This past Friday, after a lengthy regulatory struggle, AT&T finally enabled WiFi calling over iOS 9. Although Apple first added the functionality back in 2014 with the release of iOS 8 and the iPhone 6, it isn’t until now that AT&T activated the service for their customers.
If you have no clue what WiFi calling is, and why it’s so vital, here’s the deal: if you’re in an area with lousy (or no) 3G/LTE coverage, with a few quick adjustments in your iPhone settings, you can make and receive phone calls and SMS texts via WiFi. There’s no extra cost for this, and it’s really fantastic for communicating in those coverage dead zones.
Note: if you’re on T-Mobile, WiFi calling has been available for about a year now (albeit without regulatory approval), so the following setup process should be relatively similar.
Here’s how to set it up:
1. Select the Settings app and the choose Phone.
2. Select WiFi calling.
3. Turn WiFi Calling on.
At this point you’ll have to agree to a disclaimer or two, as well as enter/confirm your primary address for 911 purposes. Once that’s complete, in 30-60 minutes, the feature will be active.
A few caveats, as you’d expect. First, any calls made or texts sent via WiFi will be billed against your regular rate plan. In other words, calling or texting via WiFi doesn’t save you from using up minutes or messages, and will be treated just like standard calls and texts over a 3G/LTE connection. Second, you’ll need an iPhone 6 or newer to use this functionality.