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How to forward calls to another number or device

No one can be available 100% of the time. However, when your business phone is out of reach or you’re too busy to answer calls, you need to keep customers happy throughout the day. Learning how to forward calls to a different number is a simple way for desk phone and smartphone users to avoid missed calls — though it isn’t the only option you have.

We’ll walk you through the process of transferring calls to another phone. Then, we’ll introduce a better way to provide an excellent experience for both customers and team members.

What is call forwarding?

While the term is used in a wide range of use cases, call forwarding refers specifically to the act of setting up one phone number so that calls are automatically redirected to a different number

How to forward calls on traditional phones or landlines

If you’re still using a traditional office phone but are constantly on the go, learning how to forward calls from a landline to a cell phone is essential for keeping up with phone calls.

The method you need to use will depend on the type of desk phone you have. If your office has its own internal phone network, reach out to your IT department for instructions on how to forward calls. But if your phone is on a landline, you can forward calls with these four steps:

  1. Dial *72.
  2. Type in the phone number that will receive your forwarded calls, including the area code.
  3. Press pound (#).
  4. Wait for a confirmation tone to beep before hanging up.

All of your calls will automatically forward to your chosen phone number.

Ready to take calls on your landline again? Just dial *73, wait for the confirmation tone, and you should be all set.

Some service providers allow you to set up conditional call forwarding, which only forwards calls when you don’t answer or your phone line is otherwise unavailable. Your provider can tell you the proper activation and deactivation codes for this advanced feature.

How to forward calls on an iPhone or Android device

If you’re using a mobile phone, call forwarding can still be useful when you’re too busy to pick up your phone. Though there’s no way to exclusively forward business calls if you’re using one phone number for both business and personal purposes, it can guarantee some time away from answering calls.

Memorizing your provider’s dial codes may still be necessary if your phone runs on the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) network, like some older Verizon phones. However, most smartphones have a more intuitive call forwarding process than landline phones.

How to forward iPhone calls to another cell phone number

To forward calls to another number with an iPhone, follow these steps:

  1. Head to your Settings app.
  2. Select Phone.
How to forward calls: phone settings
  1. Tap Call Forwarding.
  2. Toggle on call forwarding.
  3. ​Enter the phone number that will receive your forwarded calls.

When you want to turn off the call forwarding feature, simply toggle it back off, and you’ll receive calls on your iPhone again.

Apple doesn’t offer a built-in conditional call forwarding option, but some carriers let you set up this feature by dialing a code, just like you would on a landline.

How to forward calls on Android using the Phone app

Android phones let you choose between four different call forwarding options without any dial codes. Here’s how:

  1. Head to your Phone app.
  2. Tap on the three-dot menu icon, and tap Settings or Call settings.
  3. Tap Call forwarding.
  4. Choose one of four options: Always forward to automatically forward any call, forward when busy to reroute if you’re on a call, forward when unanswered to reroute anytime you don’t answer, or forward when unreached to forward if you don’t have a phone signal, your phone is off, or it’s in airplane mode.
  5. Enter the phone number that will receive your forwarded calls and confirm.

To turn off call forwarding, tap on whatever option you enabled and select Turn off.

Related: How to forward a text on Android

What are the limitations to call forwarding?

Call forwarding can be a big hassle for your team members. Whether you’re using a traditional phone system or a smartphone for business, be aware of these four limitations:

  • On many landline phone systems, you may need to manually set up your call forwarding feature each time you want to forward calls to another number or device.
  • You may forget to disable call forwarding when you no longer wish to automatically forward calls to another phone number.
  • If you’re paying for a desk phone system on top of another separate phone plan, you may be paying for two separate services when you don’t actually need to.
  • There’s no way to automatically forward business calls exclusively if you’re using one phone number for both business and personal purposes.

How to forward calls in OpenPhone

Not in a place with a reliable internet connection and still need to receive calls yourself? You can set up call forwarding in OpenPhone using your mobile, desktop, or web app. Your forwarding number can be any U.S., Canadian, or toll-free number you have access to.

Here’s how to forward calls in the OpenPhone mobile app:

  1. Tap on your account image in the upper left corner.
  2. Tap Manage next to Your numbers.
  3. Select the phone number you want to set up call forwarding on.
How to forward calls: Arizona
  1. Tap Call Forwarding and enter the phone number that will receive your forwarded calls.
  2. Hit Save.

When you’re ready to stop forwarding calls, head back to Call Forwarding (step 4 above), delete the number you’re forwarding to, and hit Save.

Setting up call forwarding on your computer is just as easy. Here’s how to forward calls in the OpenPhone desktop or web app:

  1. Click Settings from the left-hand menu.
  2. Under Workspace, click Phone Numbers.
  3. Select the phone number you want to set up call forwarding on.
Call flow settings
  1. Scroll down and tap Forward calls.
  2. ​Enter the phone number that will receive your forwarded calls.
  3. Press the Forward button.

You can stop call forwarding at any time by going back into your phone number’s settings and tapping Stop next to Forwarding to.

Bonus: Forward calls you’re already on to teammates

With a VoIP phone service, you don’t always have to set up call forwarding ahead of time to reroute incoming calls. If you pick up a call and realize it’s for another team member, use OpenPhone’s call transfer feature (available on our Business plan) to send customers to the right person seamlessly.

To transfer a call, follow these simple steps:

  1. Click the pause icon ⏸️ to place the caller on hold.
Hold room desktop app OpenPhone.
  1. Click on “…” next to the hold option.
  1. Select “Transfer call”
  1. On a desktop or mobile, type the name or phone number of the person you want to transfer the call to. You can also send a note when you transfer a call to a teammate in OpenPhone, ensuring a smooth handover and avoiding the need for the customer to repeat themselves. Keep in mind that the message is only visible if you are transferring a call to someone else in your OpenPhone workspace.

When you add a message for a teammate, it appears with the incoming call notification. Here’s how adding a message looks on your teammate’s end:

The best way to avoid missed calls: OpenPhone

Call forwarding can be an extremely helpful feature when you’re getting business calls through your landline or smartphone. However, switching to a VoIP phone system is the best way to avoid missing important calls without the hassle of transferring calls to another phone.

With OpenPhone, you can get phone calls and text messages on any device via an internet connection. Or, you can share phone numbers with your team to allow anyone who’s available to pick up the phone. If you ever need to answer calls but don’t have internet — or if you get a call meant for someone else on your team — OpenPhone still offers VoIP call forwarding features to ensure you never miss a beat.

Sign up for a free, seven-day trial of OpenPhone to give yourself the flexibility you need.