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

When your phone stops doing its job, try these tips

When you can neither make nor receive calls on an Android smartphone, the cause might be any number of issues. Here's where to start when trying to get back on speaking terms with your phone.

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

What to Do When Your Phone Isn't Working

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

  1. Verify that you're in network. While relatively rare, dead spots still exist. You might 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 to check the status.

    Android settings with Network & Internet and Airplane mode highlighted
  3. Check that mobile data is enabled. When your phone connects to a network, you should see your carrier's name. If not, a message of "not connected" or "roaming" might display.

    The "Cellular Data" switch in Android settings
  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 can help you check for other problems and alert you to area outages.

  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.

    Android factory reset
  8. Contact the manufacturer or carrier. If all else fails, the issue might be due to hardware damage or malware. 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.

Keeping Your Phone Secure

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.
  • Download apps and files only from trusted sources, such as the Google Play Store.
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