How to Fix the iPhone Not Ringing Problem

Fix your iPhone ringer with these tips

Illustration of a person who's missed 15 calls on their iPhone

Lifewire / Theresa Chiechi

There isn't a single reason why an iPhone stops ringing—but most of them are easy to fix. Try these steps before concluding that your iPhone is broken and needs an expensive repair.

The tips in this article apply to all recent versions of the iPhone and iOS, including iOS 11 and 12.

What Causes the iPhone-Not-Ringing Problem

If your iPhone is not ringing, there are six possible culprits:

  • A broken speaker
  • Mute is turned on
  • Do Not Disturb is turned on
  • You've blocked the phone number
  • A problem with your ringtone
  • You're stuck in headphone mode

If your speaker is working, but the sound is too quiet or distorted, you may need to clean your speakers rather than trying anything to do with software. Find out how in How to Clean iPhone Speakers.

Does Your Speaker Work?

The speaker at the bottom of your iPhone is used for every sound your phone makes. Whether that's playing music, watching movies, or hearing the ringtone for incoming calls, the speaker makes it all happen. If you're not hearing calls, your speaker could be broken.

Try playing some music or a YouTube video, and make sure to turn up the volume. If you're hearing audio fine, then that's not the problem. But if no sound comes out when it should, and you've got the volume up loud, it could be that you need to repair your iPhone's speaker.

For more on that topic, check out iPhone Speaker Not Working? 8 Ways to Fix It.

Is the Mute Switch On?

It's always good to rule out the simple problems before diving into more complicated ones. In this case, you need to make sure that you haven't silenced your iPhone and forgotten to turn the ringer back on. There are two ways to check this:

  1. Check the mute switch on the side of your iPhone. Make sure that it's turned off (when it's turned on, you'll be able to see an orange line inside the switch).

  2. On your iPhone, go to Settings and tap Sounds & Haptics (or just Sounds, depending on your model). Make sure the Ringer and Alerts slider isn't all the way to the left. If it is, move the slider to the right in order to turn up the volume.

    Three iOS screens showing Settings app icon, Sounds & Haptics button, and Ringer and Alerts slider

Is Do Not Disturb On?

Your iPhone might not be ringing because you've enabled a setting that mutes phone calls: Do Not Disturb. This is a great feature of the iPhone, introduced in iOS 6, that allows you to stop sounds from calls, texts, and notifications when you don't want to be bothered (like while you're sleeping or in church, for instance). Do Not Disturb may be great, but it can also be tricky—because you can schedule it, you may forget that it's enabled. To check for Do Not Disturb:

  1. Tap Settings.

  2. Tap Do Not Disturb.

  3. Check to see if either the Manual or Scheduled sliders are enabled.

  4. If the Manual is enabled, slide it to Off/white.

    Three iOS screens showing Settings app icon, Do Not Disturb button, and Do Not Disturb toggle
  5. If Scheduled is enabled, review the times Do Not Disturb is scheduled to be in use. Did the calls you missed come in during those times? If so, you may want to adjust your Do Not Disturb settings.

  6. To keep Do Not Disturb but allow calls from some people to get through no matter what, ​tap Allow Calls From and select groups of contacts.

Is the Caller Blocked?

If someone tells you they called you, but there's no sign of their call anywhere on your iPhone, maybe you've blocked their number. In iOS 7, Apple introduced blocking for phone calls, FaceTime calls, and text messages. To see whether the number that someone is trying to call you from is blocked on your phone:

  1. Tap Settings.

  2. Tap Phone.

  3. Tap Call Blocking & Identification (it's simply labeled Blocked on earlier versions of iOS).

    Three iOS screens showing Phone icon in Settings app, Call Blocking & Identification button, and list of blocked numbers
  4. On that screen, you'll see all of the phone numbers you have blocked. To unblock a number, tap Edit in the top right corner, tap the red circle to the left of the number, then tap Unblock.

    Three iOS screens showing Call Blocking & Identification Edit button, red

Is There a Problem With Your Ringtone?

If your iPhone still won't ring for incoming calls, it's worth checking your ringtone. If you have an iPhone custom ringtone assigned to contacts, a deleted or corrupted ringtone can cause your phone not to ring when someone calls. 

To address problems with ringtones, try these two things:

  1. Set a new default ringtone:

    1. Tap Settings.
    2. Tap Sounds & Haptics (or Sounds).
    3. Tap Ringtone.
    4. Choose a new ringtone. 
    Three iOS screens showing Sounds & Haptics, Ringtone, and Killer Queen (Chorus) ringtones in Settings app
  2. Check to see if the person whose calls you're missing has an individual ringtone assigned to them:

    1. Tap Phone.
    2. Tap Contacts.
    3. Find the person's name and tap it.
    4. Tap Edit in the top right corner.
    5. Check the Ringtone line and try assigning a new ringtone to them.
    Three iOS screens showing Contacts, Edit button and Ringtone area in Phone settings app
  3. If the unique ringtone seems to be the source of the problem, you’ll need to find all the contacts that had that ringtone assigned to them and select a new ringtone for each. It's tedious but necessary if you want to hear those calls as they come in.

Are You Stuck In Headphone Mode?

It could be that your iPhone actually is ringing, but that it's sending the audio to the wrong place. With this bug, your iPhone thinks headphones are plugged in, even though they aren't, and tries to send the ringing to them instead of the iPhone speaker. There are enough troubleshooting steps to this that we've got a full article covering it. If nothing else has worked yet, check out How to Fix iPhone Stuck in Headphone Mode.

Have You Restarted or Updated Your iPhone?

Before you give up, there are still two things you should try. First, restart your phone. You'd be surprised how many temporary glitches this process can fix. It's also a good idea to update your phone to the latest version of the operating system, if a new one is available. New OS versions bring bug fixes that could solve your problem. Learn how by reading How to Update iOS Wirelessly on the iPhone.

If None of This Fixed the Problem

If you've tried all of these tips and still aren't hearing your incoming calls, it's time to consult the experts. Make an appointment at the Apple Store and bring in your phone for inspection and, potentially, repair.