How To Fix It When You Can't Make or Receive Calls on Android

When your phone stops doing its job, try these tips

What to Know

  • First, make sure the monthly bill is not in arrears, you're not in a dead spot, and the phone is not in Airplane or Do Not Disturb mode.
  • Check for malware and perform a reset if it's still not working properly.
  • Contact your carrier to check for issues or to receive further help.

This article explains what to do when you can neither make nor receive calls on an Android smartphone.

If you can make outgoing calls, but your phone isn't ringing when you get an incoming call, that's a separate issue. Fix your Android phone if it isn't ringing.

Why Your Phone Can't Make or Receive Calls

Many things can cause this issue. It could be that you're in arrears on your monthly bill, you're in a dead spot (rare, but still happens), or you've left your phone in airplane mode or on Do Not Disturb. If none of these are the case, it's probably something more serious, such as physical damage or malware.

What to Do When Your Phone Isn't Working

Try these troubleshooting steps in order. Even if you don't find out precisely what went wrong, many of these can resolve an array of Android smartphone problems.

  1. Verify that you're in-network. While relatively rare, dead spots still abound. You may encounter this when underground (in a basement or on mass transit) or in a rural area. Reception issues can also happen if you're near another country's border and your phone thinks you're roaming.

  2. Make sure that airplane mode is not on. When this mode is enabled, mobile networks are disabled, and incoming phone calls go to voicemail. If Wi-Fi is on, you can still surf the web and send messages using data, though. Pull down from the top of the phone's screen to access Quick Settings or go to Settings > Network & internet > Airplane mode. Make sure airplane mode is disabled.

  3. Check that mobile data is enabled. When your phone connects to a network, you should see your carrier's name, such as AT&T, Boost Mobile, or Verizon. If not, it might say not connected or roaming.

  4. Contact your carrier. Have you paid your bill? Even if you have auto-pay set up, that can fail due to problems with your bank or a technical glitch. Your carrier should alert you to this, but it may be via snail mail. If there isn't a payment issue, technical support helps you check for other problems or alert you to an area outage.

  5. Restart your phone. If none of the above is the problem, this action can fix many issues.

  6. Check for malware. Sometimes malware hits Android phones. There are a few steps you can take to remove malicious apps from your device. Rebooting your phone in safe mode is an excellent way to identify issues.

  7. Perform a factory reset. A hard reset can take care of issues that a simple restart doesn't, but make sure you've backed up important data before doing so.

  8. Contact the manufacturer or carrier. If all else fails, the issue might be due to hardware damage. Find out if it's worth repairing or how to get a replacement. If you can, bring your phone to a local store so the tech can conduct some troubleshooting.

Once you’ve figured out the problem and fixed it, do a security audit on your device. Check that it has the latest security updates, uninstall unused apps, and only download apps and files from trusted sources, like the Google Play Store.

Was this page helpful?