iPhone: Insert dialing pause into contact phone numbers

Posted June 30, 2007 by Quinn McHenry in Apple iPhone

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

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  • Not working

    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.

  • Mahesh

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

  • Dave

    thanks , helped a bunch

  • Manu

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

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    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.

  • Ajx2000

    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?

  • SS

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

  • Mike

    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?

  • Colossians 3:23-25

    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.

    • ADM

      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?

      • Topher Starshine

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

        Pause: comma
        Wait: semicolon

        • Anonymous


    • Vanderlt

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

      • anonymous

        > 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.

  • Ibsamsam

    how do I globally turn off the pause feature?

  • gw

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

  • Bill

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

  • newtonnola

    Yay! Thank you

  • 84k

    Thanks! It works perfectly!!

  • Icrap

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

    • New Iphone User

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

  • Toto

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

  • guest

    Thanks a lot…

  • Avinash

    thank you!

  • Arasubaskar

    It worked …Thank you 🙂

  • Muriel Laughton

    I cannot find the pause button on my Iphone 4

  • 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.

  • Gerald

    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

  • Roxanne Henare

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

    Tahiti, South Pacific Ocean.

  • Deb

    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.

  • ztirf

    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.

  • Tim

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

  • BJ

    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.

  • Jason

    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?

  • Larry Turrentine

    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.

  • Gordon

    I tried doing what your photo shows above, but I guess every I-phone but mine shows the bottom left key to be “+*#”. My phone only shows “*” on the bottom left key, and touching this does nothing!!