iOS 6: Auto-Dialing Phone Extensions

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If you have to call a lot of people who have extension numbers, you know how frustrating that can be. Do you write down their extension numbers in your Contacts app? If so, where? Do you just have to remember every single one? Ugh.

Yeah, this way doesn't work.

Fortunately, the iPhone has a built-in, simple way that you can add a customized button for dialing someone's extension. That's a pretty great idea, right? To set one up, find a contact with an extension number you'd like to add, and then click the Edit button on his or her card to make changes. When you start editing a phone number, you'll see a button labeled +*# at the lower left.

Touch that, and you'll get this screen, which'll allow you to put in either a "pause" or a "wait" for the number in question.

A pause adds a two-second delay, which is indicated by a comma.

You can add as many pauses as you like, and then you'll type in the extension at the end. So if you know, for example, that a certain business makes you wait six seconds before you can punch in someone's extension number, just insert three pauses as I've done above, and your iPhone will dial the extension for you after that amount of time.

Adding a wait, though, is where the magic happens. This'll be indicated by a semicolon instead of a comma, but you'll type the extension in afterward, same as before.

Instead of pausing a certain number of seconds, a wait will add a special button that you can press when you're calling someone to go to the extension.

Just like with the pauses, you can add multiple waits, too. So you could type in "800-867-5309;123;456;789," and the first button that appears will be "Dial '123,'" followed by "Dial '456'" after you press the first one, and so on. That'd be very handy for walking through automatic systems without having to switch over to the keypad at all. 

Neat! So no more trying to remember extensions or—God forbid—actually talking to another human being to ask him to put you through. I shudder at the thought.

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Lee Dronick

This is one of your best and most useful tips!


MH, does this tip add the commas or semi-colons to your Mac upon syncing? Can you just add them to your contacts on your Mac?

Melissa Holt

Aw, thank you, Lee! I do my best. smile

ibuck, adding commas or semicolons on your Mac (and then syncing to your iPhone) works just fine. And pauses and waits do indeed sync the other way, too!


Very nice, indeed!

I knew there had to be some way of doing this, but never bothered to look into it. This is truly a practical tip that I will use.


Ah Melissa! You’ve done it again smile
This is truly one of the most useful tips I’ve seen. Never knew and will pass on to our users (group).

Thanks again.

Melissa Holt

Yay! I’m so happy to have helped you guys. Makes my day!


This takes me back to the days of 56K dial up modems.  good to see that some things remain the same.  Nice to know that the IPhone supports this.  Thanks

Scott B in DC

Ok… now I’m impressed. I have to use this one for those telecoms. This is going to save me a lot of problems. THANKS!!!

Pishabh Badmaash

Sweet mother of God, this has change my life

Sean Burdick

the way in which the iphone supports this is somewhat unique, however being able to dial extensions and enter pauses has been part of the touchtone telephone service since the pulse system went away.. I had my cordless phones programmed with commas/pauses and extensions for years.. this feature alone is not unique to the iphone.

Arthur Schwartz

I’ve used these feature for many years to get my remote voicemail.  Program the voicemail number and then pauses with the string of entries required.  For Verizon VM the format looks as follows. 


Jakob Peterhänsel

Well, Welcome to the world of GSM networks!

This has been a feature of GSM networks since they launched back in the ‘90’s!

Shelin Rajan Easwaramangalath

iphone dialer has to have more feature. e.g: 800505;9;<calling card pin>#;phone number#. in this case <calling card pin> expires after use. Hence <calling card pin> keeps on changing every 10-15 days (let us say). This <calling card pin> needs to be updated for every contact which needs to be dialed frequently with the <calling card pin>. So is there any feature in iphone dialer which will point to a <calling card pin> and could be defined in iphone memory (e.g. note pad or somewhere else).

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