How to add your favorite people to your iPhone to save time and hassle

Just got an iPhone 13? Smart move. Apple’s new flagship has longer battery life, refreshed cameras and enhanced video recording.

As you get comfortable with your new phone, don’t forget to add people to your Favorites list—and put your most elite crew into your Contacts widget.

The benefits of adding people are twofold. You can surface their names quickly when you want to get in touch. And they, in turn, can call you when they need to, even if your phone is set to “Do Not Disturb.” And you don’t even need a new iPhone to do it, just Apple’s latest operating system, iOS 15, released in September.

Add to favorites

Favorites is an easily overlooked feature that lets you more efficiently get in touch with people you talk to the most often. It’s tucked inside your Phone app, which—unless you move it—can be found at the bottom-left of your home screen.

To add someone to the list, open the Phone app, tap the star icon on the lower left side of the screen and hit the + on the upper left-hand side. You can then decide whether to add a shortcut to reach them via text message, phone call or FaceTime. You can add people multiple times, for each method of communication.

You can also adjust the person’s preferred contact methods by tapping their name in Contacts, scrolling down and tapping “Add to Favorites.”

There are some quirks. If the person has multiple phone numbers, you must add each number individually. And your Favorites could end up looking chaotic unless you manually shift them around, as they aren’t automatically organized alphabetically.

A star will appear next to any contacts you’ve picked as a favorite.

Calls from these contacts bypass your Do Not Disturb settings by default. You can turn this off in your Settings menu by tapping on Focus, then “Allowed Notifications,” which lets you edit their access to you.

It’s important to note that text messages from people in your Favorites list won’t ring through when you’re in Do Not Disturb mode, even if you’ve added those specific methods of communication. FaceTime calls do come through, however.

In case of emergency

If you’d want to contact your Favorite during an emergency, consider adding them as an Emergency Contact, too. They will receive a message with your location whenever you trigger your phone’s “Emergency SOS” function to call authorities (in newer iPhones, by holding down the power and volume-up buttons). Their contact information will also be displayed in a special Medical ID screen accessible to people even when your phone is locked.

To add an emergency contact, find the person in the Contacts app then select “Add to Emergency Contacts” and follow the instructions.

There’s even a buried setting that lets you identify people who can call you, with an audible ringer, even when your phone is set to silent. In Contacts, go to this very special person, tap Edit then tap on the Ringtone options. At the top, you’ll see “Emergency Bypass.” Needless to say, you should be careful who gets this power—and when.

The contacts widget

Apple’s iOS 15 gives you another way to keep your most important contacts close at hand: the Contacts widget.

To add it to your home screen, long-press any blank space on the screen. Once your apps start wiggling, tap the + at the top and search for the Contacts widget. The widget will add select contacts to a more prominent icon on your home screen. By default, the widget recommends family members and recent contacts. You can adjust the lineup by long-pressing the widget, tapping “Edit ‘Contacts,’ ” then tapping people’s names to replace them with other contacts.

The phone will prioritize these contacts when you want to share content. If you take a screenshot of a photo online or choose to forward an audio recording, the phone recommends these people as recipients, an Apple spokeswoman said. If you have location sharing enabled with family members or friends, the widget can automatically display their locations as well as photos and links you’ve exchanged.

Those people will have their memoji or contact photo displayed prominently on your screen. But you’ll still need to add them to Favorites if you want them to be able to call you in the middle of the night.


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