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What are RTT Calls? How to Use this Feature on Android, and iOS.



rtt calls

Have you ever wished you could see text messages appear in real-time as they’re being typed, just like in a live conversation? That’s what RTT (real-time text) calls are all about! Instead of waiting for the other person to hit ‘send’, you see their words appear on your screen instantly, letter by letter. It’s like having a voice call but with text. It offers a unique way of communicating, bridging the gap between traditional voice calls and instant messaging.

This feature is a game-changer, especially for people who have trouble hearing or speaking. For them, regular voice calls can be challenging. But with RTT calls, they can have real-time conversations using text. It’s a bit like instant messaging, but even faster and more immediate.

Now, both Android and iOS, the operating systems for most smartphones, have this RTT feature. So, many people can use it. This article will explain what RTT calls are, how they work, and how to use them on different phones. Whether you’re curious or think this feature might be helpful for you or someone you know, keep reading to learn more!

What are RTT Calls?

rtt calls

Imagine you’re texting a friend. Usually, you type your message, hit ‘send’, and then wait for their reply. But what if, instead of waiting, you could see each letter they type as they type it? It would feel like you’re having a live chat, right? That’s what RTT (Real-Time Text) calls do!

RTT calls are like a mix of voice calls and texting. When you use RTT, you and the person you’re chatting with can see the text appear on the screen instantly, letter by letter. There’s no need to press ‘send’. It’s all in real-time, just like when you talk to someone face-to-face.

This feature is super helpful for people who might have trouble hearing or speaking. With RTT, they can have real conversations using text, making it easier and more immediate than regular texting. It’s like having a voice chat, but with words appearing on your screen.

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In short, RTT calls are a cool way to text in real time, making conversations faster and more interactive. It’s a step forward in making communication easier and more accessible for everyone!

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  1. Instant Texting: With RTT calls, as soon as you type a letter, it appears on the other person’s screen. You don’t have to finish your sentence or press ‘send’. It’s all live!
  2. For Everyone, Especially the Deaf and Hard of Hearing: RTT is a fantastic tool for those who might have difficulty with regular voice calls. It offers them a way to have real-time conversations using text.
  3. No ‘Send’ Button Needed: Unlike regular texting, where you type everything and then press’Send’, with RTT, everything is immediate. As you type, the other person sees it.
  4. Works Like a Voice Call: Even though it’s text, RTT feels like a voice call. Both people can ‘talk’ (or type) back and forth quickly, making it a conversation.
  5. Emergency Friendly: In situations where you can’t speak out loud, like during some emergencies, RTT can be super useful. You can communicate quickly without needing to speak.
  6. Available on Many Phones: Many modern smartphones, whether Android or iOS, have the RTT feature. So, a lot of people can use it.

How do I use the RTT Calls feature on Android?

  1. Open Settings: On your Android phone, swipe down from the top of the screen and tap on the gear-shaped ‘Settings’ icon.
  2. Go to Accessibility: Scroll down in the Settings menu until you find ‘Accessibility’ and tap on it.
  3. Find RTT Option: Inside the Accessibility menu, look for an option related to ‘Real-time text (RTT)’ or just ‘RTT’. The exact name might vary based on your phone model.
  4. Enable RTT: Tap on the RTT option and switch it on. There might be a toggle to turn it on or off.
  5. Adjust RTT settings:
    • Not visible: This hides the RTT call button but still allows you to receive incoming RTT calls.
    • Visible during the call: The RTT button will show up after you’ve started a regular call.
    • Always visible: The RTT button will always be on your call screen, making it easy to start an RTT call.
  6. Making an RTT call:
    • Open your ‘Phone’ or ‘Contacts’ app.
    • Choose the contact you want to call.
    • Tap the call button. If you’ve set the RTT button to ‘Always visible’, you’ll see an RTT button on your screen. Tap that to start an RTT call. If you’ve chosen ‘Visible during call’, you can switch to RTT after the call starts.
  7. During the call: As you type, the other person will see your text in real-time. They can reply the same way. It’s like a live chat!
  8. Ending the Call: When you’re done, just tap the ‘End call’ or ‘Hang up’ button, like you would for a regular call.
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How to use RTT Calls Feature on iOS

  1. Open Settings: On your iPhone, tap on the ‘Settings’ app, represented by a gear icon.
  2. Navigate to Accessibility: Scroll down in the Settings menu and tap on ‘Accessibility’.
  3. Go to Touch: Within the Accessibility menu, tap on ‘Touch’.
  4. Select RTT/TTY: Scroll down, and you’ll find the ‘RTT/TTY’ option. Tap on it.
  5. Enable Software RTT/TTY: Toggle on the ‘Software RTT/TTY’ option. This will activate the RTT feature on your iPhone.
  6. Adjust RTT Settings (Optional):
    • Send Immediately: If turned on, your text will be sent character by character in real time.
    • Answer All Calls as RTT/TTY: If you enable this, all incoming calls will be answered as RTT calls by default.
  7. Making an RTT Call:
    • Open your ‘Phone’ app.
    • Choose the contact you wish to call.
    • On the top right corner of the contact’s details, you’ll see an RTT/TTY symbol. Tap on it to start an RTT call.
  8. During the Call: As you type, the recipient will see your messages in real-time, and they can respond in the same manner. It’s a seamless text conversation happening live!

Is it safe to access the RTT Calls Feature?

Yes, accessing and using the RTT (Real-Time Text) Calls feature is safe. Here’s a breakdown of its safety aspects:

  1. Encryption: Just like regular voice calls or text messages, RTT calls are encrypted. This means that the data (in this case, the text) is converted into a code to prevent unauthorized access. Only the intended recipient, with the correct decryption key (usually managed automatically by the device), can read the message.
  2. Privacy: When you use RTT, the real-time nature of the feature means that the recipient can see your message as you type, including any deletions or corrections. While this offers immediacy, it’s essential to be aware of this aspect for privacy reasons. However, outside of the call, third parties cannot access the content of your RTT conversation without breaching standard security protocols.
  3. Regulations: In many countries, telecommunications standards and regulations ensure that features like RTT adhere to strict privacy and security guidelines. In the U.S., for instance, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has set rules to ensure the confidentiality of RTT communications.
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Is RTT the same as instant messaging?

No, while both are text-based, RTT is designed for real-time communication, making it more akin to voice calls in its immediacy.

Can RTT be used in emergencies?

Yes, RTT can be used to contact emergency services, providing a text-based communication method when voice might not be possible.

Is there a cost associated with RTT calls?

RTT calls might be charged at standard calling rates by carriers. It’s advisable to check with your service provider for specific rates.

Do all phones support RTT?

Not all phones support RTT. However, the FCC mandates that phone manufacturers in the US offer RTT-capable handsets.

Can RTT replace traditional voice calls?

While RTT offers a text-based alternative, it doesn’t replace the need for voice calls. It’s an additional feature designed primarily for accessibility.


RTT calls represent a significant leap in making communication more inclusive. By providing real-time text-based communication, it ensures that even those with hearing or speech disabilities can have fluid, natural conversations, breaking down barriers and making the world a more connected place. Whether you use it out of necessity or convenience, RTT calls are a testament to how technology can adapt to serve diverse needs.

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