Can You Call 911 From An iPad? (and other important tips)


Nowadays, there’s little that the modern cell phone can do that the iPad can’t. They can utilize the same Apple compatible apps and perform online search just as efficiently. The only function where phones have iPads beat is making phone calls, but does this still hold true in emergencies when you need to contact 911? 

iPads can call 911 when connected to Wi-Fi, even if the service in that area is weak or non-existent. It utilizes a feature known as “Wi-Fi Calling” that is found in all iPad models created since 2015. However, you must have a VOIP telephone app, like Facetime, Skype, etc. to make this call. 

In this article, we will provide an in-depth guide on how to make a 911 call using your iPad. You’ll learn what settings to enable, what apps to download, and more. Afterward, we’ll provide additional important tips on using your iPad in an emergency situation. 

How to Make a 911 Call With Your iPad

There are a few ways you can call 911 using your iPad. Here, we’ve provided a quick and easy guide with the methods we recommend most.

The predominant way people make 911 calls using their iPad is to set up and enable the Wi-Fi Calling setting. This will allow you to use your iPad to either call other devices when connected to Wi-Fi or share a call from a connected device, like your cell phone. 

To do this, you need to have Wi-Fi calling set up on your cell phone first, and it must be an Apple phone. Start by going into your phone’s “Settings” menu and selecting the “Cellular” option.

You’ll then select one of two options, or select both:

  • Select “Calls on Other Devices,” turn on “Allow Calls on Other Devices,” and then choose your iPad from the list of devices. This will allow your iPad to make and receive calls when it is signed on to the same Apple ID, connected to Wi-Fi, and near your phone.
  • Select “Wi-Fi Calling,” turn on “Add Wi-Fi Calling For Other Devices,” and then choose your iPad from the list of devices. This will allow your iPad to make and receive calls when it is signed on to the same Apple ID and connected to Wi-Fi without being near your phone. 

Whichever option you prefer is up to you. Once you’ve set this up, you’ll need to open your iPad’s settings and enable “Wi-Fi Calling” there. 

You can then either call 911 from your iPad by having you or another person dial 911 on the connected phone and using the “Wi-Fi Calling” shared feature to take the call on the iPad, or you can use a VOIP telephone app. 

Also, check out the guide on what to do if you accidentally call 911.

Calling 911 Using Other Apps

Since most people probably wouldn’t use their iPad to call 911 if their phone was handy, you’re more likely going to utilize this option of calling with an app.

Yes, you still need to have “Wi-Fi Calling” set up on your iPad, but after you’ve done that, you’ll want to download your VOIP telephone or alternative app of choice. The best apps to use for calling 911 on an iPad include:

  • Facetime
  • Skype
  • Google Voice
  • WhasApp
  • Facebook Messenger
  • iCall

After you open and sign in to your app of choice, you should be able to select “emergency contact” or “911” from your contacts list and start your 911 call. 

Important Tips for Making 911 Calls on an iPad

Now that you know how to get your iPad set up to make any future 911 calls, let’s cover some additional tips that might be helpful for preparation or when the emergency arises. 

Important tips for making 911 calls on an iPad include:

  1. Having “Wi-Fi” Calling set up as soon as possible, not when the emergency happens
  2. Enable “Device Location” to help 911 operators find you
  3. Use your iPad’s camera to take photos or video that might be helpful to authorities
  4. Remember to use iPad features and apps that might come in handy (ex. flashlight, maps, etc.)

When you’re in the middle of an emergency situation, the last thing you want to do is waste time choosing different settings on your iPad so you can call 911.

Instead, have it set up and ready to go ahead of time. No one wants to think emergency situations will happen to them, but being prepared can make all the difference.

Another factor that will help immensely in an emergency situation is having as much information to provide your 911 operator and other authorities as possible.

This is why you should have your location enabled on your device in case they have difficulty finding your iPad or you can open up Google Maps to see where you are and/or where you’re headed.

Taking photos and video can also be a great idea for the sake of evidence but doing so should never take priority over safety and survival.

Also, check out this article I wrote about whether 911 can block your number.

Finally, if you find yourself in an emergency situation but don’t have your phone on hand, you can absolutely use an iPad to call 911, as long as you have the right features, apps, and settings enabled. Remember to keep some of the tips listed above in mind as well to help these situations be as efficient and stress-free as possible.

Mike Pertz

I’m Mike, I’m a full time firefighter/paramedic and the founder of FirefighterNOW. I’m also a columnist for FireRescue1. If you’re reading this blog my guess is you are interested in the fire service. There's information on fitness, gear, interviews, tests and more. I hope you find what you're looking for.

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