Using tel: Telephone URLs in iCal Events

March 5, 2010 § 1 Comment

Mac iCal telephone URLs

iPhone iCal telephone URLs

[NOTE: I’m still trying to figure this out, but here is my current best understanding; please leave a comment if you have additional information].

A useful trick not many people know is that you can embed a telephone URL in an iCal entry, to make it easy for people attending to call-in.  This is especially useful for when the meeting itself is a Conference Call and people are dialing in on their iPhones.

Unfortunately, the Mac and iPhone versions of iCal handle things slightly differently from each other (and from the RFC 2806 specification, I think).

The key things to note for iCal events are that:

  1. You should include a double-slash after the colon (“tel://”) so that the system recognizes it as a URL
  2. For Mac attendees, place the URL in the “url” field; of course, this is only will work if their Mac has a softphone app that handles “tel:” URLs
  3. For iPhone attendees, place the URL in the “notes” field, since the “url” field isn’t visible or accessible (as far as I can tell).
  4. You can add a “post-dial” phrase after one or more “p”s (for pause). You should not use the “;postd=” tag mentioned in the RFC, at least on iPhone; what (if any) syntax to use on the Mac depends on your phone-dialing app. UPDATE: You can also use “,” to pause before any post-dial numbers.

Since my softphone chokes on “pause”, I use this:

Call 800-555-1212 and enter 1234

Your mileage may vary. Try it out, and let me know in the comments how it works out for you!

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