iPhone: Insert dialing pause into contact phone numbers

When I frequently make calls to automated systems that require an additional digit or extension to be dialed, I like to add these dialing key presses into my contact’s number with dialing pauses as appropriate. The iPhone makes it easy to put pauses into a contact’s phone number.

When editing a contact’s phone number and you are ready to insert a pause, tap the + * # key at the lower left of the screen as shown with a red asterisk in the image below:

After you tap this key, the keyboard layout will change to this:

To insert a pause, simply tap the Pause key. After you tap this key, the keyboard will revert to the normal layout. If you didn’t mean to insert a pause (or pound or asterisk), tap the same lower left key (which now will show 1 2 3 to return to the numeric keyboard.

The phone number displayed on the screen will show a comma where a pause has been inserted. For longer delays you can insert more pauses.


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.

36 Responses to “iPhone: Insert dialing pause into contact phone numbers”

  1. December 20, 2008 at 7:08 pm, Not working said:

    For some reason I’m not able to get this to work. I’m able to insert the pauses as you state but I don’t seem to get a consistent result. It seem like it varies the pause length sometime and other times it doesn’t do the pause at all.


  2. January 02, 2009 at 6:31 pm, Mahesh said:

    Thanks for the post. It’s saving me a lot of time!


  3. February 10, 2009 at 9:06 pm, Dave said:

    thanks , helped a bunch


  4. December 28, 2009 at 5:12 pm, Manu said:

    Thanks for the post. It was really helpful and worked perfectly !!


  5. January 01, 2010 at 7:27 pm, Anonymous said:



  6. April 22, 2010 at 2:17 am, Anonymous said:

    dialing pause works ok, but what about dialing wait?, for those who doesn’t know the difference in between pause and wait is, after a pause period the handset dials itself the next numbers, however after the wait the user is asked to press a key to send the next numbers.


  7. June 11, 2010 at 6:18 pm, Ajx2000 said:

    The pause dialing for the iPhone is slow and often rejected before it has a chance to finish. Instead of sounding like it is being tapped, the dial tone sounds like it is being held down for an extra few moments. By the time it’s released, the pause has already been rejected. Any suggestions?


  8. June 15, 2010 at 7:24 pm, SS said:

    works on contacts, but how can I make it work on the calendar?


  9. July 14, 2010 at 10:11 pm, Mike said:

    This has made my life just that much easier, thanks. Is there any way you can make it work on the call forward feature? I use call forward on my iPhone to receive all my calls through my office phone which you have to enter my extension to reach me. I want it to be able to dial the office line & my extension to make it easier for the people calling. Any suggestions?


  10. July 30, 2010 at 10:48 am, Colossians 3:23-25 said:

    Now THIS is useful. There are so many times when I am in the car trying to dial-in to a conference call. Even with a headset on, I still have to dial the meeting ID or if I am the facilitator, the meeting ID and host code. Now, I don’t have to run anyone off the road trying to dial these things.


    • August 21, 2010 at 11:28 am, ADM said:

      what would be better is adding a WAIT like on the BB. Can’t seem to figure it out on the iphone. Anyone know if it can be done?


      • April 25, 2011 at 4:24 pm, Topher Starshine said:

        “Wait” in addition to “pause” is now supported as of iOS 4.2.

        Pause: comma
        Wait: semicolon


        • April 26, 2011 at 1:14 am, Anonymous said:



    • February 07, 2011 at 10:52 pm, Vanderlt said:

      are you able to put the # sign after? I have not been able to make that work like it did on my blackberry.


      • August 21, 2012 at 6:22 pm, anonymous said:

        > yes.. I just tried this and it worked… in the location field of the iphone calendar entry I entered “800-555-1212;123456#” without the quotes. It becomes a link and I can click that which pops up the dialer and dials the 800 phone number. In the lower right it shows a button that says “Dial 123456#”. After I dial into the main 800 phone number and hear it ask for the passcode I press the “Dial 123456#” button and it dials the remaining digits and connects to the conference.


  11. August 22, 2010 at 3:27 pm, Ibsamsam said:

    how do I globally turn off the pause feature?


  12. August 24, 2010 at 9:18 pm, gw said:

    Thanks for the post. Saves me a lot of typing.


  13. September 25, 2010 at 8:01 pm, Bill said:

    alternate method – insert pause with iPhone by holding down the * and it will change to a comma (,) i.e., pause.


  14. September 27, 2010 at 12:51 pm, newtonnola said:

    Yay! Thank you


  15. December 03, 2010 at 4:55 am, 84k said:

    Thanks! It works perfectly!!


  16. December 27, 2010 at 1:18 pm, Icrap said:

    my old palm treo did this flawlessly, (so did my nokia & samsung & etc…) this iphone is just crap


    • November 16, 2012 at 6:25 pm, New Iphone User said:

      > Judging from the other comments, you must just not be doing it right.


  17. January 18, 2011 at 3:02 pm, Toto said:

    Works just fine! Prevent me from putting my glasses on!


  18. February 17, 2011 at 10:30 pm, guest said:

    Thanks a lot…


  19. August 09, 2011 at 11:55 am, Avinash said:

    thank you!


  20. August 20, 2011 at 2:06 am, Arasubaskar said:

    It worked …Thank you :-)


  21. August 25, 2011 at 5:12 am, Muriel Laughton said:

    I cannot find the pause button on my Iphone 4


  22. October 25, 2011 at 8:36 pm, Daniel said:

    If you use the “wait” function, the “End” button splits into two buttons, one being “End” and one being “Dial …” with … being the next set of numbers. Using this, you can enter calling card numbers as such:


    In the above example, 8005556666 is the calling card dial-in number, 2222222 is the PIN number, and 0841234567 is the international phone number.


  23. November 08, 2011 at 10:36 am, Gerald said:

    This thread has valueable information on the speeddial string.
    I would like to know more about the default length of the pause created. There is no information available on this.
    My customers need the additional dial information to access the IVR system. It worked for a short period but now for some reason they cannot use the speeddial to feed the access codes.
    FYI my customers receive a vcard when they signup and the vcard contains their personal speeddial string. In the vcard I tried using comma, capital P and lowercase p
    Other brands like BB, android, symbian and windows mobile work fine


  24. February 15, 2012 at 11:04 pm, Roxanne Henare said:

    Thanks heaps for the post!!! this was really helpful.

    Tahiti, South Pacific Ocean.


  25. February 28, 2012 at 5:58 am, Deb said:

    When you enter the conference call number in your Contacts, press the +*# key, then press “Wait” and enter your passcode. When you dial the conference call number from your contacts you will get a button at the bottom right of your screen with the passcode number in it. Just press this when it is time to do so and you will get connected to the call.


  26. September 25, 2012 at 12:43 pm, ztirf said:

    This is not working on the i-phone 5.

    Even without pauses programs, it pauses between the numbers.

    Something is wrong which must be fixed — known problem on Apple Support group.


  27. June 21, 2013 at 9:35 am, Tim said:

    This article very quickly resolved my problem thank you for taking the time to put it up.


  28. July 13, 2013 at 4:11 pm, BJ said:

    It is slightly different for iOS 6. There is no “+*#” button, just an asterisk (*). But if you hold down the asterisk for a second, it turns into a comma/pause.


  29. December 09, 2013 at 11:15 am, Jason said:

    It would be great if there was “an app for that” that goes through our contact numbers on the iphone, and wherever the number is followed by an ‘x’ then the extension, it switches that ‘x’ to 1 pause. Most corporate email platforms (either outlook or lotus notes), when you sync your contacts from there to phone, they extensions don’t work as people say – it’s so tedious to have to go through them manually on the phone. Any ideas?


  30. January 08, 2014 at 8:48 am, Larry Turrentine said:

    The “PAUSE” feature works great. I just need to know which button to press to get it to dial the remaining numbers. For instance, the main number dialed is “1-800-###-####(PAUSE)###############. Which button do I press to get the phone to dial the numbers (these numbers are not a phone number) after the (PAUSE)? Thank you very much.


Leave a Reply