadian numbers.
  5. To stop call forwarding, access your number’s settings and choose “Disable Forwarding.”

Level up your business calls with OpenPhone

When you use a virtual number instead of Apple’s built-in call forwarding feature, you have more control over how your team collaborates on incoming calls. You can set up call redirecting at specific times without having to manually turn forwarding on and off.

VoIP solutions such as OpenPhone make your life as a business owner easier with internal communication threads, custom voicemail options, call recording and transcripts, and more. See why OpenPhone is rated the #1 business phone solution on G2 with a seven-day free trial, and then download the OpenPhone iPhone app.


What’s the difference between call forwarding and call waiting?

Call forwarding redirects incoming calls to another number, while call waiting gives you notifications of incoming calls while you’re already on a call.

What happens when you turn on call forwarding on an iPhone?

When you turn on call forwarding on an iPhone, incoming calls are redirected to another specified number.

How do you turn off call forwarding on an iPhone?

To disable call forwarding on an iPhone, access the phone settings, navigate to call forwarding options, and turn it off.

Can I set up call forwarding to an international number on my iPhone?

Typically, you cannot set up call forwarding to an international number on your iPhone due to carrier restrictions.

How do virtual numbers work?

Virtual numbers route calls over the internet to your chosen device, giving you the ability to take calls from anywhere as long as you have WiFi.

How do I share access to an OpenPhone number with my team?

You can share access to an OpenPhone number with your team by inviting team members through the OpenPhone dashboard or phone app, giving them access to manage calls and messages.

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