How to make calls in OS X Yosemite using your iPhone

FaceTimeIconXOne of the newer features in OS X Yosemite is the ability to make and take phone calls from your iPhone, which can come in handy if you are working at your Mac and cannot fish through your pockets or bag for your phone. This is especially useful if you use Apple’s earbuds with your Mac, where its volume and mute controls can be used with your Mac, just as they can with iOS devices.

The setup for this is pretty simple, and only has a couple of requirements: An iPhone running iOS 8, and your Mac running OS X Yosemite. With these available, you can now take phone calls:

  1. Go to Settings > Phone > Wi-Fi Calls and ensure this feature is off
  2. Go to Settings > FaceTime and turn on iPhone Cellular Calls
  3. Connect your phone to the same WiFi network as your Mac
  4. Open FaceTime on your Mac
  5. Type a contact’s name, e-mail, or phone number in the search field

When you do this last step, relevant contacts will show up under the search field with icons next to their name for the services available to them. If you click the phone icon, you will see a small menu appear with an option to use FaceTime Audio, or use your iPhone to call any of the contact’s numbers.

This feature makes it easy to locate a contact’s information; however, you can also call numbers that are not in your Contacts list, by simply typing it in. Once FaceTime recognizes a valid phone number, the phone icon will appear and you can similarly click it to call using your iPhone.

Once the call starts, a small panel will appear with information about your call, and allow you to mute or end the conversation, or continue the call with FaceTime if you choose. While this panel starts in the upper-right of your display, you can move it anywhere you want. Do note that the field so far only takes numbers (regardless of dashes), so you cannot use a number like “1-800-FLOWERS” and instead would have to use the number equivalent.

iPhone numbers in FaceTime

Click this icon next to the entered number, to reveal the option to call it using your iPhone.

Despite its conveniences, this feature does have some limitations, which primarily revolve around the inability to access your iPhone’s keypad from your Mac. This means that if you are calling a voicemail box, or other service that might have menu options to choose from, then you will have to get your phone to make your selections.

In addition, so far there seems to be no way to control phone call ring volumes from your Mac’s system volume, so you cannot listen to music or watch a movie and silence your ringtone. You will either have to answer the call, or otherwise attend to the alert.

FaceTime phone call panel in OS X

When your phone call starts, you will see its status in this panel, and can mute or end the call using its controls.

Lastly, this feature will only work to bridge your Mac to your iPhone connected to the cell network. Since this is done over your WiFi network, you iPhone cannot be configured to take WiFi calls on carriers that support this feature. Therefore, if you are in an area with limited cell coverage, you will have to use your phone for any WiFi calling features.

3 thoughts on “How to make calls in OS X Yosemite using your iPhone

    1. Topher Kessler Post author

      I should have clarified, this first step is optional and will depend on whether or not your carrier supports it. If not, then don’t worry and move on to the next step.

  1. curteye

    Aloha T,
    Using an iPhone 4S/iOS 8.1.2 here and cannot do step 1 or step 2.

    Guessing this phone gear is just to old. Like me. 🙂

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