The Wi-Fi Calling option for iPhones is an excellent tool to improve call quality by routing your cellular call over a Wi-Fi network instead of over a mobile one. While mobile networks can be more robust than Wi-Fi plus broadband, many of us place calls inside homes and buildings, or leave in some parts of the country or parts of a municipality with marginal coverage.
However, the option is a combination of elements in iOS and a carrier’s network that have to interlink to work. As a result, you may have Wi-Fi Calling enabled in Settings > Cellular > Wi-Fi Calling and, yet, calls aren’t being made over Wi-Fi.
Readers have described this scenario: They’re near a Wi-Fi access point in their home. They have high-speed broadband service. Cellular calls are terrible in their area. They check the Wi-Fi Calling setting, and it’s enabled. When they place a call, however, it stutters or drops out.
The only way to be sure Wi-Fi Calling is working is if you see the “Wi-Fi” label following your carrier’s name in the upper-left corner of an iPhone screen. That’s “Wi-Fi” as a text label, not to be confused with the Wi-Fi signal-strength meter that appears in iOS and iPadOS in the upper-right corner of the display.
On phones with a notch, swipe down from the upper right to reveal the Control Center, and the full status bar appears, where you should see that Wi-Fi label. If you press the Standby button but don’t unlock the phone, the carrier plus “Wi-Fi” will scroll by in the upper-left corner as well.
During testing for this article, I found that I was in the same position as some readers: I didn’t see the “Wi-Fi” icon, but everything was enabled. Turning Wi-Fi Calling off and on didn’t resolve the problem.
The only solution appears to be this:
In the Control Center, tap the Airplane Mode button.
Tap the Wi-Fi button to turn Wi-Fi on if you haven’t set Wi-Fi on previously in Airplane Mode.
Wait a moment, and the carrier’s name plus Wi-Fi should appear, even though you aren’t connected to the cellular network.
Turn off Airplane Mode. The Wi-Fi icon should remain in place.
It’s an odd thing that all the ducks appear to be in a row, but are not. However, a quick couple of taps can get you back into the right configuration and improve weak calls.
This Mac 911 article is in response to a question submitted by Macworld reader MaryEllen.
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