How to Make and Receive Calls on Android

By Kay FleuryUpdated on November 23, 2017

Mobile phones have come a long way since their introduction back in the 1980s. Today's smartphones, like those that run Google's "Android" operating system, not only handle basic phone call functions, but can browse the Internet, keep track of your plans, play music, and so much more! Having said that, it's still good to know how to use your Android smartphone as, well, a phone. This lesson will go over some fundamental calling actions for Android phones.

4 methods for making phone calls on an Android phone

There are several different ways to place a phone call on an Android phone, but they all by-and-large start the same way. Begin by powering up your phone and tapping the Phone app. You should be able to find it on your main screen.

Android phone app

After you've launched the Phone app, you can use any of the methods below to place a call.

1. Use the dial pad to enter a phone number manually.

The simplest way to start a call is to just dial the number that you want to call. To begin, tap the pink Dial Pad icon.

Android phone dial pad

Here, you can tap the digits on the keypad to dial a phone number, just as you would on a regular cell phone or modern landline phone. If you make a mistake, you can tap the "X" button beside the number to erase digits one-by-one, starting with the one you most recently entered. When you're ready to make the call, tap the green Call button.

Make a call with the dial pad

2. Visit your Call History to quickly call someone you've chatted with recently.

You can also make a phone call based on calls you've previously made or received. To do that, start by tapping the Call History tab.

Make call from phone history

This screen will show you the dates when you last sent or received phone calls, along with whom you received them from or sent them to. A green arrow indicates that you initiated the call, a blue arrow indicates that you answered a call from that person, and a red arrow indicates that you missed a call from that person.

To call someone from here, just tap the grey Call icon beside their name.

You can also use your Call History to block phone calls from people you don't want to talk to. We'll show you how in our lesson on how to block or unblock callers on an Android phone.

3. Find someone in your Contacts list, and then choose which number to call them at.

If you have someone registered as a contact in your phone's directory, you can quickly and easily make a call to that specific person. Start by tapping the Contacts tab at the top of the screen.

Select a contact

This will allow you to see all of the people whom you have at least some information about on your phone, sorted in alphabetical order. You can tap inside the search box and use the built-in keyboard to type in a person's name or phone number to filter your contacts based on that information. Note that, sometimes, you will only be able to find contacts who have phone numbers registered in their profiles.

When you find the contact that you wish to call, tap their name. Then, on your contact's information page, simply tap the phone number that you wish to call (as they may sometimes have more than one number registered; for example, they may have a mobile phone number and a business number).

Choose a contact phone number to call

You can even change a contact's settings so that all calls from them go straight to your voicemail! We'll save that for our next tutorial on how to forward calls on an Android phone, though.

4. Put one of your contacts on your Speed Dial list, and then call them with a single tap.

While you're on a contact's information page, you can also mark them as a "Favorite," which adds them to your speed dial list. To do so, tap the Favorites button (the star icon) in the top-right corner of the screen. A contact not on your speed dial list yet is indicated by a hollow star, while someone who's already on your speed dial list will have a solid star.

When you're done, tap the Back arrow in the top-left corner of the screen to go back to your contacts.

Add contact to speed dial

Now, tap the Speed Dial tab at the top of the screen. This will show you all the people who are currently on your speed dial list. To call one of them, just tap their name!

Make a call from speed dial list

How to receive a call on your Android phone

When someone calls your Android phone, your options will differ slightly depending on whether or not your phone's screen lock is on.

If your screen lock is on:

The caller's information will appear at the top of the screen, while a white-and-green Call button will appear at the bottom of the screen. Press and hold this button, and then either move your finger towards the top of the screen to accept the call, or move your finger towards the bottom of the screen to reject the call.

Accept call when screen lock is on

You can also decline a call and, at the same time, send a text message to the caller explaining why you can't take their call at the moment. To do this, press and hold the Messages button (i.e. the speech bubble) in the bottom-left corner of the screen, and then move your finger towards the middle of the screen.

A menu will appear at the bottom of the screen with some common quick responses to a phone call that you can't take. Tap one of them to send that message, or tap Write Your Own to bring up the virtual keyboard and use it to type out and send a custom message (as if you were sending a regular text message).

Reject a call with a message

If your screen lock is off:

You will see the caller's name or number appear at the top of the screen, along with two buttons. Simply tap Answer if you want to accept the call, or tap Decline if you want to reject it.

Accept or reject call when screen lock is not on

What you can do on an Android phone call

Once you've connected with someone on a call, there are a bunch of other options that you can make use of.

Available options during Android call


Tap this button to turn your device's microphone off. This is useful if you are trying to listen closely to what the other caller is saying, but there is a lot of background noise in your area that is interfering with the call. Tap it again to turn your microphone back on.


Tapping this button brings up your phone's dial pad. You may need to use this when dealing with an automated answering system that requires you to enter digits in order to provide information or make choices. Sometimes, your dial pad may automatically appear in these situations. Tap the "X" button in the top-left corner of the dial pad to close it.


When you tap this button, the sound output for the call switches from the earpiece to either the speakerphone or a headset you've connected to your phone (via Bluetooth). Tap this button again to switch back to listening to the call through the earpiece.

Add Call

If you want to look for another person to call while your current call is still in progress, tap this button. If you connect with that person, your current call will automatically be put on hold. Depending on your telecom carrier and plan, you will usually be able to do this up to 4 times.

For more information about this feature and the other options that it makes available, see our lesson on how to make a conference call on an Android phone.


This button, when tapped, temporarily pauses the current call without actually hanging up on the caller. Tap this button again to resume the call.

End Call

Tap the red button at the bottom of the screen to disconnect from the call.

Those are some of the basic ways that you can make a phone call on an Android phone, as well as some of the other things you can do once someone picks up on the other end! We have tons of other handy calling and voicemail functions on your Android phone to teach you about, so stick with us!