How to Fix It When Your iPhone Is Dropping Calls

What to do when you get a call failed error on your iPhone

Dropped calls are nothing new, but iOS 13 introduced a bug that made the issue measurably worse. Here's how to stop your iPhone from dropping calls (or at least dropping them as often.)

Dropped calls can ruin your day.
Catherine Delahay / Getty Images 

Causes for iPhone Dropping Calls

Dropped calls happen for several reasons, many of which are often outside your control, including:

  • Out of range: If you move out of range of a tower, your call might drop during the 'handoff' from one tower to another.
  • Bad area: A call can drop if you enter an area with no reception.
  • Antenna damage: If your phone's internal antenna is damaged you might experience dropped calls.
  • Software issue: Faulty software and/or glitches can cause calls to drop.

How to Fix an iPhone That's Dropping Calls

Tower-focused hardware problems are outside of your control, but you can reduce the chance of dropped calls by making sure your phone is in tip-top shape.

Ensuring you have the most recent updates and that potentially problematic settings are disabled helps narrow down the number of dropped calls. Take the time to familiarize yourself with your phone and carrier settings in the steps below so you can better identify the reason your calls cut out.

  1. Make sure your iPhone is up to date. Apple has released several updates since iOS 13 that aim to fix unexpected glitches. To make sure your phone is updated, go to Settings > Software Update. If an update is available, you will be given the option to install it. You can even update iOS wirelessly.

    To avoid having to repeat this in the future, enable Automatic Updates to automatically keep your phone up to date.

  2. Disable Silence Unknown Callers. iOS 13 introduced a new feature that allows you to silence calls from numbers that appear as “Unknown,” which helps to eliminate a huge amount of spam. However, a small subset of users have discovered that disabling this feature seems to help with dropped calls.

    This fix might not work for everyone, but until the cause of the dropped calls is known, it’s worth a shot. To disable this feature, go to Settings > Phone > Silence Unknown Callers and toggle the slider off.

  3. Update your carrier settings. Aside from your operating system and on-board software issues, your call quality and consistency is heavily reliant on your service provider. If your carrier has issued new settings that you have not downloaded, you might face more dropped calls than usual.

    Something to keep in mind is that carrier settings are usually automatically updated and require no input from the user; however, it’s worth checking to be sure. Go to Settings > General > About. If an update is available, you should be prompted to download it.

  4. Reset iPhone network settings. Your network settings store all of your preferences for Wi-Fi, cellular, and other types of networks. By resetting these entirely, you can clear out glitches and bugs that might result in dropped calls. Doing this is one of the commonly recommended steps for troubleshooting any type of connection issue.

    Just keep in mind that you will need to re-connect your devices to your Wi-Fi once you do.

  5. Disable call forwarding. Call forwarding is a feature a lot of people use, especially if they have multiple lines they receive calls from. However, some users have found that call forwarding can exacerbate the dropped call issue. If you use call forwarding, try disabling the feature and see if it lessens the number of dropped calls.

    For those on Verizon, Sprint, and U.S. Cellular, you might not see a call forwarding option. Go to Settings > Cellular > Carrier Services to see a list of numbers to dial to activate these services. Call forwarding is *73.

  6. Change network bands. If the dropped calls are a result of poor network quality, it's possible to resolve the issue by swapping to a different network band. The options you have will depend on your carrier and your location, but in general, you can expect to choose between the following options:

    • LTE, VoLTE On
    • LTE, VoLTE Off
    • 3G

    Switching bands could give you a stronger connection and help maintain a connection while on a phone call. To see what options you have, go to Settings > Cellular > Cellular Data Options > Voice & Data and choose between the options available to you there.

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