The dialer screen on your iPhone has a lot more to it than just entering phone numbers and hitting the green call button. It's not very obvious, but there are secret codes that you can enter into the dialer to find out information about your device, help troubleshoot issues, and mask outgoing calls, to name a few.
These hidden dialer codes, also called short codes, star codes, pound codes, etc., have been around for a while. They are a combination of different technologies and protocols, such as Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), manufacturer-defined MMI (man-machine interface), and supplementary service (SS) codes. Either the carrier or the manufacturer will code these in.
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Some codes have stopped working, new ones have appeared, and others only work on specific iPhone models (GSM vs. CDMA) or with particular carriers. There are some sites and chain emails that list too-good-to-be-true codes, such as dialing *3370# to unlock hidden battery reserves, so you can't trust everything (that code actually reduces power on some Nokia handsets by providing better sound quality for calls).
We've compiled below a list of functional dialer codes that you can use on your iPhone, and we've tested almost all of them out, so don't expect to see any fake codes that promise wealth and unlimited power. However, as stated above, some of these codes only work on certain iPhone models or with specific wireless carriers, so your mileage may vary depending on what combination you have.
When you see XXXXXXXXXX in any of the codes below, that indicates the seven-digit phone number with area code, for a total of 10 digits, that you're calling. Also, with some of these codes, after you enter the last digit or symbol, it may immediately work its magic. If not, you'll need to hit the green "Call" button.
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Use the code *3001#12345#*, then hit the call button. This will show you the Field Test tool, which has data on your SIM card, cellular connections, and more.
A lot of this is useless to us, but it's still fun to look at. However, you can get a better idea of how your reception is by looking at the dBm (decibel-milliwatts) numbers. In iOS 10 and earlier, using this code would show the dBm in place of signal reception bars, but you have to dig a bit deeper into iOS 11 and above to see these numbers — and it only works on iPhones with Intel wireless radio chips.
If you have one of the supported iPhone models in iOS 11 and above, in the Field Test mode, tap "LTE," then "Serving Cell Meas." On the next screen, look at the rsrp0 number, which is the one you want for your reception in dBm. For more info on what this means, check out our full guide on the topic below:
If you type in *#06#, you'll immediately see your iPhone's IMEI number. This trick does not seem to work on Verizon Wireless, but it does on all other carriers that we've tested.
This is way faster than going to Settings –> General –> About, hunting for the box that you might have thrown away anyway, or taking your case off and opening the SIM card tray.
If you want to make calls anonymously so your name and/or phone number doesn't appear on your recipient's phone screen or caller ID, then thank the FCC. They've mandated that all US carriers give customers the ability to block their information from appearing on caller ID screens.
All Carriers: *67XXXXXXXXXX T-Mobile (Alternative): #31#XXXXXXXXXX
To do it, just enter *67 before dialing the number you're calling, which works with most carriers. All they will see on their end once the call goes through is "unknown," "private," or some other indicator of the like. They are less likely to pick up for an unknown number, as they get a bad rap for being associated with spammers, but you never know. T-Mobile also has another code available.
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If you make all of your outgoing calls anonymous with the setting available from your carrier instead of a call-by-call basis using the tip above, you can break anonymity on a call-by-call basis using the code *82 before dialing the number you're calling.
All Carriers: *82XXXXXXXXXX T-Mobile (Alternative): *31#XXXXXXXXXX
This is necessary to make calls to those who block unknown callers, as well as when you actually want someone to know it's you that's calling, and it works for most carriers. Again, T-Mobile has an alternative code available.
If you have either a wireless plan or a SIM card from a carrier in the US, you can participate in Test Emergency Alerts. These alerts help make sure the alert system is working correctly as well as prepare you for when a real emergency strikes.
Enable Test Alerts: *5005*25371# Disable Test Alerts: *5005*25370#
By default, these types of test alerts are turned off, so you have to opt in using the dialer code above. That's the only way. There's no option in the Settings interface to do so. When opted in, you'll hear a loud alarm-like sound, and the alert will specifically mention it's a test so there's no confusing it with real emergency alerts.
Each cell phone provider has their own directory assistance service with a live operator, and the dialer code to access each one is 411, followed by the call button. If you need help finding the phone number, address, or basic info for a business, this is a good option if you don't like using other apps on your smartphone to do some digging yourself. You can even get movie showtimes, get driving directions, and more.
Most carriers allow you up to three requests per call, but AT&T only allows two. Directory listings can be sent to you via text message so you don't forget any information. But all this is not free — you will be charged $1.99 for each call to 411, so use wisely. We suggest using Maps, Yelp, Safari, or other apps to get you what you need instead of forking out hard-earned dollars for it.
Another handy three-digit number is 611. Calling this number is free, unlike 411, and connects you with wireless customer service. For some carriers, it will be an automated phone system which can connect you to wireless customer service. Not all of these are 24/7 numbers, so visit AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon for hours in which you can talk to a real person about account issues and more.
611 (*611 also works on Verizon Wireless)
If you're not getting accurate traffic information on Apple Maps, Google Maps, Waze, or SigAlert, or some other app that has live traffic updates, give 511 a call. This is the number that gives local traffic conditions and updates, and it should work on all carriers.
However, carriers have to work with each state to implement this, so there may be a few states that still haven't connected with certain carriers. For instance, Sprint 511 does NOT work in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, and Oklahoma, but does in all other states plus DC.
Normally, in order to check up on how much data you have left on your cellular plan, you'd have to use the provider's own app or widget to get an accurate reading. Some carriers, such as T-Mobile, will even include accurate data usage stats in your Settings app. But there's an easy way to check used data without installing any apps or switching providers.
AT&T: *3282# T-Mobile: #932# Verizon: #3282
After calling one of the codes listed above, based on what carrier you have, you should either get a verbal readout from a robotic answerer or a text message that states your total usage for the month so far. Note that Sprint does not have a service for this. You used to be able to text 1311 to get data usage stats, but they discontinued that service.
Each carrier has its own way of handling call forwarding. AT&T does not have any codes, at least none that I could find, but that's because you can adjust call forwarding settings in the "Photo" section of the main Settings app. As for the other major carriers, this setting likely won't exist in that menu, but you can still use the following codes.
For more information on the call forwarding codes below, visit Sprint's website.
*72XXXXXXXXXX ..Unconditional call forwarding to the designated number *720 ...........Disable unconditional call forwarding *73XXXXXXXXXX ..Only call forwarding for no answers to the designated number *730 ...........Disable call forwarding only for no answers *74XXXXXXXXXX ..Call forwarding only for when busy to the designated number *740 ...........Disable call forwarding only for when busy
For more information on the call forwarding codes below, visit T-Mobile's website.
**21*XXXXXXXXXX# .......Turn on unconditional forwarding to a number ##21# ..................Turn off unconditional forwarding **61*XXXXXXXXXX*SS# ....Change call forwarding time delay (Replace SS with 5, 10, 15, or 30 for seconds) **61*XXXXXXXXXX# .......Turn on call forwarding if no reply to a number ##61# ..................Turn off forwarding if no reply **62*XXXXXXXXXX# .......Turn on call forwarding when not reachable ##62# .................Turn off call forwarding when not reachable **67*XXXXXXXXXX# .......Turn on call forwarding when busy ##67# ..................Turn off call forwarding when busy ##004# .................Cancel call forwarding
It's not immediately known whether or not you can enable call forwarding services through your dialer, but you can at least disable it, according to the "Carrier Services" menu in the Settings app.
*73 ........Disable call forwarding
This one has little-to-no value for you on a day-to-day basis, but it's still interesting to see what's going on behind the scenes. Dial *#5005*7672# and press the call button to see what happens.
Whenever you text somebody an SMS or MMS, not an iMessage, the message is forwarded wirelessly to a short message service center (SMSC) via a specific phone number. This number could come in handy when troubleshooting failed outgoing text messages with your carrier.
Phone numbers are out, and phone handles are in. Okay, not really, but there is a service called StarStar Me that is an add-on service that you need to pay monthly for with your carrier. If you want to give it a try, just dial **me, or **63, from your iPhone to subscribe to the service.
You'll be able to pick a nickname that people can call instead of an actual phone number. For instance, if your nickname is The Dude, then you can set your personal handle as **THEDUDE (**8433833). Other people could call you using that number instead of trying to remember your 10 digits.
**63 aka **me
Yes, we all know 911. And yes, that's super easy to dial, especially with Emergency SOS for the iPhone and Apple Watch. But if you like defying the system, you can dial 112 instead. This is actually the emergency number for European Union countries, but you can dial it in the US on a GSM-based iPhone from AT&T and T-Mobile to be redirected to 911. Using 112 on Verizon Wireless or Sprint will do nothing, so stick to 911.
Since I had 112 above, I might as well list 911 here. It's not very "secret," though. You know what it does. Works for all carriers. You can even text 911 with some carriers, such as Sprint, if you don't want to call or can't call.
Each carrier has its own set of dialer codes, aka short codes, that you can use, in addition to all of the ones listed above. Some of these will only work on certain plans, so your mileage may vary. Never hurts to try, though.
These codes were gathered from the "Carrier Services" section on the iPhone, as well as from AT&T's website.
*225# ......Check bill balance *639# ......Check your upgrade eligibility *646# ......View your minutes *729 .......Pay your bill *3282# .....View your data and messages *#08 .......Voice connect
These codes were gathered from the "Carrier Services" section on the iPhone, as well as from Sprint's website.
*2 .............Opens the My Sprint Mobile or Sprint Zone self-service menu with an option to access the Care self-service IVR and Care call centers. *3 .............Payments made through Sprint phones through the Pay by Phone Automated IVR. *4 .............Get minutes used information for each category of usage in English, including text messaging and current bill cycle dates. Get information on current rate plan. *5 .............Get minutes used information for each category of usage in Spanish, including text messaging and current bill cycle dates. Get information on current rate plan. *11 ............Pennsylvania - PA Turnpikes: (Bucks, Montgomery, Lebanon, Daulphin, Cumberland, Franklin, Fulton, Bedford, Somerset, West Moreland, Allegheny, and Beave r Counties) Utah - Salt Lake and Utah Counties *12 ............Pennsylvania - PA Turnpikes: Allegheny County, Parkway West, and Parkway East *27 ............Louisiana - Lake Ponchatrain Causeway near New Orleans *47 ............State Police (on a per market basis only, implemented only upon city/state written requests) Alabama - Statewide Kansas - Statewide North Carolina - Statewide South Carolina - Statewide *55 ............State Police (on a per market basis only, implemented only upon city/state written requests) Missouri - Statewide Oklahoma - Statewide *64 ............New Hampshire - Statewide *70XXXXXXXXXX ..Cancel call waiting on a single call basis *77 ............State Police (on a per market basis only, implemented only upon city/state written requests) Massachusetts - Statewide Maryland - Statewide Maine - Statewide Rhode Island - Statewide *277 ...........Colorado State Police - Statewide (Numbers stand for CSP) *347 ...........Florida Highway Patrol - North, West, Central, and South (Numbers stand for FHP) *394 ...........Texas - Harris County *477 ...........Georgia State Police - Statewide (Numbers stand for GSP) *577 ...........Louisiana State Police - Statewide (Numbers stand for LSP) *777 ...........Ohio - Jefferson and Belmont Counties *847 ...........Tennessee - Statewide *911 ...........Emergency phone number (same as dialing 911) *990 ...........Ohio Turnpike (Williams, Fulton, Lucas, Wood, Ottawa, Sandusky, Erie, Lorain, Cuyahoga, Summit, Portage, Trumbull, and Mahoning Counties) *8477 ..........Texas - Houston (Harris County) Crime Stopper Line *HP ............Highway Patrol (on a per market basis only, implemented only upon city/state written requests) *THP ...........Tennessee Highway Patrol (per market basis only, implemented only upon city/state written requests) #77 ............State Police (on a per market basis only, implemented only upon city/state written requests) New Jersey - Statewide Virginia - Statewide #222 ...........Option 3 to order accessories. #911 ...........Emergency phone number (same as dialing 911) #CASH ..........Sprint PCS Payment Card (to find the nearest Prenet location to make a payment) #WUN ...........Western Union (to find the nearest Western Union location that accepts PCS payments) 211 ............Community Relations 311 ............Non-emergency police and other government services Texas - Harris County 711 ............TTY (Teletype) or TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) for hearing impaired (Telecommunications Relay Service TRS) 811 ............Customer solutions (private-label services)
These codes were gathered from the "Carrier Services" section on the iPhone, as well as from T-Mobile's website.
ACCOUNT AND MOBILE DEVICE INFO *#9999# ....Check the software version (Motorola and Samsung) *#0000# ....Check the software version on Nokia phones #225# ......Check your balance and last payment (225 = BAL) #263# ......Turn "Binge On" off (263 = BOF) #264# ......Check "Binge On" status (264 = BNG) #266# ......Turn "Binge On" back on (266 = BON) #326# ......Check your Family Allowance usage (326 = FAM) #646# ......Check your minute usage (646 = MIN) #674# ......Check your message usage (674 = MSG) #686# ......View your phone number (686 = NUM) #763# ......Turn off international data roaming (763 = ROF) #766# ......Turn on international data roaming (766 = RON) #793# ......Reset voicemail password to last 4 digits of phone number (793 = PWD) #796# ......Toggle voicemail password off/on (796 = PWO) #932# ......Check data used, data plan, and expiration date. (932 = WEB) #8294 ......Find a cab service for $1.75 per use (8294 = TAXI) CALLS SERVICES (BESIDES CALL FORWARDING) *43# .......Turn on call waiting #43# .......Turn off call waiting PAY IN ADVANCE (PREPAID) *233 .......Call the Refill Center (233 = ADD) #225# ......Check your account plan timeframe (225 = BAL) #263# ......Turn "Binge On" off (263 = BOF) #264# ......Check "Binge On" status (264 = BNG) #266# ......Turn "Binge On" back on (266 = BON) #932# ......Check your web usage (932 = WEB) #999# ......Check your account balance and minutes remaining SCAM ID & SCAM BLOCK CODES #632# ......Turn off Scam Block (632 = OFB) #634# ......Turn off Scam ID #662# ......Turn on Scam Block (662 = ONB) #664# ......Turn on Scam ID (664 = ONI) #787# ......Show Scam Block status (787 = STS) LINELINK *72XXXXXXXXXX ..Activate unconditional call forwarding. Example: *72 (206) 111-1111 *42DN ..........Activate no reply conditional call forwarding *67DN ..........Activate Calling Line Identification Restriction (CLIR) for outgoing call *73 ............Deactivate and erase unconditional call forwarding *82DN ..........Deactivate Activate Calling Line Identification Restriction (CLIR) for outgoing call *93 ............Deactivate no reply conditional call forwarding
These codes were gathered from the "Carrier Services" section on the iPhone, as well as from Verizon's website.
#225 .......Check bill balance (225 = BAL) #646 .......View your minutes (646 = MIN) #729 .......Pay your prepaid bill (729 = PAY) #768 .......Pay your bill (768 = PMT) #874 .......Find out when your upgrade eligibility date is (874 = UPG) #832 .......Use to ensure your phone is working after completing an Electronic Serial Number (ESN) change or new activation (832 = TEC) #3282 ......View your data (3282 = DATA) #4438 ......View gift card balance (4438 = GIFT) #7623 ......Access Verizon Wireless Roadside Assistance for towing, jump start, etc. Must subscribe (7623 = ROAD)
If you see any short codes that aren't listed above or don't work for you, please comment below with the code, carrier, and iPhone model. Keep in mind that not all codes will work depending on what plan you have. For instance, generic self-service dialer codes do not work on the Simple Choice Plan with No Credit Check, but they likely will on all other T-Mobile plans.
This article was produced during Gadget Hacks' special coverage on texting, instant messaging, calling, and audio/video chatting with your smartphone. Check out the whole Chat series.