iPhone: Enable or disable call forwarding

Posted June 30, 2007 by Quinn McHenry in Apple iPhone

The call forwarding feature on the iPhone is hands down the coolest one I’ve seen on a mobile. With other phones, I’ve setup fake contacts with the dialing code so that I could quickly dial the number to forward or unforward my phone. Forwarding your iPhone is different and definitely cool.

The forwarding setting is in the phone settings screen. To get there, tap the Settings icon from the Home screen, the tap the Phone button. On the Phone settings screen, you’ll see Call Forwarding near the bottom in the Calls section. Tap this button and you’ll see something like this:

The forwarding slider will be in the off position and there will not be a phone number displayed under it in the Forwarding To button.

To engage call forwarding tap or slide the switch to the right of Call Forwarding and the Forwarding To editor screen will slide in, something like this:

Type in the number you want to forward your iPhone to and tap the Call Forwarding button near the upper left corner of the screen. You’ll see something like this:

The slider now shows On and is bright blue. The phone number forwarded to is displayed on the Forwarding To button.

To turn off call forwarding, just tap or slide the Call Forwarding switch into the Off position on this same screen in the future.


About Quinn McHenry

Quinn was one of the original co-founders of Tech-Recipes. He is currently crafting iOS applications as a senior developer at Small Planet Digital in Brooklyn, New York.
View more articles by Quinn McHenry

The Conversation

Follow the reactions below and share your own thoughts.

  • Surekha

    Your comments and screenshots have been helpful for me to get thisfeature setup. Thanks for posting this info

  • Steve Jobs

    Apparently you’ve never used Windows Mobile circa 2002.

    • Adrian

      You are so right Steve! What’s with Apple not having call forward busy, no answer and out of range diversions as well?

  • Randy

    If there was a way to auto call forward when charging, that would be great.

    • Demoncoder

      Randy, you are so lazy. Do I have to come move your lips to make you talks?

  • biijansen

    Its good..but if you dont seem to able to store multiple numbers …however it certainly does the job

    • Piperchick

      I agree that not being able to store multiple forward numbers is a pain. I preferred setting up a “fake” contact and selected forward to home or to work witha single touch, not having to scroll through multiple screens. Not terribly friendly.

  • Jesper

    Thanks for posting this article. Unfortunately I have to disagree! I have owned dozens of SonyEricsson phones and I think they do the job much better. It seems that when you turn on forwarding, everything is forwarded, but what about forwarding “when busy”, “When out of reach” etc.

    I think that the iPhone does everything – and I love it – but call forwarding is not one of the best features (Or I am too stupid to figure it out)

    • Nicole

      > NOT HAPPY…I thought Apple were leader in the market and would have call forward when busy, no answer and out of range divert, won’t be investing in Apple Iphone.
      Luckily I own a Nokia N9 and it has these features.
      Unfortunate for Apple Iphone users though.

  • skube

    Yeah, great but it should really be a one or two click process – not five! Also, there is no indication that your phone is currently forwarding calls. Other phones (SE) have a little icon that appears in the status bar. iPhone fails in the call forwarding dept. IMHO.

    • Anonymous

      Might not have been 6 months ago, but my iPhone shows a phone with an arrow pointing to the right to show it is call forwarding mode. I agree, though that getting to it to turn it on and off is too painful. I have emailed Apple about allowing folks to make shortcuts on the homepage with icons to go directly to things we use daily, like Bluetooth, Call Forwarding, WiFi, etc. I wonder if they ever listen? LOL

  • Misty

    Opinions aside on whether this is the best Call Forwarding is neither here nor there. I appreciate the post because you clearly outlined what I needed to do. THANK YOU!

  • bthe boy

    my slide thingy doesnt work and ‘call forwarding’is grey not black

  • the boy

    srry im dthe boy it was supposed to be the boy anyway i cant slide my off/on for call barring? plz can anyone help m e

    • Pamela

      I cant either I think its because they interrupted my service.

  • I need to forward only certain incoming numbers not everything. That would be cool. Is there a third party app that would allow this?

  • We barker

    Does anyone have an app for enable/disable call forward from the home screen

    I use this all the time and would like to avoid the steps to wade their the menu’s

    • monts

      I agree, we need a faster short cut or method to turn forward on or off. A speed dial is faster the the current set up.

  • Hey thanks for posting this – pretty simple feature on the iPhone but I just didn’t know it existed!

  • Saleem

    Far too basic, I contiually forget to swicth this feature off, plesae apple or any third parties please give us some software that would make this very usefuk feature more user frindly. I agrre with a alot of comments , we often only want to forward calls when say out of range, busy or even better still say timed, so that we set what time we want this feature turned off or on and alos give us an option to put more than one number in the call forwading screen and we can then choose which number we want to forward to at what time etc.

  • My previous 2 simple / free LG branded phones had better call forwarding capabilities. The oldest phone was made over 5 years ago….

    2 things I find missing from the iPhone’s call forwarding capabilities:

    1) With iPhone – I cannot select a number from my contact list call me lazy but LG had it. 5 years ago.
    2) Only option is to Forward all calls, I cannot select to forward only when busy, No Answer or Not Available. again this feature has been around for a long time on simpler phones…

  • oldteacher

    I love this feature but…I need to forward just one incoming phone number to another line, not all of my calls. Is this possible??

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for your posting, iPhone is a business phone

  • Joe

    Well I discovered something interesting on my iphone today. I previously had sony ericsson phone which enables you to forward calls that are busy, not answered and unavailable. I was annoyed that the iphone only allowed you to forward all calls.

    Well what i discovered what that when I moved the simcard from the old sony phone to the new iphone, the call forwarding features still work on the iphone. I don’t know how it does this. And on the iphone I have the call forwarding feature off because if you leave it on it forwards all calls.

    By entering the code *#61# then tap call, the iphone shows you what number calls are forwarded to when unanswered. Also I do not know how to turn off the call forwarding feature. Perhaps I need to put the sim back in to the sony phone, change the call forwarding rules and maybe this will work.

    It feels like that the call forwarding rules were saved in the sim card.

    Anyone else let me know if they have the same thing on their iphone.

  • Anonymous

    As far as I am concerned the IPhone call forward is the most primitive I have ever used. My oldest Nokia (over ten years ago) had conditional call forwarding.

    Primitive! not the only facility missing either. Seems like phoning is considered a secondary and unimportant feature. Great games but a crap phone system.

    • Anonymous

      I found out how to do it. you have yo press. *004*1XXX-XX-XXXX# the x’s is the number you are forwarding to. 🙂 you might want to *#61# first so you know the number of your original VM box # DONT FORGET THE pound at the end! *004*XXX-XX-XXXX#

  • Anonymous

    I have done the above, but I got the following message:

    Could not save call forwarding setting

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the explaination. My Treo 700P had “Call Director” that would automatically forward to one of 5 or 6 numbers when plugged in to the charger. Then when removed, it would ask if you wanted to stay forwarded. You could also pick one of the numbers manually. That’s what we need on the iphone, not this. I’d rather just dial *72xxx-xxx-xxxx.
    Come on Apple-get with the 21st century.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the explaination. My Treo 700P had “Call Director” that would automatically forward to one of 5 or 6 numbers when plugged in to the charger. Then when removed, it would ask if you wanted to stay forwarded. You could also pick one of the numbers manually. That’s what we need on the iphone, not this. I’d rather just dial *72xxx-xxx-xxxx

  • Anonymous

    Or you can use “Call forward” app from appstore. Yes, fake contacts, but you can pick from contact list and set up separate forwarding for no reply, busy, out of reach sitution.

  • Anonymous

    What we need, though, is an intelligent app that can be set to “car” (Bluetooth on); “home” (forward unanswered/out of range calls to home number) “office (Bluetooth off, forward all calls to office phone). Think about how the “airplane” mode works — it would be great if there was a programmable analog to that for the different situations.

  • Anonymous

    does it fwd sms?

  • Anonymous

    are you serious the iPhone has the worst call forwarding . You have to forward all calls . It does’nt give you the option to forward the call you don’t want to take . You have to forward all calls . I own a 24 hour business so I forward call if I don’t answer so two phones ring and I don’t miss the call ,but can’t do that with the iphone because it don’t give you the option forward if not answered like every other phone I’ve had .

    • Aparently you did not read carefully…it has to do with the network, not the phone. Some phones allow you to change your network settings from the phone. In this case you have to change the network settings yourself. Vist iPhoneforwarding com for more info


  • Anonymous

    call forwarding works fine but i need something that if i cant answer the phone myself then it goes to another selected phone.
    is this possible?
    i still need the ability to answer myself.

  • doogster

    Thanks for this, I new it was easy just didnt feel like searching for it on my phone, quicker to google it lol

  • Abc

    Thanks, helpful!

  • Neenapandey

    Thanks. It was sure helpful.

  • Starlix

    I think Americans will go to heaven after the development of this innovative technology
    God bless u Americans

  • Lanny

    Thanks this made it easy….

    • Anonymous

      No problem!

  • Estherhasi

    What’s wrong with my phone when I disabled the call forwarding but when I do a call or get one it shows me a little message saying the call forwarding is active and I have to dismiss? when someone calls me I can’t take the call until i pressed the dismiss button.. Hope someone can help.

  • Blake


  • Jmdoman

    What I want to know is how to turn call forwarding on when my phone is BROKEN- which is the only time I’d need it. Like right now.

  • Fatii07

    i keep typing in a number, but it automatically goes back to no when i get to the third screen shot above,

    • fatii07

      i mean “off”

  • Patricia

    we’d really like to foward only when a call from a particular# is received. Does anyone know how to do this or where we can buy the app?

  • 1chris99

    HELP! I just got this phone and am trying to forward my calls if no answer after 4 rings. Does anyone know how to accomplish this? I want to forward the calls to my home phone, not their call notes.

  • Tlawrence

    I have left my phone at home and am at work. Is there a way to remotely forward my calls from my iphone to my office phone?

  • Guest

    This is very basic in iphone. Blackberry provides the best options for call forwarding, you can setup different numbers for network not available,switched off ..etc

  • Email

    cool thanks.

  • Lyn100

    Everytime I tapped the little call forwarding icon on the top left corner – it would take me back to the screen – as shown – BUT the call forwarding button would switch to “off” automatically.

  • Emmanuel Ashy

    i still can do it

  • Wang_bruce


  • Aflege

    call forwarding is OFF but calls continue to be forwarded. If the phone if off or I am in a dead zone, the calls go to the no-longer-forwarded-to number. If the phone if on, they go to the answering service as usual. How can I get rid of the forwarding?

  • I have found that skype is having a good options of call forwarding and about call details..It is good to know about i-phone call forwarding option, Thanks for sharing it, ecommerce web developer

  • Snakeinkeywest

    sony lets you accept calls only from who you want to talk to and i like the software a lot better does anyone know of other phones with this feature as i am locked in with att because of the phone i must have

  • had2makeupaname

    That’s like 8 or 10 steps! Remember the lowly Palm Treo? All I had to do was place it in the cradle at work (where I get no phone reception) and it would automatically be forwarded to my work phone. Then take it out of the cradle and it would ask if I wanted it to stay forwarded or not. Now THAT is cool.

  • Aneesaluthra

    Not working for my voice mail forwarding number.. Please tell me what to
    Enter on Airtel network

  • Kimberly

    I have the verison iphone4. How do i get ride of this symbol that is buging the everything out of me! And i hate it. I cant go to settings/phone/ callforwarding to turn off bc it doesnt show that on my phone..!!! What do i do!? I called but nothing happen, n i turned off my phone but still nothing happened!!

  • Ang

    I have very bad signal if any when im at home. Im trying to set up call forwarding but it doesnt work! I have follwoed the instrutions phone-call forwarding, i turn it on and it either has loading or nothing in the box. So i entre number……… But i cant seem to keep that number in the i press call frowarding botton again but nothing happens, it goes back the starting point again! I have read instrutions there they say out *72, then entre no and press call button! But its not there! Someone please help, i use this phone for work and also private calls and i need it!
    Please help

  • Chiple

    Hello I have the new I phone and I don’t see those funcations u are tAlking about

  • Kevin

    I used my wife’s number as the call forward number but now she can’t call me even when the feature is turned off, I even changed the call froward to something I made up and she still can’t call me.
    Any help?

  • Dennis

    My settings are differently set up. This might be a different version of the iPhone?

  • sm

    There is not a call forwArd option to pick from, only a call forward disable option


    Hi Friends ,

    Is it possible to enable the call forward option in all the lines of the phone ? If so kindly share the details


  • DeLanna Forbes

    I can not make the call forwarding stay turned on when I enter the number to forward to and click the call forwarding in the upper left corner. Can you please help me with this?
    Thank You

  • DeLanna Forbes

    I can not make the call forwarding stay turned on after I enter the forward to number and tap the call forwarding in the upper left corner. It turns back off after I click back to call forwarding screen. Can you please help me with this?
    Thank You

  • Peter Mirtitsch

    Hello. My wife recently upgraded to an iPhone 4s to an iPhone 5. I have her old iPhone 4s but when people phone her, it redirects after a few rings to my old HTC phone on my old SIM. She claims to not have set up for redirect, and when I checked her settings, it did not appear to have call forwarding on. How do I stop this? (thanks, in anticipation..:D)

  • chris day

    my iphone 4 will not stop call diverting i do what you say here and it says off but still diverts

  • Homer

    how do I get an I pad off disabled without a password. ?

  • Karl

    I managed to transfer calls from mu iPhone to my own home line. I asked a friend to call my iPhone. It did not ring because the call went straight away to my home line.

    I thought that my iPhone will ring a couple of times first and the call will be transfer if I do not answer.

    So my call transfer arrangement is still lacking something.

  • lida

    Thanks, great advice! Could I forward my iphone to a satelite 087 number and have my iphone in this remote area with no vodacom reception?

  • Doc Spurlin

    I own an IPhone 4S that has no call forwarding feature in the menu. There is nothing about it in the manual. How do I engage call forwarding?
    Thank you.

  • P Kandaswamy

    I am unable to change the once enabled call forwarding number.

  • Kevin Williams

    Hi, I have 2 iphones a 3Gs (Work) and a a 4s personal use. Unfortunately the 3Gs has given up the ghost and can’t be used anymore. Is there a way I can get that old phone diverted to my newone?

  • john bernard

    I have two I=phones, 5s models, and neither one has the call forwarding choice under calls in the phone section of settings. What do I do??? …jb…