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Click to Call

On devices with phone capabilities, make it easy for users to directly connect with you by simply tapping a phone number, more commonly known as click to call.

TL;DR

  • Wrap all phone numbers in hyperlinks with the tel: schema.
  • Always use the international dialing format.

While many modern mobile browsers automatically detect phone numbers and convert them to links, it’s a good idea to do this directly in your code. By manually tagging each phone number, you can ensure that phone numbers are always enabled for click to call and that they will be styled to match your site.

To mark a phone number as a link, use the tel: scheme. The syntax is simple:

NIST Telephone Time-of-Day Service 
<a href="tel:+1-303-499-7111">+1 (303) 499-7111</a>

Your browser displays this syntax as follows:

NIST Telephone Time-of-Day Service +1 (303) 499-7111

Click to call example

On most devices with telephone capabilities, the user receives a confirmation before the number is dialed, to ensure that the user isn't being tricked into calling an expensive long distance or premium phone number. When the device doesn’t support phone calls, users may be presented with a menu allowing them to choose how the browser should handle the number.

Desktop browsers that don’t support voice calls open the default telephony app on the computer; for example Google Voice or Microsoft Communicator.

Use the international dialing format

Always supply the phone number using the international dialing format: the plus sign (+), country code, area code, and number. While not absolutely necessary, it’s a good idea to separate each segment of the number with a hyphen (-) for easier reading and better auto-detection.

Using a hyphenated international dialing format ensures that no matter where the user is calling from, whether a few hundred meters away or thousands of kilometers, their call will be connected.

Disable auto-detection when necessary

Modern mobile browsers automatically detect phone numbers and enable click to call. Mobile Safari automatically converts phone numbers to links with the associated hyperlink styles. Chrome for Android automatically detects phone numbers and allows users to click to call, but does not wrap the phone numbers in hyperlinks or apply any special styles.

To prevent Mobile Safari from automatically detecting phone numbers, add the following meta tag to the top of the page:

<meta name="format-detection" content="telephone=no">

Other click to call features

In addition to the tel: schema, some modern browsers also support the sms: and mms: schemas, though support is not as consistent, and some features like setting the message body don't always work.