How to forward calls and texts to your Mac

Call and text forwarding

Now it no longer matters if your iPhone is in another room when you receive a call or a text message. Provided that there's a Mac or other Apple device to hand, there's no need to rush to the iPhone to respond: iOS 8.1 and above allow your phone to forward voice calls and SMS or MMS messages to your iPad, your iPod touch and even your Mac.

We say forward, but in fact all of your devices – including your iPhone – will attract your attention, meaning there's less pressure on you to keep your phone in your pocket. It works in the opposite direction, too, enabling you to initiate calls and send SMS and MMS messages from those devices by routing calls and texts over Wi-Fi back to your iPhone.

As in the case of other Continuity features in iOS and OS X, there are a couple of conditions to meet before your iPhone can start forwarding calls and messages to other devices. All of your devices need to be signed into the same iCloud account as your iPhone, and they also need to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network as the iPhone.

Phone calls are forwarded to the FaceTime app on your other devices. This feature is automatically enabled for you, but you don't have to accept it on all of your devices – if you'd rather not receive calls on your Mac or iPad, the feature can be turned off on individual devices and left enabled on others – whatever combination suits you.

Conversations by SMS and MMS take place in the Messages app on both iOS and OS X.

How to forward calls and texts to your Mac

1. Call a contact

You can either find someone in the Contacts app or search for them using Spotlight – it summarises their details without opening the Contacts app.

Move the pointer over the word Audio (it has a phone icon next to it) and click. Under the 'Call Using iPhone' heading, choose the number. You'll see that a call window appears at the top right of the desktop. Alerts about incoming calls also appear here.

How to forward calls and texts to your Mac

2. Number detection

Safari and Mail can detect phone numbers in text. Move the pointer over one and an arrow may appear to its right. Move over this, click, and choose the option that dials it.

If the arrow doesn't appear, selecting part of the number sometimes helps. If not, copy the number to the Clipboard, open FaceTime and paste into the search bar. Where the number is repeated below, click the phone icon next to it.

How to forward calls and texts to your Mac

3. Turn off forwarding

To prevent your Mac and other devices from ringing when your iPhone receives a call, look in FaceTime's settings. In FaceTime on a Mac, choose FaceTime > Preferences… and select the Settings tab. On an iOS device, find FaceTime at the top level of the Settings app.

In both of these places, untick the option labelled 'iPhone Cellular Calls' to prevent calls being forwarded to that device.