How to Transfer Calls From One Cell to Another

By Amanda Knaebel

Updated August 24, 2017

If you use two different cellphones, you can set up call forwarding to transfer your calls from one to the other so you never miss an important call no matter which phone you have on hand. Most phones allow you to set up call forwarding with some quick changes in the phone’s settings. If you don’t see an option to transfer your calls to another number in your phone’s settings, you can initiate call forwarding with a dial code or feature change from your cell carrier.

Call Forwarding on iPhone

If you use an iPhone, many mobile carriers allow you to turn call waiting on and off from the Settings app on your phone. Open the Settings app by tapping on the gray gear icon. Choose Phone > Call Forwarding and set the switch to the on position so it appears green. Then, enter the number, area code first, of the phone you want your calls transferred to.

When you have call forwarding turned on, you’ll see an icon that looks like a phone handset with an arrow pointing to the right in the status bar of the phone you’re transferring calls from.

Call Forwarding on Android

If you’re using an Android phone, open the Phone app and tap on “More” at the top right. If you don’t see “More,” tap on the three dots on the right side of the search bar in the Phone app. Next, tap on “Settings” or “Call Settings” and choose the “Call Forwarding” option.

You may see a list of options to choose from that tells the phone which calls to forward to your other number. “Always Forward” means just that -- every call someone places to your first number will go to the forwarded number instead. The phone your calls are being forwarded from won’t ring. “Forward When Busy” will forward calls you don’t answer when you’re talking to someone else on your original number. “Forward When Unanswered” forwards calls you don’t answer, even when you’re not talking on your original phone. “Forward When Unreached” means calls are forwarded to your other number if your original phone doesn’t have service, like when it’s in airplane mode or if it’s turned off completely.

After you’ve chosen what kind of calls you want forwarded, enter the number, including the area code, of the phone you want the calls to go to and tap “OK.” When you have call forwarding turned on, you’ll see a phone icon with an arrow pointing to the right in the status bar at the top of your phone.

Other Ways to Set Up Call Forwarding

If you have a regular cellphone or a smart phone that doesn’t run iOS or Android, you may still be able to set up call forwarding through the Settings menu. Look for an option that says “Phone,” “Calling Features,” “Call Options,” or something similar to find call forwarding.

Some cell carriers that use Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology, like Sprint and Verizon, don’t have an option to turn call forwarding on and off in the phone’s settings. If you use one of these carriers and you just don’t see the option to enable call forwarding on your phone, you can turn it on and off by dialing a code from the phone you want to transfer calls from.

If you’re a Sprint customer, dial 72 from your phone, then put in the number of the phone you want to transfer your calls to. This will make all of your calls bypass your original phone and ring on the number you’re forwarding to. If you only want to forward calls you don’t answer on your primary phone, dial 73 before entering the number you’re forwarding to. 74 will only transfer calls to the second number if your main line is busy. To turn call forwarding off, dial the same code you originally used to set it up, followed by a 0 -- so 720 to cancel unconditional call forwarding, 730 to cancel no answer call forwarding or 740 to cancel busy call forwarding.

To enable call forwarding from a Verizon cellphone, dial 72 followed by the number with the area code you want your calls to go to, then press the Call button and wait until you hear a confirmation message that call forwarding has been enabled. To disable call forwarding, dial 73 from your original phone and press the Call button to hear a message telling you call forwarding has been turned off.

You can also enable call forwarding by logging into your My Verizon account. Click on the Call Forwarding page from your main account page and enter the number you want your calls to go to in the “Forward Mobile Number to” field. You can then choose whether you want to forward all of your calls to the second number or only forward calls when your original line is busy or you don’t answer. Click “Set Up Call Forwarding” and “Text Me the Code.” Verizon will send an automated text message to your original number with a numerical code you’ll need to enter on the My Verizon Call Forwarding page. Click “Confirm” after you’ve entered the code to enable call forwarding. You can turn the feature off from the same page by clicking “Cancel Call Forwarding.”

Call Forwarding on Landlines

Most landline phone providers allow you to forward calls as well, though it may be a paid feature you’ll have to add to your account before you can use it. Once you have call forwarding on your landline account, set it up by dialing your provider’s code on the landline phone you want to transfer your calls from. If you’re not sure what code to use, check your provider’s website or call the customer service line.

With many landline providers, including AT&T, Verizon, Cox and Charter Spectrum, you can dial *72 or 72# from your home phone to set up unconditional call forwarding. Wait to hear the dial tone. Then, enter the number you want your calls transferred to. Some providers, like Charter Spectrum, ask you to dial # after you input the number. For long-distance numbers, enter 1 followed by the area code and number. If you’re transferring to a number that you usually have to dial with the area code from your home phone but isn’t long-distance, enter the phone number with the area code, but omit the preceding “1.” For local calls, just enter the number without the area code.

You’ll hear a tone after you enter the number, and your provider will typically place a call to the phone you’re transferring your calls to. Call forwarding won’t be activated unless you answer the test call on the phone you’re transferring to. Dialing *73 or 73# on your landline will turn call forwarding off.

Some landline providers allow you to set up busy or selective call forwarding as well. For example, Charter Spectrum and Cox allow customers you to set up busy call forwarding by entering 90 followed by the number you want to transfer calls to. 91 turns busy call forwarding off. For selective call forwarding, which allows you to transfer multiple landline numbers to a single alternate number, 63 activates the service. 83 turns selective call forwarding off with Charter Spectrum. You’ll have to dial *63 again and choose option 3 from the voice prompts to turn selective forwarding off if you’re a Cox customer.

Considerations When Using Call Forwarding

Remember that your voicemail on your main line will get bypassed if you have your calls forwarded to a different number. Callers will still hear your voicemail on the number you’re forwarding to if you don’t answer and you have voicemail set up on your second number. If your cell plan doesn’t have unlimited minutes, keep in mind that some carriers still subtract minutes on forwarded calls under the plan of the phone number the caller initially dialed. Most carriers won’t allow you to forward to international numbers either.