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Call Waiting Meaning: How do I activate this function?

Call waiting is telephone feature which notifies you have an incoming call while you already have a call underway. This feature allows you to choose whether to play your current call on hold to answer the incoming call, as if you have two phone lines on one phone.

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Call Waiting Meaning: How do I activate this function?


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Did you know that most customers only tolerate a hold time of fewer than two minutes? People don't like being on hold. But, when you run a business or contact center, there is no way around it.

The good news is that call waiting is a feature that helps ensure lower call abandonment. Here is a complete guide to call waiting and how to use it to your advantage.

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What is call waiting on my phone?

Call waiting is a telephone feature that notifies someone on a call that a second call is made to the same number, usually by a tone or other noise. They can talk to either caller while keeping the other one on hold, going back and forth as necessary. The advantage of call waiiting is that the second caller won't hear a busy signal. Plus, the conversation will be private and the caller on hold won't be able to hear the conversation.

The call waiting feature was introduced in the 1970s. Initially, the function was available only on a few telephone exchanges. Today,VoIP phones, Androids, and iPhones come with this feature.

Call waiting is an important feature that brings many benefits to contact centers and business organizations. Some of the benefits of activating the call waiting feature on your phone are:

  • Manage multiple incoming calls at the same time on the same phone line
  • Prioritize calls
  • Never miss an important call
  • See who is calling on the display
  • Activate the feature on mobile and landlines
  • Get discrete tones that notify another incoming call

How do I activate the call waiting feature?

So, how to activate the call waiting feature? Let's find out how to activate the feature on your:

Android phones

To activate the feature on your Android phone, you need to open the phone application. Now, click on the settings button displayed on the top right. You can see the option to activate call waiting. Click on it to enable the feature. You can follow the same steps to activate call forwarding, call recording, etc.


To activate the feature on your iPhone, open the settings app and scroll down till you see a Phone tab and click on it. Now, scroll down further and click on Calls and then click on the icon that reads Call Waiting. The function is activated and you can make use of the feature.

VoIP phones

Activating the call waiting feature on a VoIP phone system such as Ringover is easy. All you need to do is go to the dashboard of your provider and activate the function. You can access the dashboard either via their web-based interface or by installing the app on your phone or computer.

If you are using a traditional landline, check with your service provider to know how to activate and deactivate the feature.

What happens when I turn on the call waiting feature?

When you turn on the call waiting feature on your smartphone, landline, or VoIP phone:

  • The call waiting feature sends the incoming call straight to voicemail while letting you finish your current call
  • You can end your current call and then answer the incoming call
  • You can also place your current caller on hold and answer the incoming call

When combined with features such as caller ID, routing, and call forwarding, you can ensure a seamless transition between calls with multiple customers.

What happens if I turn off the call waiting feature?

You can disable the feature and when you do so, you can see the cross calls in your missed call history. You may not get a notification while you are on call. The caller might also get redirected to your voice inbox. If you are not a fan of voice mails, it may not be an ideal option.

How to get the call waiting feature for your small business?

All you need is a comprehensive VoIP phone system for your small businesses and Ringover is your best bet. The call waiting features of Ringover can make sure that you:

  • Never miss a call from a prospect
  • Have better call management in place
  • Lower call abandonment rate

How does the Ringover call waiting work?

The feature notifies you of incoming calls without causing any interruption to your current caller. Once you activate the feature, you can:

  1. Answer the incoming call while placing the current caller on hold
  2. Transfer the second or current caller to one of your team members
  3. Merge the call if you want the second caller to join in your call with the current caller
  4. If the second caller is not a priority, you can decline the call and send them straight to your voicemail

Ringover pricing

You can get features like call waiting, analytics, productivity, and software integrations for just £32 per month. The plan also allows you to make unlimited calls to 110 destinations. You can set up custom greetings, record calls, and also monitor customer calls in real-time.

So, what are you waiting for? Why not give your team the convenience of a virtual business phone system today without creating a dent in your pocket?

Learn more about Ringover's service.

Call Waiting FAQ

What is call waiting on my phone?

If you don't want your callers to hear a busy tone while you're on a call, you can activate call waiting. Call waiting means that while you are on a call, you have the ability to put the current call on hold and answer an incoming call. When you are on a call and a second call comes in, you will hear a beep or tone notifying you of the incoming call. If you're not sure if your phone has this feature, you can call your carrier to find out.

Ringover does offer call waiting, allowing you to manage your incoming call flow. You'll be able to increase customer satisfaction, as incoming calls won't be dropped or rejected if you're already on a call.

What does it mean when you see call waiting?

Call waiting is a feature on many phones that allows you to receive incoming calls while you're already having a conversation. You can put the caller on hold to answer the incoming call, or until you complete the first call. It enables you to manage multiple calls and switch between them without disconnecting anyone.

What is the difference between call waiting and call busy?

Call waiting allows you to switch between two incoming calls when you are already on a call. Call busy occurs when someone can't reach you because you're on a call already, your phone is turned off, or you don't have service. The caller receives a busy tone or a message indicating that the line is busy.

Should my call waiting be on or off?

It may be beneficial to have call waiting enabled if you don't want to miss any calls. However, if you are in a critical or time-sensitive conversation and want to avoid interruptions, you may prefer to turn call waiting off temporarily.

What happens if I turn off call waiting?

If you turn off call waiting on your phone, incoming calls will no longer be able to reach you while you are actively engaged in a call. Anyone who tries to call you while you are on a call will hear a busy tone or message indicating your line is unavailable.

Turning off call waiting can be useful in situations where you want to avoid interruptions and focus solely on the current call without any distractions from incoming calls. However, it's important to note that by disabling call waiting, you may potentially miss important calls that could have been handled using the call waiting feature.

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