Owning an iPhone, you’ve probably taken out some time to familiarize yourself with its tons of features and functionalities. Every generation of the device comes with additional features, so the process is constant.
If you’re wondering whether you can make a conference call on your iPhone with your friends, family, or colleagues, you are in the right place. You can make conference calls at no additional cost or worry about dialing special phone numbers or remembering access codes—all you need is an iPhone and a reliable conference call service.
What Do You Mean by Conference Calling on iPhone?
A conference call—whether audio or video—is just like any other business meeting. The only difference is that instead of being face-to-face, you’ll speak to the participants through your phone or computer.
Multiple participants can join the same call at once, making it an effective and convenient way to stay connected with your team without having to step out of your home or office.
Adding an iPhone to this mix makes things even more convenient, especially considering that iPhones make 900 million of the 1.4 billion active Apple devices in the world.
Apple users also have the added advantage of FaceTime, a built-in videotelephony product developed by the company to allow people with iPhones, iPads, and Macs to make easy audio and video calls to each other—provided they have an internet connection.
It doesn’t mean that iPhone users cannot hold conference calls with Android users. There are other things, like third-party applications and services, for this purpose.
5 Tools to Improve Conference Calling on iPhone
Rounding up employees or team members for a meeting wasn’t always the easiest task until online conferencing.
Today, you’ll find several apps you can use to schedule and start phone or video conferences, as well as your share files, chat, and share-screen within the app. Read on as I discuss my top five picks for making conference calls on an iPhone.
GoToMeeting offers excellent features like unlimited online meetings, screen sharing for up to three users, and free VoIP calls. All you need is a free account, and you can begin hosting unlimited video calls online.
While the limitation on the number of users is smaller than its competitors, this product provides you with a quick solution for your conference calling needs.
You can sign up for the 14-day trial of the Pro version that increases the feature offering by including meeting recording, mouse and keep sharing, mobile applications, and drawing tools. You can use the drawing and key sharing features to make your conference calls more interactive.
Zoom is one of the best conference calling platforms that let you stay connected with your team on the go. It has group messaging, audio and video conferencing, and online meetings rolled into one easy-to-use application, where you can invite up to 50 people to join a meeting.
You can also share your iPhone’s screen, photos, and files, and co-annotate during screen sharing, and participate in real-time whiteboard collaboration. Being able to send group images, text, and audio files is another advantage.
Cisco WebEx Meetings lets you join in on conferences using your iPhone and Apple Watch.
This feature-rich app services WebEx Meetings, WebEx Meeting Center, WebEx Training Center, WebEx Event Calendar, and WebEx Meetings Server, where you can get full-screen multipoint video, Auto Call Me, voice-activated video switching, and wideband audio support.
Additionally, you can view content and video simultaneously, make someone else the host of the meeting, invite others, and schedule, start and cancel the meeting—all directly on the app.
Skype is another well-known conference calling service you can try.
After Microsoft acquired the platform, it has since upgraded the user interface, back-end operations, and feature offering. You can directly download the Skype app on your iPhone to make audio or video conferencing or send messages for free.
At the moment, you can host a group video chat or a conference call for up to 25 Skype users. You can also call non-Skype users by purchasing Skype credit or signing up for a subscription.
UberConference is the more formal version of Google Hangouts that’s easy to use and reliable. The platform offers free phone and VoIP audio for up to 10 participants, along with unlimited conferences, screen and document sharing, and call recording.
Although there’s no video conferencing option, it has a user-friendly interface. The fact you don’t need conference pins is another plus. In addition to iOS, the UberConference app is compatible with desktop, Android, and Google Chrome.
Paying for a business subscription lets you add up to hundred participants, along with getting access to several attractive features like the management portal, custom hold music, no audio ads, and international access—all of this at $10 a month when billed annually.
The Basics of Conference Calling on iPhone
In this section, I’ll discuss a few of the core components involved whenever you decide to hold a conference call on an iPhone.
Starting a Conference Call Directly From the iPhone
As mentioned previously, you can hold conference calls directly on your iPhone. However, you can only add up to five people, including yourself, and that it doesn’t matter if the participants are iPhone, Android, or landline users.
After opening the phone app, call the first person as you normally would. Once the person receives your phone, tell them that you want to add more people before putting them on hold.
Tap on the + Add call button on your iPhone screen and select the next person you want to add to the call from your contacts. Alternatively, you can also dial the phone number directly.
Once the second person picks up your phone, you can connect them with the first recipient by tapping on the Merge Calls button on your iPhone screen. This will combine both calls into a single conference—something that you’ll notice when both calls combine into a single line at the top of your iPhone screen.
If you want to add more than three people, repeat the previous two steps and add more people (to a maximum of five, including yourself).
If you want to hang up on the phone, click on the red End button, and the conference call will end for all participants at the same time.
Adding Incoming Calls to a Conference
Even if you’re already talking on a conference call, you have the option to add any incoming call and combine both lines to create a new conference. Simply follow the steps below:
Step #1 Tap on Hold and Accept at the bottom-right corner of your iPhone’s screen once the incoming call starts coming through. This will place your original conference call on hold and open a new line with the incoming caller.
Step #2 Tap on Merge to combine both calls into a single conference call.
Repeat the steps with subsequent incoming calls. If you don’t want to accept a second incoming call, tap on the Send to Voicemail button, and the call will get rejected. If your service provider doesn’t offer voicemail, you can tap on Decline instead.
Disclaimer: Don’t tap on End & Accept. This will end your current call and connect you to the incoming caller.
Starting a Conference Call Using FaceTime
All iPhone users have the unique option to use FaceTime to start a group chat with up to 32 people, including yourself. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have a video chat, as you can use the service for making audio-only calls as well.
Every participant has to be signed in to their Apple ID account and connected to the internet on their respective Apple devices. Once that’s sorted, here’s how to proceed:
Step #1 Open the FaceTime application on your iPhone and tap on the Plus (+) button located in the top right-hand corner to start a new call.
Step #2 Type in the contact name, phone number, or email address for every person you want to add to the chat. Contacts that are connected to their Apple IDs will have their names appear blue in the FaceTime app.
Step #3 Tap on the Audio or Video button, depending on the type of conference call you want to hold. Once the call starts, swipe up and tap on Add Person to add new people to the chat.
Managing Conference Calls is Super Easy
Conference calling on an iPhone is very flexible. You can go into “Private” mode with a specific participant even when a conference call is in progress. Hanging up on callers one at a time is also an option.
To do this, you’ll have to tap on the blue “i” located at the top of the screen on the right-hand side of the callers’ names. Once you do this, you‘ll see a list of all the participants on the call, along with buttons to end a call or speak to them privately.
Here’s how to go about this:
Step #1 Tap on the “i” next to the right-hand side of the callers’ names. If you’re using iOS and earlier, tap on the arrow next to the conference located at the top of the screen.
Step #2 On the Conference screen, tap on Private. This should be under the name of the person you want to speak to privately.
To disconnect individual callers from your conference calls without ending the entire call, tap on End. This will be beneath the name of the person you want to disconnect from the conference call.
For iOS 6 and earlier versions, click on the red phone icon beneath the name of the person you want to disconnect from the conference call, followed by End.
Using Third-Party Apps for Conference Calling
You can use third-party conference call services to connect a higher number of people than five, which is the maximum limit when you hold a conference call on your iPhone.
While there are plenty of options available, you can use Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts. The steps for creating a conference call differ depending on the service users, but most of them are very easy to set up and hardly take a few minutes.
3 Tricks for Conference Calling on iPhone
Below, I’ve compiled a list of a few tricks that can help you boost the quality of conference calling on your iPhone.
Have an Agenda and Stick to It
If you’re holding an official conference call, it’s best to create an agenda and stick to it. Not only will this help hold the participants’ attention and accelerate the pace of the call, but it’ll also improve the experience for everyone involved.
You must lay out the call’s objective, set a timeline for every topic to be discussed, and keep aside water cooler discussions for personal phone calls. Recording the call or having someone take notes of the conference call can be useful down the line.
Take Full Advantage of the Available Conference Call Tools
Let’s get one thing clear: Your conference calls are only as good as the tools you use. It’s why picking the right conference calling service is so crucial to ensure a productive meeting.
I highly recommend selecting a service that gives you a visible dashboard with quality tools, including the option to mute participants, exclude noisy callers, as well as a sidebar conversation with specific participants. Call recording is also a necessary feature that can make keeping notes easier.
Press Mute When You Aren’t Speaking
You have to manage any background noise to keep distractions minimal during a conference call.
Even the strangest places can become acceptable if they are quiet, such as restaurants, bathrooms, or airport security. And while a quiet environment is a must, you can enhance the quality further by pressing the Mute button when you aren’t speaking.
This way, you can give your complete focus on the participant speaking on the call and reduce background distractions.