Can You Use An iPad As A Phone?

It can be extremely frustrating to not have access to a phone.

But did you know that your iPad can function as a phone that calls and texts? Using your iPad as a phone is fairly simple, but there are a few steps you need to follow to set this up.

Can You Use An iPad As A Phone?

An iPad can be used as a phone. FaceTime can be used to make free calls to anyone (even if they don’t have an Apple device), and texts can be sent from the messages app. iPads can also be paired with an iPhone cellular data plan to allow calling and texting on an iPad when WiFi isn’t accessible.

Configuring your iPad to function as a phone is not a very difficult task, but there are many ways to go about doing it. 

The way you set this up will depend on your needs and what you do and don’t have access to. 

Keep reading to figure out which option is best for you.

Calling on an iPad with an iPhone

If you already have an iPhone, it is pretty easy to use your iPad as a phone by allowing phone calls from your iPhone to come through to your iPad.

Your iPad and iPhone are connected through your Apple ID, but you need to change some settings to take calls on your iPad. 

According to Apple Support, this is done by completing these steps:

  1. In iPhone settings, go to Cellular.
  2. If you have Dual Sim (meaning you have more than one phone number associated with a single device), choose which phone line you want to receive calls from on your iPad.
  3. Select Calls on Other Devices and turn it on, then choose your iPad to receive calls. This option will only work if your iPhone is close to your iPad. Or, select WiFi Calling and turn it on. This option will allow you to receive calls even if your iPhone isn’t nearby.
  4. Go back to settings, go to FaceTime. Turn on FaceTime and Calls from iPhone. If asked, turn on WiFi calling.

Following these steps will allow you to make a call by opening the FaceTime app and selecting a contact or typing in a phone number.

Calling on iPad without an iPhone

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It is important to note that an iPad is not capable of having a cellular telephone or SMS/MMS services. 

This means that if you do not have an iPhone to link to your iPad, you will only be able to make calls from your iPad using WiFi. 

This means using apps like FaceTime, Skype, Ooma, etc., for calling, and internet messaging services like iMessage, Skype, Google Hangouts, etc., for texting. 

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, meaning a phone call using internet rather than cellular data.

Texting on an iPad with an iPhone

To receive messages from your iPhone on your iPad, you will need to set up Text Message Forwarding. It is fairly easy to do.

In your iPhone, go to Settings, Messages, then select Text Message Forwarding. 

Make sure both devices are logged in to your Apple ID.

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Texting on an iPad without an iPhone

If you don’t have an iPhone, but still want to send messages from your iPad, you can do this one of two ways, both of which will require a WiFi connection.

The first option is to use a third-party SMS messaging app. 

The Google Voice app is free and will give you a phone number that you can use for texting (as well as phone calls and voicemails).

Keep in mind, Google Voice is only available to those living in the U.S. 

The Skype app can also be used to send and receive messages for free, but only between two Skype users. 

If you want to be able to text someone who doesn’t have a Skype account, you will have to pay for a monthly subscription. 

While there are many other SMS apps in the App Store, these often cost money and Google Voice and Skype are probably among the more popular apps to use.

The second option is an email-to-SMS gateway. 

This may seem like an old-fashioned way to do it, but it works great and is totally free.

This is a good option if you don’t have an iPhone and you want people to receive texts to their phone number rather than within an app. 

This will require you to have an email address, WiFi to send the email, and for you to know the carrier of the message recipient’s cell service. 

This is an option that is free to the user, but not always free to the receiver, although, many people now have phone plans with unlimited texting. 

Here are the steps to send a text message from your email:

  1. First go to your email. Any email server will work. Compose a new email.
  2. Where you would normally type the email address in the “To:” box, type the 10-digit phone number of the person you are texting.
  3. Then type the appropriate “@gateway” address of the cell phone carrier of the person you are texting behind the phone number.

In the table below, you will find a list of the gateway addresses for some of the most common carriers used in the United States. 

If the carrier you need can’t be found here, you can find it by doing a Google search. (SMS) (MMS)
U.S. (SMS) (MMS) (SMS) (MMS)
Metro (SMS) (MMS)
Virgin (SMS) (MMS) (MMS)
Straight Talkmobile-number@VTEXT.COM (SMS) (MMS)

Once you complete one of the setup options above, you shouldn’t have to do anything else to continue using your iPad as a phone. 

Besides the fact that you might be carrying around a slightly bigger device, you might forget that your iPad isn’t a smartphone! This is a great option when you are in a pinch, or just need to be resourceful.

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