iPhone

Secret iPhone codes for the power user

Wil Limoges shares some of the iPhone codes that you can input on the number pad to perform a variety of tasks.

You may or may not be aware of it, but your iPhone has some secrets it's been hiding from you, some of which are handy, some of which are hacky. Your iPhone has the ability to accept codes that can be typed into the phone application, each of which can do different things. I’m going to explain how to access these codes and what they do. Most of the codes I’m going to share with you can be found on your carrier's website.

UPDATE: The codes I supply below are specific to ATT. You can find the list of codes for Verizon on a couple of support pages:

You can also try this list for Sprint.

Let me describe how the codes work. First, open your Phone application. Once you’re in your Phone application, simply enter the codes by typing on the number pad and in most cases, you’ll just press call.

Upgrade your handset

*936# and press call

This is one of the most popular of codes. Entering this code will provide you with a text message that lets you know when you're eligible for a new phone upgrade.

Check your bill balance

*777# and press call

This will display your current bill balance.

Check your minutes

*646# and press call

This code will display your available minutes.

Display IMEI

*#06# No need to press call

It’s probably not often that you need to retrieve your IMEI number, but in the event that you do, save yourself some time by using this code.

Interrogation settings for call forwards

*#21# and press call

Shows you whether you have voice, data, fax, sync, async, packet access, and pad access call forwarding enabled or not.

Call waiting

*#43# and press call

Tells you whether or not call waiting is enabled.

Field Test

*3001#12345#* and press call

This one is my favorite. After pressing call, you’ll be granted access to the Field Test app. Aside from the technical info that you’ll see here, you can also enable the ability to display a cellular reception number instead of bars. The number represents how weak or strong your signal is. The higher the number, such as -100, the weaker the signal. The lower the number, -60, for instance, the better the signal. What’s even better is that you can replace those bars permanently just as I have on my own iPhone. While in the Field Test app, tapping the area in the top left corner of the screen will switch the setting between bars and numbers. Once it’s set to numbers, hold the Sleep/Wake button until the iPhone displays the slide to power off screen. Do not power it off. Instead, hold down the home button until the power off screen disappears. Now you have numbers permanently. To switch back to bars, simply repeat the process, only with bars enabled instead of numbers.

About

Wil Limoges is a Louisville, KY freelance web designer and Digital Savant at the vimarc group. He has had the pleasure of working for Apple as a Genius, loves science, and aspires to make great things!

14 comments
wschloss
wschloss

Great info thanks.  Anyone know, or know a location where, we can learn, what the forward and diagnostic codes actually mean?  Thanks.

langr
langr

Most of the codes provided also work on "feature" phones (at least on AT&T) - not just on "smart" phones.

tsmyther
tsmyther

Most of these codes and more are listed in the Carrier Specific area of the Settings app. In settings, tap Phone, then go down to the Carrier Preferences. (Mine says "AT&T Services") Once there, you can find how to check balance, pay your bill, view data&msg info, or view minutes. The first one in the article is incorrect, however. The correct AT&T code to find upgrade eligibility is *639#. This is *NEW# - which is much easier to remember.

ozindfw
ozindfw

It's interesting that most of these are the same code sequences used in Nokia phones 10 Years ago. I wonder if the operators required it.

paulshotan@hotmail.com
paulshotan@hotmail.com

hi Will, Many thanks for the codes, they work perfectly for my iphone 3G on giffgaff O2 in the UK . I'm using the numerical signal strength now. ....far better than the bars! The more I understand my i-bag of tricks the happier I feel so thanks again for a little more knowledge. mjuch appreciated. Cheers, Paul Shotan www.artworks-unlimited.co.uk

Orbit-Chris
Orbit-Chris

This article is great for your US readers, would you have the same type of lists for your UK readers on say, O2? ..or the others here?

barrie_riddoch
barrie_riddoch

Tried almost all the codes, got some error on everyone.

winward
winward

The field test code worked bu the others produced a number can't be completed as dialed message from Verizon

iwanagak
iwanagak

Doesnt work for my verizon iphone either

kurtbullock
kurtbullock

I've got an iPhone 4 on Verizon - and I've run through the first 4 codes, and I get an error message each time in the form of a recording that states: "Welcome to Verizon wireless. Your feature update could not be completed." Anyone else?