Photo by Franck on Unsplash

July 26, 2021

Is Wi-Fi Calling Safe?

Making a phone call over the internet is free, fairly reliable, and a total lifesaver when you’re in an area with poor cell service. 

But because it’s a new-ish feature for many users, they wonder if it’s a good idea or not. Will they be compromising their data privacy by making phone calls using a public Wi-Fi connection? 

What is Wi-Fi calling?

If you’re new to Wi-Fi calling, it’s simply a way of making a phone call over the internet. It used to be pretty limited, but now most major cell carriers support Wi-Fi calling (and the option to use it comes standard on the newest Android and iPhone devices).

Because we live in a world filled with free, public Wi-Fi hotspots — malls, restaurants, hotels, shops, etc. — it’s easier than ever to make phone calls over Wi-Fi, and you don’t need to have a cellular plan. 

It isn’t perfect (like most free things). There’s sometimes a 1-2 second delay, and if you’re on the move and you lose your Wi-Fi connection, your call might be dropped as your phone scrambles to connect to a new network. 

Even with a few kinks left to iron out, Wi-Fi calling remains a great (and free) option for many people — saving them money on cell plans, helping them stay connected in spotty service areas (or when their minutes run out), and giving them more freedom to use their devices in a way that makes sense.

Is Wi-Fi calling safe to use?

Yup, Wi-Fi calling is generally safe because even though your data is being sent over (possibly unsecured) Wi-Fi networks, your mobile carrier usually encrypts your voice data. (So even if someone else tries to hack into your phone call, the information is useless.)

However, if you’re using a voice-over-Wi-Fi app that bypasses your mobile carrier, you may not have this level of security, however. So it really depends on if what you’re saying is confidential, or if you’re just chatting with a friend about what movie you should stream tonight.

Wi-Fi safety reminders

The old saying “You get what you pay for” applies to all Wi-Fi connections. If it’s free, you’re not guaranteed a secure (or fast) connection — and yes, there are hackers who lurk on free, public networks just waiting to sneak into someone’s device and steal their private information.

But that doesn’t mean free, public Wi-Fi is “bad,” or that you should never use it. 

Whether you’re using a connection to for Wi-Fi calling or just browse around, here are a few Wi-Fi safety tips to keep in mind … 

  • Want to ensure a more private Wi-Fi call, even over a public hotspot? Try a VPN like Private Wi-Fi or Hotspot Shield, which will encrypt your data (including your voice).
  • Don’t use a public Wi-Fi connection to do anything secure, like entering (or uttering) a username, PIN or password, because you never know who might intercept that info.

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Photo by Franck on Unsplash

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