Can you Tell if your Call is Being Forwarded?

Call forwarding is a feature of modern telephone networks that enables you to redirect incoming calls to a different number. It works on both mobile and landlines and can be very useful. Essentially, you tell the network switch that any calls coming into your number should be redirected to a different number. The switch will not dial your original number but used the new destination instead.

Can you Tell if your Call is Being Forwarded?

So can you tell if your call is being forwarded? In a word, no. Call forwarding is a network setting and happens in less than a second. Unless your network has some exotic setting that informs you, you will not know whether your call is forwarded or not. Aside from a few indicators, there are no message alerts or surefire ways to know if someone is forwarding your phone calls to another device.

Although most people won’t care if their calls are forwarded, it may be something useful to know if you have a child who is supposed to be at home but really isn’t or to ensure that you’re actually calling the company or professional you’re looking for.

A forwarded call will not cost you more money assuming the number your calling is based in the United States so standard rates will apply.

How Can You Tell if Your Call Is Being Forwarded?

Essentially, a forwarded call is rerouted from the number you dialed to a new one. Unfortunately, there is no ground-breaking evidence that you’ve been transferred aside from a few minor indicators.

If you notice that when you call another person the feedback ring tone changes (no, not the musical ring back tone we were so fond of in the days of flip phones), the call is likely being forwarded to another phone. No big deal for the most part, but this is certainly a brow-raising event for those who are concerned about forwarding.

You may call someone and notice a small delay after the first few rings. It takes time for the system to understand where your call should go (it’s a very short amount of time of course). So strange pauses in between rings or those that ring an abnormal amount of time may be forwarded calls.

Why Would Someone Need to Forward Their Calls?

There are many benefits of forwarding calls. For example, if you know you’re about to travel outside of a network zone you can forward your calls to a local landline to ensure you don’t miss any important communications. Although, wifi calling does exist now so that’s probably a better option in this scenario.

Some people use the feature while traveling while others use it for business purposes. Rather than having a work phone and a personal phone on them at all times, call forwarding reduces clutter and puts all of your phone calls in one place. The call forwarding feature is fairly harmless in most situations, but as with any technical feature, there are those who come up with new and nefarious ways to use it.

Call forwarding

So, most anyone on a top-four carrier has unlimited calling at this point, but if not, you will be billed for these calls just like any other calls.

Unfortunately, this applies to international dialing as well as domestic calls meaning if someone forwards your calls overseas and you’re unaware of the switch your bill may be shockingly high. One way to avoid this is to contact your carrier and ask if they have options to block international long-distance dialing. Your phone will not communicate with phones outside of the U.S. with the international features removed or blocked at the account level.

There are no additional charges for you to forward calls to another number. Just be mindful that your phone number still needs to be active on the network even if the phone itself isn’t. Call forwarding happens through the cell phone carrier so your phone is pretty much left out of the equation here unless you’re using that device to turn on the forwarding feature.

Set up call forward on Android

If you’re on the other side of the conversation and want to set up call forwarding, you can. Android makes it easy to forward calls to any number that will accept them.

  1. Open the phone app on your Android device.
  2. Select the three-dot menu icon to access Settings.
  3. Select Call settings and then Call forwarding.
  4. Select one of the settings depending on your needs.
  5. Add the number for calls to be forwarded to.
  6. Select Enable and then OK to confirm.

The forwarding settings are something like Always forward, Forward when busy, Forward when unanswered or Forward when unreached. You can set up any of these depending on your needs. Repeat the procedure above when you want to stop forwarding and just select Disable at Step 6 instead of Enable.

You can also use codes on your Android to access these settings:

  • Unconditional call forwarding dial *21*
  • Call forwarding when the line is busy dial *004*
  • Call forwarding when the line is busy dial *67*
  • Call forwarding when no pick-up dial *61*
  • Call forwarding when out of range dial *62*

You will then be prompted to add the forwarding number and confirm the settings.

Set up call forward on an iPhone

You can redirect calls using an iPhone too using a similar setup to above. Here’s how to set up call forwarding on an iPhone if you do not have Verizon as your carrier:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Tap Phone
  3. Next, tap Call Forwarding
  4. Turn on call forwarding and enter the number you want your calls forwarded to

If you have Verizon as your carrier the instructions are Verizon specific:

  • To forward your calls without ringing first, enter *72 then the 10-digit phone number you want your calls forwarded to
  • To have your phone ring before forwarding a call, enter *71 then the 10-digit phone number you want your calls forwarded to

That’s it for non-Verizon and Verizon carriers. You should now see a forwarding icon in your iPhone’s top bar whenever redirection is enabled.

Set up call forward on a landline

I use call forwarding on my landline all the time. I only have the landline as it is part of my broadband package so I just divert it to my mobile. Here’s how to set up call forwarding on a landline:

  1. Dial *72 from your landline phone
  2. Type in the number to divert calls to
  3. Select the hash (#) to confirm the number

That’s it. Some carriers allow conditional forwarding while some do not. Verizon allows conditions and if you dial *71 instead of *72, you can set them up. Once done, dial *73 to disable call forwarding.


Will call forwarding result in International charges?

It is possible, contact your cell phone or home phone carrier if you incur international charges from a domestic phone call.

Can I use call forwarding if my phone is broken or lost?

Yes, even if your phone is lost, stolen, or severely damaged you may be able to have your calls forwarded to another phone number.

5 thoughts on “Can you Tell if your Call is Being Forwarded?”

Survivor says:
I am convinced someone has been sabotaging my life for the past 15 years. I can go 3 months without incoming business inquiries, the suddenly my cell rings off the hook one day, maybe for 1 week straight max (if I’m lucky) then the process repeats like clockwork. I’ve run the gambit of *## sequences, paid thousands for security techs to dig around. I seem to receive saved contact incoming calls.
I’m not very computer literate, so at mercy of helps integrity, and whether or not they simply think I’m a paranoid female. Whatever I’m loosing 500,000 min/ year.
Michael says:
This article needs to inform users how to undo call forwarding. My neighbor, as part of a tenant dispute, decided to procure my number from online and set my phone up for call forwarding to his phone. For Verizon, to cancel current call forwarding and safeguard against future incidents, they had me dial *73.
Pam says:
I am being told I will be getting a company cell phone and it will be an iPhone. I have an android. If there is a tracking program in the iPhone will it transfer to my personal cell?
Aleka says:
When I had an LG phone for a month while my iPhone ported over, my business line that forwards to my mobile would come up saying it was a forwarded call which was nice so I could answer accordingly. This was in March of 2018. I wish iPhone would have this feature.

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