There are eight generations of iPad, going all the way back to the original iPad, released in 2010, and all of them have one thing in common, they can be used as phones if certain parameters are met, namely the combination of an iPhone and a SIM card.
An iPad can’t have its own phone number as it can only share your iPhone number, even though it can be used as a phone for text messaging through iMessage, and FaceTime video calls.
Contrary to many blogs out there claiming that an iPad can have its own number, it only shares the capability of making and taking phone calls through a linked iPhone. It doesn’t necessarily have its own phone number, just the same one that is assigned, via your carrier, to your iPhone.
How Does the iPad Work as a Phone?
Making calls on your iPad routes the call through your iPhone to your iPad but how does this work? Firstly, you have to have a SIM card on your iPad, which places it on the network of your carriers, such as Verizon, AT;T, T-Mobile, or others.
Second, you have to have it linked to your iPhone with the appropriate settings enabled on your iPad, like WiFi calling. It’s not too difficult to set up as Apple intended for Apple devices to all have at least some level of interconnectivity.
For instance, you can open a Google Doc on your iPhone, work on it for a little while, when you are away from home. When you get home, assuming you’ve set everything up correctly, you can turn on your Mac or iPad and immediately dive right back into what you were doing on your iPhone.
Does the iPad Need Your iPhone for Facetime Calls and iMessage?
For iMessage, yes, your iPad will need your iPhone, however, that’s not the case for FaceTime, so long as you have an adequate WiFi connection. Your iPad doesn’t use a cellular network for FaceTime communications so it doesn’t require either your iPhone or a SIM card to make or make FaceTime calls.
As far as FaceTime is concerned, your iPad only needs an email address set up so that someone calling you on FaceTime can identify and be directed to your iPad. This is usually set up for you, without you even knowing it.
Whenever you purchase an Apple product, especially for the first time, you are set up with an Apple ID that carries over to any Apple product that you own. The Apple ID includes an iCloud email address, such as *********@icloud.com, and that email address will be associated with your FaceTime unless you change it.
- Open your FaceTime app
- Select the + symbol
- Select the Contact you want to FaceTime with
- Select the Video Symbol or Audio Symbol
You can select the audio symbol but it doesn’t work as a phone call and therefore needs no phone number to operate. Audio FaceTime is essentially FaceTime with no faces, as in no video streaming.
How to Make Phone Calls with the iPad
To make phone calls with your iPad, you have to have an iPhone as well, and the settings have to be adjusted on the iPhone first before you move over to the iPad.
- Turn on your iPhone
- Select Settings
- Scroll down to the Phone settings symbol and select it
- Select Calls on Other Devices
- On the list of devices, toggle On for your iPad or any other devices you wish to add
All you need to do on the iPad is ensure that you are signed in to the same Apple ID account as the one on your iPhone. For instance, if you are looking to use your friend or family member’s iPad, and they have a different Apple ID, it won’t work.
You also want to make sure that your iPad and iPhone both have WiFi calling turned on for good measure. If you are on the road and neither device is connected to a WiFi spot, you won’t be able to take advantage of the feature. However, it’s a must-have when you are connected to WiFi.
To turn on WiFi calling, start with your iPhone:
- Open Settings again
- Select Cellular
- Toggle On WiFi calling
- Toggle On WiFi calling for other devices
- Select Agree on the next page
Once you have done that, you will be able to use WiFi calling on your iPhone and any other device that falls under your Apple ID when it is signed in.
Other Methods for Using the iPad as a Phone
While you are never truly using it as a phone, for the purposes of “audio-only” communication, there are other methods besides Apple’s built-in FaceTime and Phone apps.
Out of the bunch, it’s advisable to stick with Zoom, Discord, and especially Brave Talk. Brave is a newer browser and is based on the decentralization themes of crypto. You can expect far more privacy from Brave than any of the others, but most especially Facebook and Google.
If you are heavily invested, in terms of smart home or social media, with Google and Facebook, those two may be in your best interests to use. However, both Facebook and Google, and even Skype in a lot of ways, are known for their blatant disregard for privacy.
If there’s a loophole, they will find it. For the highest level of privacy, sticking with the standard FaceTime, iPad Audio features, Brave, and (to a lesser degree) Discord or Zoom, will be the most protective options that you have available.
Regardless of what you want to use, you’ll discover that your iPad is nearly as good as an iPhone when it comes to making and taking calls, and remaining connected to friends and family.
While iPads don’t necessarily get a phone number assigned to them, it’s all but an iPhone in their own right, especially if you already own an iPhone, or if you prefer to do a lot of video chatting. In fact, when it comes to communication, your iPad is extremely versatile and useful.