Your iPhone has an underrated calling feature you're probably not using

An iPhone being held with a phone number about to be dialled in
(Image credit: DenPhotos / Shutterstock)

If you’re not sure why you’d want to put an iPhone call on hold, don’t worry. I wasn’t either. ‘Isn’t holding calls just something people did on landlines in 80s coming of age films?’ I thought, perhaps naively. ‘The kind of thing that only call centers actually do nowadays?’

As it turns out, no, and putting someone on hold on iPhone still very much has its uses. Admittedly, some of those have been usurped by the mute button, like stopping a caller hearing your end of the line. But if you need to call a friend while already talking to another one, to organize plans for example, simply sticking one on hold while you dial the other one separately (or even add them to the call) is super useful.

Anyone running their own business will naturally still appreciate call holding too, utilizing the function to deal with multiple customers or clients via their iPhone. 

But how do you do it? Before learning myself, I was familiar with putting someone on hold when given the option to do so — this happens when you receive a call while already on one — but had never known how to just stick someone on the back burner whenever I felt like it. As it happens, it’s surprisingly simple, so here’s how to put someone on hold on iPhone.

In addition to our range of helpful tutorials, we also have a wide range of expertly crafted buying guides to help you make the right choice. So, if you're in the market for a new Apple device, make sure you check out our guide to the best iPhones.

How to put an iPhone call on hold

1. Open the Phone app and find a contact or dial a number.

(Image credit: Future)

2. While on the call, hold the mute button to put the other caller on hold.

(Image credit: Future)

3. Your call is now on hold, denoted by the "HOLD" text under the name or number of the other person. To add someone else to the call, tap the add call button and choose a contact or dial a number to add to the call. To start a separate call with the first one on hold, tap contacts and then choose a contact or dial a number.

(Image credit: Future)

4. If you've started a separate call, the second one will appear underneath the first in the bar at the top. Tap the swap button to switch between calls.

(Image credit: Future)

Now you know how to put someone on hold on iPhone. It's a feature that's been around for a while, but despite using iPhones for over a decade, I never knew about! Now that you have the power of call holding within your palm, remember to us it wisely. Going on a power trip and putting everyone on hold just because ends in arguments. Trust me.

While that call is on hold, though, why not check out a quick and easy guide to getting the most out of your iPhone? If you want to increase your Apple phone's charge time, you should definitely read how to save your iPhone's battery life. If you're keen on identifying the world around you, read how to identify plants on iPhone and how to identify a dog's breed on iPhone. If you'd like to stop those annoying junk text messages then make sure to check out how to stop spam texts on iPhone. And if you'd like to make sure you don't miss calls, find out how to change your iPhone's ringer volume. If you're looking for other hidden features in the apps you use, start by learning how to make Spotify louder and how to use the Spotify music equalizer.

Peter Wolinski
Editor, How To & Cameras

Peter is Editor of the How To and Camera sections at Tom's Guide. As a writer, he covers topics including tech, photography, gaming, hardware, motoring and food & drink. Outside of work, he can usually be found telling everyone about his greyhounds, obsessively detailing his car, squeezing as many FPS as possible out of PC games, and perfecting his espresso shots.