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How to fix an Apple iPhone XR that cannot receive phone calls, incoming call problems [Troubleshooting Guide]

Calling problems in mobile devices can occur due to several reasons. Network connectivity issues including outages, account-related issues, system errors, and hardware problems are generally the underlying causes. Thus working on each of these factors would be necessary when dealing with network problems.

Tackled in this post is a relevant issue on the new iPhone XR, which for some reasons cannot receive phone calls. Read on to find out what could have possibly barred the phone from receiving calls and what workarounds to try when resolving the underlying cause.

But before anything else, if you have another issue with your phone, drop by our troubleshooting page as we have already addressed hundreds of issues reported by the owners. Odds are that there are already existing solutions on our website or at least, there are similar problems we already fixed. So, try to find ones that are similar or related to your problem. If you need further assistance, however, feel free to contact us by filling up our iPhone issues questionnaire.

How to troubleshoot iPhone XR that can’t receive phone calls

Before troubleshooting, check and ensure that your iPhone is getting a good signal. If what you see in the status bar is No Service or Searching instead of signal bars, then it means that your iPhone isn’t receiving a signal from your network. In that case, incoming and outgoing calls aren’t working. Contact your network service provider to make sure that there’s no network outage. Also ensure that you’re using the phone within the network coverage area.

First solution: Toggle Airplane Mode on and off.

This old trick continues to do wonders and helps more and more iPhone owners when dealing with network-related problems. It works by giving a quick reboot on the phone’s wireless radios and thereby refreshes network functions and services. Hence you may as well consider it among the first workarounds to try on. Here’s how it works:

  1. Go to Settings-> Airplane Mode menu.
  2. Toggle the Airplane Mode switch to turn ON. This disables the phone’s wireless radios for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Cellular Data.
  3. While Airplane Mode is turned on, reboot/soft reset your iPhone XR. Simply turn the phone off for about 30 seconds and then turn on again.
  4. As soon as your phone boots up, head back to Settings-> Airplane mode menu.
  5. Then toggle the switch to turn Airplane Mode OFF again. Wireless features and services are then re-enabled.

Wait for your phone to re-establish network signal and connections then place a test call to your iPhone XR using a different device to see if it goes through.

Second solution: View and manage blocked contacts list on your iPhone XR.

If you’re only unable to receive phone calls from specific contacts but the rest are working just fine, then those contacts were probably blocked. To rule this out, check the phone’s block list for Phone, Messages, or FaceTime apps. Here’s how to access this information:

  1. From the Home screen, tap on Settings.
  2. Tap Phone or FaceTime, if the problem occurs with FaceTime calls.
  3. Tap Block. A list of numbers in the block list will then show up.

Make sure that the contact number you’re trying to call is not in the list. If necessary, unblock the contact number.

Third solution: Install the latest iOS update and carrier settings update on your phone.

Installing new updates to iOS or carrier settings can also be considered among the possible solutions to try. Widespread system errors affecting network-related services are usually addressed by an update containing the required fix patch.  

  • To check for new over-the-air (OTA) iOS updates, go to Settings-> General-> Software update menu.

An update notification should appear if a new iOS version is available. Before updating, back up all important files you saved on the phone memory to iCloud or iTunes. Then follow the onscreen instructions to Download and Install new update on your iPhone XR.

Aside from iOS update, also consider checking for new carrier settings update available for your device. Like iOS, carrier settings updates also contain fix patches to address prevalent issues affecting network-related services like incoming call failures affecting various iOS devices. Carrier settings updates are sometimes mandatory while others are optional. Mandatory updates are implemented on the device system automatically, otherwise they’re optional.

  • To check for available carrier settings update, go to Settings-> General-> About.

Stay on the About screen for a little while until an update screen appears then follow the onscreen instructions to update carrier settings on your iPhone XR.

Fourth solution: Reset network settings on your iPhone XR.

Complex network errors that may have affected incoming call functions of your phone are usually remedied by performing a network settings reset. This will reset and restore the phone’s network configurations and server settings to defaults, thus eliminating errors or invalid options. Just take note of your Wi-Fi passwords beforehand as they’ll also be erased in the process. Once you’re all set, refer to these steps to reset network settings:

  1. Tap Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down to and tap on Reset.
  4. Select Reset network settings from the given options.
  5. If prompted, enter your device passcode to continue.
  6. Then tap the option to confirm.

You will know when the reset is finished as your iPhone reboots by itself. As soon as it boots up, set up your Wi-Fi network and wait for your phone to establish network signal. Then use another phone to place a test call to your iPhone XR and see if it works now.

Fifth solution: Remove then reinstall the SIM card on your iPhone XR.

Network functions may also fail when the SIM card system crashes and goes rogue. Should this be the underlying cause of the problem, reinstalling the SIM card on your iPhone XR will likely rectify the glitches. So here’s what you may consider doing next:

  1. Turn off your iPhone completely.
  2. While our phone is turned off, insert the SIM eject tool into the tiny hole on the side. Doing so will pop the SIM tray out.
  3. When the SIM tray is ejected, remove the SIM card from the slot then scrutinize it for any visible signs of physical or liquid damage.
  4. If the SIM card looks fine, place it back into the card slot in the same manner before you removed it.
  5. Secure the card into the slot and then insert the SIM tray back into the phone.
  6. Push the SIM tray to lock it in place.

Then turn the phone back on and wait for it to establish network signal. Once the signal indicator stabilized, place a test call to your own number using a different phone and see if that call goes through.

Resorting to a factory reset or restoring iOS may also be regarded among the last-ditch solutions if the problem continues after exhausting all the aforementioned procedures. The underlying cause could be more complex that requires a full system reset and restore. But please note that these methods may likewise result to permanent data loss thus creating backups is recommended beforehand. An iOS reset and restore can be carried out through your iPhone settings or using iTunes on a computer.

Seek more help

If your iPhone XR still ended up having incoming call issues or unable to receive phone calls after applying all applicable workarounds, then you should already call your network service provider to report the issue. Verify and ensure that there isn’t any temporary network outage affecting network-related services, particularly incoming calls in your place. Also consider asking for new SIM card replacement if you suspect that the SIM card is at fault. And to rule out hardware damage, you can take your phone to an Apple-authorized service center and have it examined by an iPhone technician for hardware damage. Consider this a must-do if your iPhone started to have incoming call problems after it was accidentally dropped or exposed to liquid.

If the problem appears to be a post-update issue like when it instigated following an iOS update installation and then persisted, report the problem to Apple Support for further assistance and recommendations.

Connect with us

If you need more help with the use of certain functions and features of the Apple iPhone XR smartphone, feel free to visit our Tutorial Page. There you can find a list of how-to contents, step-by-step tutorials, as well as answers to FAQs regarding iPhone XR. If you have other concerns or encountered some troubles while using the phone, you can reach us through this form. Just be sure to tell us more details of the problem or device issue(s) you may have and we will be more than happy to assist you further.

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