How to Make & Receive Phone Calls From Your Computer (6 Methods)

November 23, 2023 7 min read

Alex Doan

Alex Doan

How to Place Phone Calls with Your Computer (Desktop/Laptop/Tablet)

While it might appear convenient to use your cell phone, sometimes you want an easy way to use your desktop or laptop for phone calls.

Using your computer to place calls is far easier now than ever. In this guide, we’ll cover six different tools and methods to let you answer incoming calls, send text messages, and even place free calls to others.

You need an internet connection, a microphone, and speakers (or a Bluetooth headset). With those, you’ll be ready to begin placing audio calls from your computer.

How Calling from Your Computer Works

It’s worth first pointing out how calling from your computer works. 

All phone calls must originate from a service provider, such as an internet-based or mobile phone provider.

Your cellular provider probably has a phone number for you to use. This is important. You can only make audio calls to other users on a meeting platform like Zoom without a phone number.

But with an assigned phone number, you’re good to call anyone—including those on landlines, toll-free numbers, or international calls.

At a high level, here’s how to call and text from your computer:

  • Mac and iPhone users: iMessage, after syncing your macOS computer with iCloud
  • Windows and Android users: Set up Microsoft Phone Link to integrate with your Android phone.
  • Everyone: Use an online phone service that includes a free calling app.

The big picture here is that you’re authenticating your computer to interact with your mobile device over Wi-Fi securely. We’ll walk through these options below.

Free Calling and Texting with iMessage on macOS

Calling phones from macOS desktop or laptop. (Apple)
Source: Apple

iMessage is a popular messaging app Apple provides for macOS and iOS devices. Aside from sending texts and photos, it is also used to make calls from the computer using FaceTime.

Ensure that your iPhone and Mac have Wi-Fi turned on and are connected to the same network.

Making calls from your computer

  • Step 1. Sign in to iCloud from your Mac device using the same Apple ID on your iPhone.
  • Step 2. On your phone, go to Settings > Phone > Calls on Other Devices, then turn on Allow Calls on Other Devices.
  • Step 3. Open the FaceTime app on your Mac.
  • Step 4. Finally, dial the call button next to the known contacts. To call others not on your contacts list, you need to initiate the phone call from your iPhone or add them to your contacts list prior to calling.
– It’s included with Apple products and built into the Apple iOS ecosystem.

– No additional fees to use

– It is intuitive to share messages, photos, and videos.
– Not a suitable option for businesses because it’s meant for personal use.

– Calling from your computer ultimately comes from your cell phone number.

– Advanced features aren’t available to Android recipients.

Free Calling and Texting on Windows 10 & 11

Using Windows to place and receive phone calls and text messages. (Microsoft)
Source: Microsoft

Using your Windows computer for phone calls and text messages differs slightly from macOS. Microsoft Phone Link syncs up your notifications, phone calls, and text messages on your computer. It works similarly across Android and iPhone mobile phones.

Alternatively, keep reading for universal ways to place phone calls from your PC.

Making calls from your PC

  • Step 1. From the search bar, type Phone Link and open the Phone Link app.
  • Step 2. Sign into your Microsoft account. You’ll use this same account on your phone.
  • Step 3. Download the companion app to your smartphone and sign into your Microsoft account. You’ll be prompted to scan a QR code.
  • Step 4. On your PC, click the Pair with QR code button. Scan the QR code with your mobile phone. Afterward, you need to grant it full permission to interact with your phone system and notifications.
– Supports both Apple iPhone and Android devices.

– Let users exchange SMS text messages, photos, emojis, GIFs, and media content.

– Access your phone’s contact list when looking up names or phone numbers.

– View, dismiss, pin, or clear all mobile notifications from your computer.
– Phone Link is available for Windows 10 and Windows 11 exclusively.

– Some users may find the tech setup challenging.

– Granting permissions might feel intrusive, even just for phone call functionality.

Related: 10 Easy Ways To Send & Receive Text Messages From Your Computer

Send and Receive Android Text Messages in a Web Browser (Easy Method)

Send and receive text messages from your Android phone in a web browser. (Google)
Source: Google

Sometimes, you don’t need a full-fledged calling app; you just want to text.

Google Messages for the Web is a great option if you want a simpler way to send and receive text messages from Android on your web browser. And it works on any computer (Mac, Windows, and Linux).

Visit on your computer, then open the Messages app on your Android phone. Tap your profile and click Device Pairing; scan the QR code, and you’re done.

While this doesn’t support phone calls, you can read and send SMS text messages.

Dedicated Online VoIP Services

The most popular method for placing voice calls from your computer is to use a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) provider like Nextiva. This way, you can answer incoming calls from an assigned phone number, dial out to any person you want, and forward calls to another user or telephone number.

And with a separate virtual phone number, your cell phone number stays private.


Incoming Phone Call Notification - Nextiva

When you need a communications solution for professional phone calls from a computer, look no further than Nextiva. It offers amazing features that distinguish it from other business phone providers.

Follow the steps below to use Nextiva.

  • Step 1. Sign up for a business phone plan starting at $18 a month.
  • Step 2. Choose your phone number. You also get a complimentary toll-free number with your account.
  • Step 3. Download NextivaONE to your Mac, Windows PC, or mobile device and sign in with your username and password.
  • Step 4. You’re ready to accept incoming calls, place outbound calls, or exchange text messages with anyone you want. Your phone app even works great on the go with Wi-Fi calling.
Unified communications provides voice, video, text, and team collaboration features on one platform.

– Exceptional uptime and call quality from an enterprise-grade calling network across North America.

– Flexible for adapting to your changing business needs with support for call centers, remote employees, and a vast lineup of VoIP phones.
– It’s not free. Nextiva provides the best phone service for hundreds of thousands of businesses that count on it for billions of phone calls every year.

– Best for companies, not residential use. Its top features include call flows, voicemail transcription, call recording, and conference calls.

Nextiva isn’t the only VoIP provider in town, so here are a couple of other free ways to make calls from your computer.

Google Voice

Google Voice for free phone calling on your computer and mobile phone. (Google)
Source: Google

Google Voice is a free solution that you can use to make phone calls and send texts on your smartphone and PC. To make a call via this platform, you will need a Google Voice number, which you can only get with your Google account.

To use Google Voice, you would use your existing Google account. You’ll also need to verify yourself using a separate cell phone number — we checked.

  • Step 1. Visit and sign in.
  • Step 2. Click the for personal use button and click continue on the following screen.
  • Step 3. Provide a city or area code to search for available VoIP numbers.
  • Step 4. Select the desired phone number.
  • Step 5. Verify your number by linking to your cell phone. Google will send a six-digit verification code. Google doesn’t allow other VoIP or Google Voice numbers here.
  • Step 6. Begin making calls from the online dial pad or by downloading the Google Voice app to your phone. Then you can just open up your phone app to place or answer phone calls.
– Call forwarding is straightforward, and phone call quality is decent.

– Text messaging (SMS) is included with your Google Voice line.

– Call recording is available by pressing 4 on the dial pad.

– Voicemail transcription is nice but sometimes inaccurate.
– International calls on Google Voice are not free. Charges are applied for international calls.

– Account setup may be complicated for those without a current phone number.

-Advanced phone features like call flows aren’t available.


How to call others with your computer using Skype. (UH)
Source: University of Houston

Skype is a global VoIP service founded in 2003 and was among the first on the scene for internet-based calls. Renowned for group calls, video calls, and sharing files, With a good internet connection and a downloadable app, you can start making voice calls on Skype.

In 2011, Microsoft acquired Skype and shifted the product from a peer-to-peer service to a centralized model through Microsoft’s servers. And now, a lot of Skype’s technology is built into Microsoft Teams.

Here is a simple step-by-step guide to making calls from a computer using Skype:

  • Step 1. Download and install Skype on your computer or smartphone.
  • Step 2. Sign in to your Microsoft account (Live, Outlook, Hotmail, etc.).
  • Step 3. Grant the Skype app permissions for your microphone and camera.
  • Step 4. Search for known contacts on the Skype service. You can begin exchanging messages, and to begin a call, click on the phone icon (or video camera) in the upper right corner.
– Pioneered free phone calls and video meetings on the internet

– Global reach with HD voice call quality for millions of users

– It supports PSTN phone numbers, but it costs $52 annually
– Mixed reviews regarding its non-voice communication functions, like emoji

– Primarily used for Skype-to-Skype calls and conferences

– Does not support emergency calls

You’ve Got Options for Calling From Your Computer

Using your computer to call others is no longer an impossible feat. You can either use your mobile phone with your computer or opt for a separate phone line using just your internet connection.

Office Phone System from Nextiva

Free phone services are great for personal use, but for businesses, you’ll value the communication features that only a cloud phone provider can deliver.

Ready to do more than a few phone calls from your computer? Get a no-hassle personalized quote from Nextiva and see how easy cloud-based calling can be.

Alex Doan


Alex Doan

Alex Doan is an experienced senior marketing professional specializing in propelling growth for both B2B and B2C companies. Proficient in streamlining marketing operations for seamless sales transitions, utilizing analytics and consumer insights to achieve measurable outcomes. Committed to enhancing lead and customer experiences through effective journey mapping.

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