Speed dial buttons on your iPhone’s home screen

(If you don’t have an iPhone, move along… Nothing to see here.)

The newest version of software on the iPhone, 1.1.3, lets you save buttons on your home screen that point to web pages.

I ran across an article with a method to let you make a button that automatically dials a number you choose. But that hack was a bit too cumbersome for me to use, plus it requires you entering in your phone numbers in a URL that could be logged on someone else’s server.

So, I wrote a front-end to make it a little easier to create speed dial buttons. Full credit to Nate True for his discovery and method; I just put a nice form in front of it and made it so no logging is possible.

This doesn’t interact with your contacts at all — it’s just a virtual web page. Once you’ve created it, you just touch your home screen button, tap Call, then — voila — you’re dialing.

To create your own buttons, just go to zeigen.com/dial using Safari on your iPhone, and follow the instructions. (Requires javascript on, and 1.1.3 or later.)

Nothing you submit is stored on my server, and once you create the Home button, it dials automatically without Safari needing to be connected to Edge or wireless.

You can view-source on that page to see how it works. It’s basically a data URI built with JavaScript that uses meta refresh and the tel URI to make your phone dial.

I’m working with a friend to provide some sample icons to select from. I also hope to add more error checking of entries and a preview of the icon you’ve selected.

Let me know how you like it!

Update: Version 4 released around 9pm 1/26 — implements version checking and a message if JavaScript is off, and lets you switch off the instructions, plus a little cleanup of language.

New Update: Version 0.5 (with retroactive re-versioning!) released around 1:30am on 1/28 — adds a selection of spiffy icons you can choose, thanks to Kevin Fox.

20 Responses to “Speed dial buttons on your iPhone’s home screen”

  1. Scooterpie Says:

    Good show, fine sir! Very simple and straightforward process and easy to use interface.

  2. Julux Says:

    how do u do with a number as “#123#” or “*15*#” ?
    thanks before :)

  3. Stephen Says:

    I pass whatever you enter off to the iPhone, and from there it seems to ignore any # or * characters in tel URLs. It converts letters to numbers, and strips out all punctuation. You can verify this yourself in Safari by entering tel:#123*-456X in the location box. It then offers to call 1234569. So this method will not work at all for numbers requiring # of *, sorry.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    couldnt figure out how to make the custom images work…

  5. Stephen Says:

    Hi Anonymous,

    New version up, let me know if you find it any easier. Basically type in your phone number, tap “Custom” and then enter in a full URL to the icon you want to use, then click Go. The icon then appears when you save the button to your home screen.

  6. Juluc Says:

    Thanks… so when the official SDK arrives, maybe a little frindly develloper will create a real callclips :-)

  7. Stephen Says:

    Yup! Maybe me! But in the meantime, we can use this. :)

  8. Jeff Carroll Says:

    nice job.

    I’m the guy who wrote the original messy bookmarklet script in Nate’s comment thread. I eventually wound up hacking together a form to drive the original script, together with a base64 encoder to make it portable (http://carroll.jk.googlepages.com/packnumber.html).

    not as pretty as this though.

  9. Julux Says:

    I’d like to initiate a Callclip Project. Good idea? or not?

  10. Stephen Says:

    Tell us more!

  11. julux Says:

    I sent u a mail yesterday. do u recieve it?

  12. mike Says:

    I really like this, but I don’t like leaving web pages up on the iPhone. Is there a way to have it close the page or clear the page after dialing? Redial is not needed as I can just redial from the home page.

  13. Aaron Says:

    This is really cool and very nicely done!

    Can the same thing be done with an email (mailto link)? I can get a mailto bookmark to work right, but I can’t figure out how to add it to my homescreen as it always goes straight to Mail on the iPhone.

    I am trying out OmniFocus, which allows you to automatically add tasks you send to yourself in emails. Having the mailto link on my homescreen would be awesome.

  14. Simon Says:

    tried to load a custom image but the entry box on the page wont allow you to type in it. i have tried it on safari on my mac and my iphone and even firefox but url entry box is unresponsive. could you please check becuase this is a great app and i would love to use it

  15. Stephen Says:

    Mike — It doesn’t seem to let me close the page afterwards. Alas.

    Aaron — Good idea, experimenting with that and will add that option soon if it works.

    Simon — You have to select the “custom image” checkbox option first, and that should allow entry into the URL box. Ah, I did just find a bug — it required you to click on the word “custom” instead of either the word or the checkbox. Now it allows either.

  16. iPhone Speed Dial Trick « tinyfish Says:

    [...] This is a speed dial trick that has covered before, however I still think it is pretty cool, till a native app appears. Thanks to Nate at Cre.ations.net for discovering and coming out with an effectively way to use this feature, Jeff Carroll for creating some improvements such as Base64 encoding and the Zeigen for creating a nice front end for it.  [...]

  17. Jordan Dobson Says:

    I’ve also put together a simpler and sexier solution for this type of feature. This version allows you to call someone again simply too!

    http://madebysquad.com/iphone-photo-dial/

    It doesn’t require Javascript either & the pages are named in Safari if you want to leave it open.

  18. Jonathan Says:

    Were you ever able to implement a “mailto:”, as asked by Aaron above? I’m looking for a way to have an icon on my home screen that will compose an email with a default address & subject.

    Thanks, Jonathan

  19. Stephen Says:

    Jonathan, I never had time to investigate, sorry.

  20. Donovan Says:

    Hello there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a collection of volunteers and starting a new project in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on. You have done a wonderful job!

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