If you are new to the iPhone, then the first app you’ll likely come in contact with is the Phone app. You’ll use it to make and answer calls, listen to your voicemail and more. Today we’re going to cover the basics on how to use the phone app on the iPhone. Updated: April 23rd, 2015.

Phone app on iPhone

Customizing Favorites

When you first launch the Phone app, you’ll be greeted by a blank slate of Favorites. It’s not the best introduction to the application, but Apple did this with a sense of purpose. For most users, the Favorites is the easiest way to stay in touch with your friends, family and even work colleagues. You can set a favorite to be either a Voice Call,FaceTime or FaceTime Audio Call.

No favorites

To add a favorite, tap on the ‘+’ sign at the top right. You’ll be immediately whisked away to a list of your contacts. Contacts has its very own app, but it also acts like an “app within an app” when using the Phone app. Apologies for the tongue twister. Search your contacts, which iOS will sort based upon your preferences.

Add favorites iPhone

Tip: To check and or change how iOS sorts your contacts, go to Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendar. Scroll down to Contacts. You can set preferences for the following:
Sort Order: Last, First / First, Last
Display Order: First, Last / Last, First
My Info: Let’s your iPhone know which contact is you.

Sort contacts

Once you’ve located a contact, tap on it. Select the action you’d like once you select it as a favorite. Voice call will dial that contact, where as FaceTime will initiate a video chat using FaceTime. FaceTime audio uses your WiFi network and allows you to make audio-only calls. Many suggest the audio quality is higher than if you were to place the call using your wireless carrier.

Repeat this process as often as you’d like to customize your favorites.

The Recents tab offers you a choice of all or missed, when viewing previous calls. If you tap on the name, the iPhone will immediate start dialing that contact. Pressing on the arrow to the right will provide more details for that particular contact. This is handy if you want to text them or any other option instead of calling them back.

Recent calls

As mentioned earlier, this is the Contacts app, nestled in the friendly confines of the Phone app. You’ll have access to any Groups that you create along with all of your contacts.

The good ole’ fashioned keypad. Naturally, you can dial away to call anyone. Enter the phone number you’d like to add. Tap on the ‘+’ sign, just left of the number. If you would like to exchange digits with someone, enter their complete phone number and then select that icon.

Create contact dialer

You’ll have the option to ‘Create a new contact’, which will bring you back to Contacts to enter all the relevant information. You can also select ‘Add to an existing contact’ and then proceed to select the contact whose information you’d like to append.

Navigating Visual Voicemail

One of the great features of an iPhone is Visual Voicemail. Select the Voicemail tab to see a listing of your voicemails. If the caller appears in your Contacts, their name will be listed.

Visual voicemail

  • Play Message: Tap on a caller and it will reveal playback controls (shown on left).
  • More information: Tap on the ‘i’ to the right of a voicemail to get more detailed information including the time and day of the call. If the person is in your contacts, you’ll also get all their relevant contact information.
  • Audio scrubbing: You can slide your finger right or left to quickly rewind or fast forward your message.
  • Call Back: Starts dialing immediately.
  • Speaker: Plays the message back on the speaker.
  • Delete: Deletes your voicemail

How to create a custom greeting on your iPhone
By default, the greeting heard by callers when you are not able to get to your iPhone is standard. Tap the Greeting button and select ‘Custom’. The recording screen will appear. Press the ‘Record’ button and ‘Stop’ when you’ve finished. You can press ‘Play’ to playback to see if it is to your liking. If so, press ‘Save’ and you are on your way. If not, keep at it until you’ve nailed the ultimate greeting.

Set greeting

The Phone app on your iPhone is the gateway to communicating with your friends and family. Whether it be voice calls or Facetime, the favorites tab can immediately personalize your iPhone, providing you with a quick access to contacts that use most. Understanding all of the features of how to use the phone app on iPhone is a great first step for getting the most from your new iPhone.