iPhone Calls Failed Repeatedly? Here’s How to Fix It (2023)

What to Know

  • If your call failed, toggle Airplane mode off and on, restart your iPhone, and check your list of blocked numbers.
  • Then, remove and reinsert your SIM card and reset your network settings to solve any hardware glitches or connection issues.
  • If your iPhone calls still fail, call your carrier to check for network outages in your area.

It can be frustrating when you attempt to make a call on your iPhone and you’re given the error message “Call Failed.” You find yourself wondering, "Why do my calls keep failing?" After first rebooting your iPhone and updating your iOS software, as well as moving to various locations, here are several simple steps you can try to solve the iPhone call failed error before contacting your carrier.

    Call Failed on Your iPhone? 6 Common Fixes.

    Why are my calls failing on my iPhone? Well, there could be several causes. While the success rate of voice calls on the iPhone has improved a lot in recent years, they can still fail from time to time. If your iPhone keeps saying Call Failed, work through the troubleshooting steps below to solve the problem.

    Fix #1: If a call failed on your iPhone, toggle Airplane mode off & on.

    As simple as this suggestion sounds, this is the most common solution for resolving the "Call Failed" message on your iPhone. This is especially true if your iPhone won't make calls, but will send texts.

    1. Swipe down from the upper right corner of your iPhone (or up from the bottom of the screen on models with Home buttons) to access the Control Center.

    2. Tap the Airplane Mode icon on the upper left corner of the Control Center.

    3. Wait a few seconds, then tap the Airplane Mode icon again to turn it back off.

    Fix #2: Restart your iPhone to clear minor software bugs.

    If you haven't already done so, make sure to restart your iPhone. Whether your call failed on an iPhone 12 or an older iPhone 7, this cure-all solution is listed in nearly every iPhone troubleshooting article, and for good reason! By taking the few seconds to restart, you can resolve a lot of minor software glitches, including those causing the iPhone "Call Failed" error message.

    Fix #3: Check your list of blocked numbers if your call won't go through to a certain number.

    If your iPhone won't make calls to a specific number, it's possible that you accidentally blocked this person's number (or blocked them and forgot). You should also double-check blocked contacts if your iPhone calls fail immediately before it barely has the chance to ring. This can also signal that the number has been added to your blocked contacts. If your call failed on an iPhone 13 (or other models), follow these steps to check blocked contacts:

    1. Open the Settings app, scroll down, and tap on Phone in the list of apps.

    2. Tap Blocked Contacts. Make sure that the number you’re trying to call is not among the numbers you’ve blocked.

    While this is rare, it does happen. If you see the number you're trying to call in the list of blocked contacts, tap the Edit button in the top left corner, then tap the minus icon next to the contact. This will remove the contact from your blocked numbers list so you can call them.

    Fix #4: Remove & reinsert your SIM card if calls keep failing on your iPhone.

    A damaged SIM card could be the reason for failed or dropped calls on an iPhone. If you have an older phone with a physical SIM, check your SIM card for any damage or scratches, especially if you have been using it for a long time.

    1. Open the SIM tray using a paper clip (or SIM-eject tool).
    2. Take out the SIM card.
    3. Look for damage. If you find any, consider getting a new SIM card. If you don’t find damage, reinsert the SIM card and try to make the call again.


      Image courtesy of Apple

    If you have another iPhone, you can try inserting the SIM card into that phone. Or, if you have another SIM card, you can try inserting it in the first iPhone. If either of these efforts leads to a successful phone call, you have isolated the issue to either the iPhone or the SIM card.

    Fix #5: Reset your network settings to solve connection issues.

    If you've tried the solutions above and your iPhone still says call failed, you can reset your network settings. However, this will erase all current saved settings, including Wi-Fi passwords, Bluetooth connections, and preferred networks.

    1. Open the Settings app and tap on General.

    2. Scroll down and tap Transfer or Reset iPhone.

    3. Tap on Reset Network Settings. You'll need to enter your passcode to confirm you want to reset.

    Fix #6: Contact your carrier to check for network outages.

    As a final resort, you should contact your service provider (such as Verizon or AT&T). This will allow you to do two things: check to make sure your account is active and in good standing, as well as determine whether there is a network outage in your area. For most major carriers, you contact them by phone, email, online (by logging into your account), or through the iPhone app for the specific service provider (such as the myAT&T app).

    FAQ

    • Why can I text but not call? There could be an issue with your network connection; try restarting your iPhone, toggling Airplane mode off and on, and checking for a carrier update.
    • Does call failed mean they hung up? No. A call has to go through to get rejected. If a call fails, that means your intended recipient never received the call at all.
    • Why is my iPhone saying message failed to send? The most common reason a message won’t send from an iPhone is not being connected to Wi-Fi or cellular data. If you’ve checked your connection and messages still aren’t going through, you may need to try some more in-depth troubleshooting to fix iMessage not working.

    That's all there is to it! Hopefully, these solutions covering how to fix the Call Failed error on your iPhone resolved the problem. If you've been meaning to learn how to make video calls, check out how to make a FaceTime Call. I often use FaceTime to call friends and family, since video calls feel more personal. However, if you find the eye contact feature a bit eerie (like I do), you can also learn how to enable and disable FaceTime Eye Contact.

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    Author Details

    Leanne Hays's picture

    Author Details

    Leanne Hays

    Leanne Hays has over a dozen years of experience writing for online publications. As a Feature Writer for LifeOniOS, she has authored hundreds of how-to, Apple news, and gear review articles, as well as a comprehensive Photos App guide. Leanne holds degrees in education and science and loves troubleshooting and repair. This combination makes her a perfect fit as manager of our Ask an Expert service, which helps LifeOniOS Insiders with Apple hardware and software issues.
    In off-work hours, Leanne is a mother of two, homesteader, audiobook fanatic, musician, and learning enthusiast.