Making and answering phone calls on the iPhone is a piece of cake. There’s also plenty you can do while on the phone to manage multiple calls or locate useful information. And if you miss a call, the iPhone automatically creates a list of callers who you can then call back at your convenience thanks to Visual Voicemail.

Receiving and returning calls on the iPhone

Slide the green arrow across the screen to unlock your phone and answer a call. If someone calls when you’re using the iPhone you’ll instead see options to Answer or Decline the call. Reply With Message option lets you acknowledge the caller if you can’t take the call. Remind Me Later and the location or time-based Do Not Disturb feature that automatically sends calls to voicemail are handy when you need to get stuff done or are travelling overseas and don’t want mid-slumber interruptions.

Favorites and VIPs

Favorites lists your most frequently-called numbers and is the iPhone’s equivalent of speed dialing. To designate a favorite, tap the + sign at the top of the Favorites screen. The iPhone 5 has  an override feature for VIPs - anyone such as your spouse, kids or boss you’ll always take calls from.

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In-call options

Six buttons appear during phone calls: Mute, Keypad, Speaker, Add Call, FaceTime and Contacts. Tapping the Mute button turns off your microphone; you’ll still be able to hear callers on the other end of the line. If you tap and hold the Mute button, you’ll put the caller on hold and mute both ends of the conversation. Tap the Speaker button to put the call on speakerphone. You can use the keypad while on a call to navigate phone trees or dial extensions. If you need to look up a number or an address while on a call, tap Contacts to access your Address Book.You can have more than one person on the call. Tap the Contacts button or the Add Call button to add another.

Recents

The Recent calls screen offers two views: All or Missed. Tap the blue arrow next to a caller’s name to view the date and time the call was logged and the call duration.

Use the on-screen options to field incoming calls and to access additional features while you talk

Using FaceTime

Press the FaceTime button, indicated by the video camera icon, to start your video chatting session

Conducting webcam-based calls on a laptop or PC is nothing new. FaceTime extends the concept of video chatting to smartphones. You need a Wi-Fi or 3G cellular network connection and for whoever you’re calling to have a FaceTime compatible device (an iPhone 4/4S or iPhone 5, a 2010 or later iPod touch or a Mac with an iSight camera).

To initiate a FaceTime call, you can make a voice call as usual and then switch over to a video chat by tapping the FaceTime button. This appears where the Hold button usually does during phone calls. (You’ll still see Hold if you have the FaceTime feature disabled, or you can bring it up by pressing and holding the Mute button).

A question mark appears if your iPhone isn’t sure that the other party has FaceTime abilities. If they do, the recipient will be presented with a screen allowing him or her to decide whether to accept your FaceTime request. If they decline, you’ll stay on the phone sans video. If you accept it, FaceTime will launch and both callers will appear onscreen.

FaceTime now works over cellular as well as Wi-Fi, but you may need to turn it on by going to Settings > FaceTime and changing the Use Cellular Data setting to On. Be careful of how much data you are using though.

Using Visual Voicemail

The iPhone lets you choose which voicemail messages you want to listen to.

The iPhone lets you access your voicemail while you’re on the go. It also does far more than record messages from callers and let you know whose calls you’ve missed. Apple’s Visual Voicemail shows your messages as a list, letting you choose which messages to listen to and the order in which they are played. In the UK, O2 is the only mobile operator to off er Visual Voicemail. Other networks off er a service where you call an automated phone service to pick up voicemail - or you can try an alternative visual voicemail such as HulloMail.

Here’s how Visual Voicemail works. If you have new voicemails, the Slide To Unlock slider will instead say Slide To Listen. This will jump you directly to your voicemail page. If your phone is unlocked, you’ll see a red number on the Voicemail button at the bottom of the screen. Tap this button to retrieve your messages. Unplayed voicemails have a blue dot next to them. Tap the message to begin playback. Tap it again to pause, or use the on-screen slider to fastforward or rewind a message, if you didn’t quite catch the details.

Tapping the blue arrow next to a voicemail message will take you to the person’s contact information and show the time and date the message was left. To call the person back, just tap the Call Back button. Tap Delete to get rid of the message entirely. To record your voicemail greeting tap the Greeting button in the upper left corner of the Voicemail screen.