How to Automatically Dial Extensions or Menu Options on Your iPhone

If you’re using your iPhone to call a family member or friend at work, or if you’re phoning a particular department or person in a company, chances are you have to dial an extension after the main number connects.

Similarly, many businesses require you to negotiate a series of menus to get information or connect with a particular employee or section (“Press 1 for Sales; press 2 for Customer Service”, and so on). This normally requires you to display the keyboard, listen for the prompts, enter the numbers, and repeat as necessary.

However, if you know the extension or phone menu sequence, you can program it into the number and have the Phone app do all the hard work for you. The Phone app can do either of the following:

  • Pause. This option, which is represented by a comma (,) in the phone number, means that the Phone app dials the main number, waits for two seconds, then dials whatever extension or menu value that appears after the comma. You can add multiple commas to the number if you need a longer delay.

  • Wait. This option, which is represented by a semicolon (;) in the phone number, means that the Phone app dials just the main number and also displays a button labeled Dial “extension,” where extension is whatever digits appear after the semicolon. When the phone system prompts you to enter the extension, just tap the Dial button.

You can set these up in two ways:

  • Contacts list. When you’re entering a phone number using the Contacts list, type the full number and then tap the +*# key that appears in the lower left corner of the keyboard. This temporarily adds two new keys: pause and wait. Tap pause to add a comma, then tap the extension or menu value, and repeat as needed; tap wait to add a semicolon, and then tap the extension.

  • Keypad. Using the keypad in the Phone app, type the full number. To add a comma to tell the Phone app to pause, tap and hold the * key until a comma appears, then tap the extension or menu value; to add a semicolon to tell the Phone app to wait, tap and hold the # key until a semicolon appears, then tap the extension.