Turn Your iPad into a Phone

Make free phone calls on your iPad

You bought an iPad and want to get all the good you can out of it. Start by making and receiving free (and cheap in some cases) voice calls to your contacts locally and worldwide using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology. You need a Wi-Fi (or optional cellular) connection, a set of AirPods or a wireless headset, and an app. Here's how you turn your iPad into a VoIP phone.

Voice Input and Output

You don't want to hold your giant iPad Pro up to your ear to talk during a phone conversation. It's not designed for that. Although you could use the integrated microphone and speakers of the iPad, they aren't the best solution. You'd have to be close enough to the tablet to communicate and couldn't expect your calls to be private.

iPads don't have a 3.5 mm stereo headphone minijack. The best solution is to pair your iPad with a Bluetooth headset or your new AirPods. Here is a tutorial on how to pair a Bluetooth headset, and here is our list of top Bluetooth headsets.

Internet Connectivity

To make free calls over the internet, you need an internet connection with adequate bandwidth. Bandwidth is not much of a problem, but being able to get a connection everywhere is. Your iPad is a mobile device, and you need a mobile connection. This comes either through Wi-Fi or a cellular connection, which is an option on many iPads. You can't use a GSM SIM card for these calls. The iPad isn't a phone.

You can use the Wi-Fi connection of your iPad to make calls from any hotspot, whether at home, in the office, on the campus, or while waiting at the airport. However, Wi-Fi isn't mobile; it leaves you as soon as you walk a few feet away.

That leaves you with cellular 4G (or newer) capability if you want connectivity anywhere under the sky, which is available in many iPad models for an additional price. This approach requires a data plan that is generous in terms of minutes or megabytes. VoIP service providers recommend unlimited 4G LTE data plans for obvious reasons.

VoIP Service and Apps

Finally, you need to use a VoIP service and a VoIP app that allows you to make free calls. You choose a VoIP service, register online, and download and install its app on your iPad. You are then ready to communicate.

The usually-free VoIP app is provided by the service. A prominent example is Skype. Here's how to install and set up Skype on your iPad. Skype is good on many platforms, but it doesn't seem to enjoy an excellent reputation for the iPad and Apple iOS. There other VoIP services and apps, so peruse this list of VoIP services for the iPad and choose one.

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