While it used to require a conference calling service to get more than a couple people in more than a couple of locations onto a single phone call, the iPhone makes creating and hosting a small conference call very easy. And forget about dialing into special phone numbers and long access codes. All you need is everyone's phone number.
In the U.S., the iPhone phone app can support up to 5 calls at once on AT&T and up to 2 calls simultaneously on Verizon.
To use conferencing calling on your iPhone, do the following:
- Call the first person you want to include on the call (or have them call you)
- Once they've answered, tap the Add Call button to put them on hold
- This brings up your contacts list. Browse through it to the person you want to add to the call, tap their name, and then tap their phone number that you want to call. You can also choose the keypad from this screen and dial the next number directly
- When the next person you're calling has answered, tap the Merge Calls button to conference all the lines together
- If you're already on the call and another participant calls you, tap the Hold and Answer button that pops up on the screen and the tap Merge Calls to join the calls together into a conference.
Private Lines and Hanging Up Individual Lines
When you use your iPhone to host a conference call, you can speak to one participant privately, or disconnect people from the call individually.
To speak privately to just one person on the call, tap the arrow next to Conference at the top of the screen. The next screen shows a list of all the people on the call. Tap the Private button next to the person to speak only to them without the rest of the conference participants hearing you.
Disconnect Individual Lines
On the same screen where you enter private conversations you can also disconnect individual callers. Next to each name, there's a red phone icon. To disconnect a caller, tap that icon and then tap the End button. This disconnects that caller while leaving everyone else in the conference.
You can also choose to flip between two calls without conferencing them together using the Swap Calls button. If you've got two calls coming into your phone, simply tap the Swap Calls button to put the current call on hold and move to the other. Tap the button again to reverse the process.