Talking on the iPhone, or any smartphone for that matter, is something we take for granted these days. It’s not even cool anymore to be seen doing so. But what’s most useful for about a smartphone is what you can do while you’re talking on it.
Most of us know that we can answer another phone call while talking on the phone, and we can put a call on loud speaker so we don’t have to keep it pinned to our ear. But the iPhone includes several other little tasks you can perform that you may not know about if you’re new iPhone user, or if you just never realized what else you can do during a phone call. Below I start off with the most obvious things you can do, and then describe a few of the hidden or perhaps less known features.
Okay, first off you have probably noticed the features available to you while talking on the phone. You really can’t make a mistake pushing any of these buttons, except the of course the red “End” the call button.
First off, the feature I use the most is the Speaker. This allows you to receive audio without holding the phone to your ear. If you’re put on hold, you can select the Speaker, put down the phone and listen to usually crappy music while you’re on hold. You can also tap the Keypad button while on speaker to type…say an extension number.
Contacts and Green Bar
Have you ever been on the phone and someone asks you for a phone number that you know is on your Contact list? Well, you can actually stay on the call, tap the Speaker button, and then tap the Contacts button to locate the requested contact info.
While on speaker, you just read off the contact information. Now notice the green bar at the top. It appears when you have tapped out of the Phone app, but not the call itself. You simply tap that green button to return to the Phone app and the person you are talking to.
Remember, as long as the green bar is at the top, you’re still on the phone call. So like wise, you can also add contact information to your Contact book while you’re on the phone.
Similar to looking up or adding contact info while on a phone call, you can type a note while on the phone. You don’t need to grab a pen and paper. Instead, put the call on Speaker, and then click the Home button, which will open your current Apps page. From there, open your favorite notes app, and then type the information you’re receiving from the caller.
I like to use Captio ($1.99) or Drafts ($1.99) for this purpose, because these apps automatically open to a new note page, and I can save and send my note in one single tap; and afterwards return to my phone call. Again, just tap the green bar to return to the Phone/call.
Mute the Mic
Another little feature I use often is the Mute button, which mutes the mic on your phone. So if you’re ever talking to someone while you’re in the bathroom, or you need to holler at your kids to shutup while you’re on the phone, simply put the call on Speaker, and then tap Mute. You will be able still hear the call, but the person on the other end won’t hear you flush the stool or shout at your kids.
Add a Call
You can also make another call, while you’re on an existing phone call. Just tap the “add call” button and make the call as you regularly do.
You can switch between phone calls, by tapping the Swap button, or tapping on the name of the call at the top of the Phone app.
At the top of the app, you can see which call is put on HOLD. Tap that button to switch back to the previous caller.
Notice also, you can tap the “merge calls” button which turns the two or more calls you have made into a conference call. You can merge up to 5 calls at one time.
Instant Text Reply
When you receive a phone call, you can either answer or decline that call, and now with iOS 6 update you can also send an instant reply message to the caller. Or you can just tap “Remind Me Later”, which will decline the call and send the caller directly to your voicemail.
You can customize your instant reply message by opening the Settings app > Phone > Reply with Message.
Ignore or Answer Another Call
While you’re on the phone with someone else, you can select to ignore an incoming call, put the current call on hold and answer the new one, or end the current call and answer the new one.
Notice also, you can send a text reply to the incoming call by pushing up the phone icon on the bottom-right of the of the incoming call.
Switch to FaceTime
If you’re on the phone with another iPhone user, you can switch to a FaceTime call with that person while you’re on the phone.
Check Time on Call
If you have never noticed it before, you can always see exactly how long you’ve been on a particular call. That time is displayed right under the name or phone number of the caller.
There may be one or two other features I may have missed for things to do while talking on the phone. If you have a tip, please share it with us. And let us know if any of these tips are new to you.
For other iPhone-related tips, check out our post on essential iPhone Safari tips.