How to Use Your iPad as a Phone

3 ways to place calls on your iPad

Family with grandparents doing Facetime with iPad.
Artur Debat / Getty Images

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.

Place Calls on Your iPad Using FaceTime

The easiest way to place a call to a phone is using the video conferencing software that comes with the iPad called FaceTime. 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. 


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

Screenshots showing how to route iPhone calls to an iPad

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. Open Settings on your phone.
  2. Find the Phone settings.
  3. Tap Calls on Other Devices and enable it at the top of the next screen.
  4. When the list of devices shows up, enable the one that should have calls routed to it.
    1. You may also want to choose Add Wi-Fi Calling For Other Devices 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.


Screenshot of a Skype call on an iPad

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 could be 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.

Talkatone & Google Voice

Screenshot of an iPad calling with the Talkatone app

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, however, is a free calling app that 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 in order to set up your Google Voice account to place calls from your iPad:

​Go to Google Voice and add your Talkatone number as a forwarding phone on your Google Voice account. After you do this, outgoing calls/text message will show from your Talkatone phone number.

As a bonus, Talkatone can also interact with your Facebook friends

Bonus: How to Text on the iPad

Let's face it, sometimes we dread making certain phone calls. So if you really want to turn your iPad into a giant phone, check out our article on how to text on your iPad!