Sam the Deaf

iOS: Built-in TTY under Phone app

I'm Deaf, Wireless


iOS 10 lets you make and receive TTY phone calls from your iPhone or iPad without the need for TTY hardware. Transcripts are saved in the call history of the Phone app. And there’s even a special keyboard that includes shortcut keys for common TTY prompts such as “GA” and “SK.”

I’m big fan of TRS (Text Relay Service), due my lack memory by pay attention with VRS ( Video Relay Service), where I can re-read if I forget or not understand without ask the caller to repeat what he/she say. I don’t like to waste their time or forget what being said. Anyway, with new iOS 10, it add new feature in Phone app: TTY. Clearly, it’s not mode to enable with jack and connect to physical-bulky TTY unit, just actual built-in TTY software.

With built-in TTY in Phone app, I’m would have no trouble to make call with customer service such as my credit card’s TTY number with low traffic than rather use relay service to being on wait calling.

It’s also great news for deaf-blind community. To be clear, it doesn’t mean, they’re 100% blind but limit visual. Anyway, it would be excite for my wife to use. If she change her mind on get iPhone instead Android phone. Or Google can learn something from Apple…

To set phone into TTY, you would need to go to Settings > General > Accessibility > TTY and turn Software TTY ON. Add relay service’s number in Relay Number box, we usually use 711 which is available to most state.



Open Phone app (we thought we would never use it) and dial the number or from contact listing to whoever you want to call. I testing by make call with TTY Relay Call. It works very nice and simple. Yet, I felt little rust with TTY way. It been a while after being struck with Video Relay Service when I had no choice after my favorite relay IP gone and didn’t like Sprint IP that much.


After dial, when you see TTY icon become highlight (it mean, someone answer your call) and then tap it and it will bring you to conversation room. With Relay TTY Call with setup by add 711 (US version) from early, it will provide the pre-message with number you dial to the agent. Therefore, you don’t have to typing until someone answer to you. When you done with typing, wait for short second until message is completed sent, as it go through and you should able to see “GA or “SK” between the conversation box and virtual keyboard. Select by tap box to finish your line before their next turn to talk.

Please keep in mind; it’s ideal when there is no LTE available or no data coverage where you are. Be understand that 3G or below, it does not meet VRS’s requirement, it would leave you to use low-speed Internet, text and voice… Remember, if you don’t have voice plan, you will see lot of dollars on your next bill.

Hmm… It seem that I couldn’t find transcript being saved in history. It would be nice if I can save the history of conversation.

Note: To have a clear conversation, I suggest you to use Wi-Fi calling from Settings > Phone > Wi-Fi Calling turn ON.


UPDATE: Wi-Fi Calling won’t work with TTY as when I turn Airport ON and then turn Wi-Fi ON only, it showed only able use with hardware TTY.

UPDATE: I’m not sure about outside US. A friend of mine who live in Australia, he don’t see TTY software in iPhone.

UPDATE: Confirm, TTY software is available only in US. Transcript (history conversation) storage for only few days and then it disappear. That mean, it’s our responsible to save in note or share it yourself somehow.

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  • Leif

    FYI: This also does not show on iPhone in Germany. 🙁 Bummer, I was just looking forward to the idea of using TTY again to talk to my Canadians Friends and some Americans as well.

  • Thank for let us know. So far, I have know that Canada and Australia doesn’t have TTY Software.