What is Wi-Fi calling? How do I use Wi-Fi calling on Android and iPhone?

Wi-Fi calling for phones, also dubbed VoWifi, is a technology that has existed for a long time. However, its adoption by mobile carriers is slow, and even today, Voice over Wi-Fi is not supported by all mobile operators and smartphones. Do you want to know what Wi-Fi calling is, why it's good for you, and how to use it? If you do, read our guide to find out more about VoWiFi and how to use it on your mobile phone:

What is Wi-Fi calling (Voice over Wi-Fi)?

Wi-Fi calling is another name for a service called Voice over Wi-Fi that lets mobile phone subscribers use their smartphones to make calls using Wi-Fi networks instead of mobile networks. Wi-Fi calling is also referred to as VoWiFi.

Voice over Wi-Fi supports both voice and video calls, and, when enabled, the calls you make are in HD (High Definition), meaning that their quality is better than standard phone calls. If VoLTE (Voice over LTE) is also available at the same time, smartphones that support and have Wi-Fi calling enabled can seamlessly switch between the two services, so that no interruptions in phone conversations occur.

VoWiFi can prove to be useful in situations such as poor 4G LTE mobile coverage. If your mobile reception is poor, and you can connect to a wireless network or hotspot, Wi-Fi calling ensures that you enjoy high-quality phone calls.

Even if your smartphone is connected to a wireless network, Wi-Fi calling is not a service that everybody has access to. In order to be able to benefit from it, there are two conditions that must be fulfilled: both your smartphone and your mobile operator must offer support for Voice over Wi-Fi.

Now that you know what Wi-Fi calling is, let's see how to enable it on Android smartphones, as well as on iPhones.

How to enable Wi-Fi calling (VoWiFi) on Android

The next steps and screenshots are made on a Huawei P20 smartphone running Android 9. If you're using a different Android version or a smartphone made by a different manufacturer, things might look a little different, but the essentials are the same.

The first step is to open the Settings of your Android smartphone. A quick way to do it is to tap on the Settings app from the apps drawer. Then, on the Settings screen, tap on Wireless & networks.

The Wireless & networks settings

On the Wireless & networks screen, open the Mobile network category.

The Mobile network settings

NOTE: If you use Android 10 on your smartphone, go to: Settings -> Mobile network -> Mobile data. If you don't know what version of Android you have, read: How to check the Android version on your smartphone or tablet.

This takes you to the Mobile network settings: look for an entry called Wi-Fi calling. It's probably not enabled by default, so your smartphone might also show you that it's Disabled or Off. Tap on it.

The Wi-Fi calling entry

On the Wi-Fi calling screen, your smartphone might offer an explanation of what Wi-Fi calling is used for. For example, Huawei tells us that "When Wi-Fi calling is on, your phone can route calls via Wi-Fi networks or your carrier's network, depending on your preference and which signal is stronger. Before turning on this feature, check with your carrier regarding fees and other details." Enable the Wi-Fi calling switch.

The Wi-Fi calling switch is off

Before enabling Wi-Fi calling, Android might warn you that "You will not be able to place emergency calls over Wi-Fi." If you see this message, it only means that if you call an emergency service such as 911 (in the United States) or 112 (in the European Union), your smartphone is going to use the mobile network, not VoWiFi. Choose Enable to continue.

Enable Wi-Fi calling

Now, Voice over Wi-Fi is enabled on your smartphone so you can enjoy HD voice and/or video calls whenever you're connected to a wireless network.

However, you might also want to choose whether you prefer to make HD voice (or video) calls using Wi-Fi or 4G LTE. Some people prefer to use 4G LTE and have their smartphones switch to VoWiFi only if the 4G LTE signal reception is poor. To choose your preferred mode, tap on Mode.

Wi-Fi calling preferred Mode

Then, choose the Wi-Fi calling Mode that you'd rather use: Wi-Fi preferred, or 4G network preferred.

Choosing Wi-Fi preferred

Going back to the Mobile network settings screen, you can see that Wi-Fi calling is now enabled on your Android smartphone.

Wi-Fi calling is on

Furthermore, whenever your smartphone uses Wi-Fi Calling, Android displays a small VoWiFi icon on the status bar from the top of the screen.

Android signals when Wi-Fi calling is available

How to enable Wi-Fi calling (VoWiFi) on your iPhone

The next steps and screenshots are made on iPhone SE running iOS 13. If you're using a different iOS version or a different iPhone model, things might look a little different, but the essentials are the same.

On your iPhone, open the Settings app by tapping on its icon from your home screen.

The Settings app from iOS

Then, on the Settings screen, scroll until you find the entry called Phone.

The Phone entry form the Settings screen

The Phone screen has quite a few options, and one of them is called Wi-Fi Calling. If it says that it's On, then you're already using Voice over Wi-Fi. However, it's probably Off by default, so tap on it.

The Wi-Fi Calling entry

On the Wi-Fi Calling settings screen, you should see a switch called "Wi-Fi Calling on This iPhone." Tap on it to enable it.

The Wi-Fi Calling on This iPhone switch

iOS then tells you that "When you join a network, the country where the network connection is made may be sent to your carrier, and your cellular identity may be sent to the Wi-Fi network operator. The city may be sent to the carrier for routing short code calls." All of these are necessary things for VoWiFi to work, so if you're OK with them, tap Enable to continue.

Confirmation for turning on Wi-Fi Calling

That's it: now your iPhone can use Wi-Fi Calling whenever you're connected to a wireless network or hotspot so that you can enjoy high-quality voice and/or video calls even if your carrier's coverage isn't great.

Wi-Fi Calling is enabled

Each time your iPhone uses Wi-Fi Calling, iOS signals it by displaying the Wi-Fi text on the status bar at the top of the screen.

iOS signals when Wi-Fi Calling is available

Did you enable Wi-Fi calling (Voice over Wi-Fi) on your smartphone?

Now you know what Wi-Fi calling is and also how to use this service both on Android smartphones and iPhones. So did you turn VoWiFi on? Did you make phone calls using Voice over Wi-Fi? Did they sound better than regular voice calls made through your carrier's mobile network? Share your opinions in the comment section below.