How to Use Your iPad as a Phone

3 Ways to Place Calls on Your iPad

Did you know the iPad can be used to make phone calls? It might be a little big to consider even the iPad Mini as a replacement for your cell phone, but then again, with smartphones getting larger, perhaps the iPad Mini is really where we are headed.  There are a number of apps designed around implementing Voice-over-IP (VoIP), which is a fancy way of saying "Internet Phone Call." Here are three ways to place calls.

Artur Debat / Getty Images

The easiest way to place a phone call is using the video conferencing software that comes with the iPad. FaceTime uses your Apple ID to place phone calls to anyone who also has an Apple ID, which is anyone who owns an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Mac computer.   And if you don't want to video conference, you can tap the 'audio' tab to place a 'regular' phone call.

These calls are absolutely free, so even if you are using your iPhone, you won't be using your minutes. You can even receive calls on FaceTime by having people 'dial' the email address associated with your Apple ID.  

Find out how to use FaceTime on the iPad More »

Place Calls on Your iPad Using Your iPhone's Cellular Number

Here's a neat trick that is an alternative to using FaceTime.  You can actually place "iPhone calls" on your iPad.  This is a feature that syncs your iPad and iPhone to allow you to place and receive calls on your iPad as if it were really your iPhone. 

This is different than FaceTime.  These calls are actually routed through your iPhone, so you can place a call to a number that isn't an iPhone or an iPad.  You can use this to call anyone that you could call on your iPhone.  Here's how you turn the feature on:

  1. First, go into the Settings app on your iPhone.   You have to allow your iPhone to broadcast these calls, so this setting is on the iPhone and not the iPad.
  2. In Settings, scroll down the left-side menu and choose Phone.  
  3. In the Phone settings, tap on "Calls on Other Devices" and then tap the on/off switch at the top of the screen.  Once you tap it on, you will see a list of devices.  You can pick and chose which devices you want to receive and have the ability to place calls.  And if you have a Mac, you can choose it as well.
  4. You may also want to click "Add Wi-Fi Calling" to allow calls to transfer over a Wi-Fi connection.  This basically means your iPhone doesn't need to be nearby so long as both devices are connected to Wi-Fi.

Skype is the most popular way to place Internet calls, and unlike FaceTime, it isn't restricted to people using an iOS device. Skype on the iPad is a relatively simple process, though you will need to download the Skype app. Unlike FaceTime, there are fees involved with placing calls through Skype, but Skype-to-Skype calls are free, so you'll only pay for calling people who do not use Skype. More »

Talkatone
Image Copyright Talkatone

FaceTime and Skype are great, both offering the advantage of placing video calls, but what about placing a free call to anyone in the U.S. regardless of whether or not they use a specific service? FaceTime only works with other FaceTime users, and while Skype can place a call to anyone, it is only free to other Skype users. Talkatone in conjunction with Google Voice has a way of placing free voice calls to anyone in the U.S., though it is a little more confusing to set up.

Google Voice is a Google service designed around giving you one phone number for all of your phones. But voice calls placed with Google Voice use your voice line, and you can't do that on an iPad for obvious reasons. Talkatone extends the Google Voice service by allowing calls over the data line, which means you can use it with your iPad. You'll need both the Talkatone app and the Google Voice app.

You'll also need to follow these instructions from Talkatone in order to set up your Google Voice account to place calls from your iPad. As a bonus, Talkatone can also interact with your Facebook friends. More »

Bonus: How to Text on the iPad

Let's face it, sometime we dread making certain phone calls. So if you really want to turn your iPad into a giant phone, you need to know how to text on it!