Apple iOS 10.3 is a big release packed full of new features, but dig deep and you will find it also has a very popular one that has not been included in the official release notes…
‘Great Secret Features’ and ‘Nasty Surprises’ are my regular columns investigating operating system updates for the best features / biggest problems hidden behind the headlines.
Buried in the settings of iOS 10.3 is the ability for Verizon customers to make WiFi calls without the need for your iPhone. Discovered by MacRumors, simply navigate to Settings > Phone > Calls on Other Devices and toggle it on, you will then see all the devices you can connect and toggle them on or off individually. This brings Verizon customers parity with iPhone owners on AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile who have had access to this for some time.
Edit: some comments on this article mention Verizon already offers WiFi Calling. Please note this is inferior to the WiFi Calling functionality that iOS 10.3 brings. This is explained in the paragraph below.
What Is This Upgraded WiFi Calling?
In short: iOS 10.3 brings an upgraded version of WiFi Calling which allows iPhone users to make and receive WiFi calls on all their other iCloud-connected devices whether that is an iPad, iPod touch, Apple Watch or Mac. The big differentiator between what Verizon customers had before and what they will have with iOS 10.3 is WiFi Calling on these devices still works even if your iPhone is on a different WiFi network or switched off – nothing needs to be routed through your iPhone as before.
This can come in very useful if, for example, your iPhone is out of battery.
While Verizon customers will be delighted by this addition, it is actually long overdue. After all not only do the network’s biggest rivals offer this already, but so do many smaller US carriers like MetroPCS and Simple Mobile. It has also been rolled out by several international carriers.
Verizon customers eager for this enhanced WiFi Calling should jump on the iOS 10.3 beta release which is available now. If you haven’t signed up for iOS beta releases this can be done at Apple’s Beta Software Program site. Note bugs are often found in betas so if you prefer to wait for the final release of iOS 10.3 it remains about a month away.