What do all the extra iPhone Phone app icons do?

By December 15, 2015Tips

I grew up in a house with a rotary phone, and remember when making a call outside of the home entailed dropping a coin into a grubby public phone.

How times have changed! Practically everyone carries a smartphone, and the simple act of placing a call now requires lots of extra tapping (except when using Siri — which I discuss in Chapter 2 of my book iPhone 6 & iPhone 6S In 30 Minutes). This post will cover some phone app basics, and show some shortcuts which will save you lots of time when it comes to making calls and organizing contacts. Importantly, it will show what all of the extra iPhone Phone app icons actually do when you tap them.

Tapping the green phone icon opens the Phone app. iPhone 6S and 6S Plus owners can also use Peek (a light press on the Phone app icon on the Home screen) to call favorite contacts.

iPhone Phone app icons explained

Once the app is open, use Keypad to make calls on the fly, but you have other options, too:

  • Favorites shows a list of contacts you have marked as favorite (when editing a contact, tap Add to favorites to place it on the list).
  • Recents will list the most recent incoming calls. Tap the name or number to call the person back.
  • Contacts brings up your contact list. If you have added Gmail, Yahoo, or Exchange/Outlook accounts to your iPhone, and enabled the associated contact lists to be shared, those will show up in Contacts, too.
  • Voicemail shows a list of recent voicemail messages. Tap Edit to delete specific messages.

After you have entered the number and pressed the phone icon to start the call, the screen will show other iPhone Phone app icons:

iPhone phone app icons explained

iPhone phone app icons change after the number is dialed.

Mute. Turns off the microphone. Tap the microphone icon again to turn it back on.

Keypad. Brings up the keypad, in case you are using an automated system that requires additional input.

Speakers. This creates a hands-free speakerphone, useful for driving, simultaneous typing, or other situations.

Add call. Lets you create a conference call by joining other numbers to the current call.

FaceTime. Switches to the FaceTime app, which includes video. The other party will need to have a FaceTime account for this to work.

Contacts. Displays saved contacts.

You can also press the Home button to do other things (check the weather, take pictures, play Battle Monkeys, etc.) while you talk. A green bar will appear at the top of the phone’s screen while a call is in progress; tap it to return to the phone interface.

This post was excerpted from the book iPhone 6 & iPhone 6S In 30 Minutes by author Ian Lamont.