Using An iPad as an iPhone “Extension Telephone”

Using An iPad as an iPhone “Extension Telephone”

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If you’ve got multiple landline phones in your home, office, or hotel room, one is likely to be close at hand whenever a call comes in.

But if you are out of earshot when your iPhone rings, you’ll miss the call. And as far as I can tell, there is no way to set up the iPhone so it continually gives you a sound or visual alert for a missed call.

However, if you have one of the following models of iPhone (or iPod) and iPad, the iPad can serve as an “extension phone” which will let you make and answer calls when your iPhone isn’t handy:

  • iPhone 5 or later
  • iPhone 4s (sharing iPhone calls only)
  • iPad (4th generation), iPad Air, iPad Air 2
  • iPad mini, iPad mini with Retina display, iPad mini 3

The mobile devices must both be running Apple’s iOS 8 (or later).

Here’s how it works.

Earlier this week I while I was reading The New York on my iPad as I ate lunch in the dining room of my home, a friend called me on my iPhone which was in my office, about 20′ feet away. I couldn’t hear my iPhone ring and, even if I had, I probably could not have sprinted down the hall in time to answer the call.

But thanks to a new feature in iOS 8 called “Continuity,” my friend’s call displayed on the iPad’s screen, allowing me to either answer or decline it, or respond by text message (e.g., “Eating lunch. Call you back in 15 minutes.”)

And if I had decided not to take the call until after finishing my meal, I could have phoned him back by calling directly from my iPad.

Although my iPad (4th generation) is capable of connecting to the Internet over both Wi-Fi and a cellular carrier’s network, I’ve never bothered to get a cellular plan for it. I always connect my iPad to the Internet over Wi-Fi.

Before iOS 8 came along, my iPad would never have been alerted to my friend’s lunchtime call, nor would I have been able to initiate a call to him from it (except via FaceTime).

But now with the “Continuity” feature I can make a “regular” phone call from iPad, via my iPhone, as long as both devices are within range of each other on the same Wi-Fi network.

This short video demonstrates how to set up your iPhone and iPad as “extension phones.”

Mac desktop and laptop computers running the latest OS X operating system (“Yosemite”) can also make and answer phone calls when connected to an iPhone over a Wi-Fi network by using the “Continuity” feature. (Watch this YouTube video to see how to do it.)

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