The Phone app can do much more than answer calls. It has a robust set of tools that can help you manage incoming calls. Life gets busy and sometimes you don’t have the time to answer a call. You could decline a call, but that leaves open the chance that you’ll forget to call back. Using call reminders on iPhone can help remind you to return a call based on time or location. There are also options to reply with a message. Updated: February 21, 2015.

set up call reminders on iPhone

A call comes in and you see the familiar ‘slide to answer’ that remains from the origins of iOS and the original iPhone. Swiping the phone icon  from left to right will answer the call. If you press the sleep/wake button, they’ll go directly to voicemail. iOS 8 gives you plenty of tools to manage your calls.

Incoming call options

Remind Me To Call Back

If and when you select the option to ‘Remind Me’, this will decline the call. More importantly, you’ll be presented with options for when you would like to be reminded. The options are a combination of alternatives that include time and location based reminders. The first and only time based option is 1 hour. If selected the iPhone will remind you to call back the person who called in precisely one hour.

Remind me later

The other options may prove to be far more interesting, as they are location based.

  • When I leave: When you leave your current location, you’ll receive a reminder. This is ideal for someone who is out at a business meeting, receives a call and would like a reminder to call the person back when they leave their current location.
  • When I get home: This is pretty self-explanatory, but again very useful. A friend calls during work and this reminder will alert you when you arrive home.
  • When I get to work: This will remind you to call back when you arrive at your place of employment. Similar to the option above, this is a common and useful option for most folks.

How to respond with a message

With smartphones, text messages have become an increasingly useful means of communication. The Phone app layers text message functionality, allowing you to send a quick message, when you can’t take a call. When the call comes in, tap on Message. You can tap on any of the preset messages:

  • Sorry, I can’t talk right now.
  • I’m on my way.
  • Can I call you later?
    Respond with message

The presets are the most common and they are probably sufficient for most. You can send a custom message. Of course, when you reply with a text message, it has to be to a mobile phone. The iPhone doesn’t know the difference, so if you reply with text to a landline, it will get sent and ultimately fail. While I’ve detailed the options for using call reminders, a key piece of information regarding the location based reminders. The iPhone requires that your contact information provide both your home and work address.

How to identify yourself on your iPhone

Having contact information for yourself isn’t sufficient. Here’s how to identify yourself as the owner, so the iPhone knows which contact card to use.

  1. Navigate to Settings > Mail, Contacts & Calendars.
  2. Tap on My Info.
  3. Browse your contacts and tap your contact. When set, you’ll see ‘me’ displayed next to your contact name.

My info

Now your iPhone knows who you are, where you live and work.

Apple provides an easy way to set up reminders to call back a friend, colleague or family member. By setting up your contact information, you can easily set up both time based or location based call reminders. By using this feature, you can safely decline calls without having to worry about forgetting to get back to them.