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How to fix an Apple iPhone XR that cannot make phone calls, call failed error [Troubleshooting Guide]

Today’s smartphones generally offer more advanced features and various services but calling and texting remain among the core functions. That’s why it’s a big deal for many if calling and texting services aren’t working on their respective devices. But no matter how sophisticated and powerful a device is made, network problems can occur at some point. And should that happens, network-related services are likewise affected.

On the positive note, most of these problems are attributed to software errors and therefore can be handled at home. Highlighted below are recommended workarounds and potential solutions to a relevant issue on the new iPhone XR device, particularly with outgoing calls. Feel free to refer to these troubleshooting methods to fix call failed error on your iPhone XR.

Before we move on to our troubleshooting, if you are looking for a solution to a different issue, make sure you drop by our troubleshooting page as we’ve already addressed some of the most common problems reported by our readers. Find issues that are similar with yours and use the solutions we suggested. If you still need our help after that, then feel free to contact us by filling up our iPhone issues questionnaire.

Things to check before troubleshooting

Problems with outgoing calls aren’t always inflicted by software errors on the device. In fact, many smartphone owners who have had trouble making phone calls were able to solve the problem without performing a single troubleshooting method. Instead, all they did was checked on the following:

  • Account and service status. Network service providers/carriers usually disable outgoing services for problematic accounts. Account security issues as well as billing issues are usually the underlying causes. When outgoing services are disabled, making phone calls and sending of SMS/MMS messages wouldn’t be possible. To rule this out, contact your carrier to check and ensure that your account is in good standing and all outgoing services are active.
  • Network signal indicator (signal bars). It must have at least 2 stable bars for network-related services like incoming and outgoing calls to work. If your iPhone is getting weak or poor signal, there’s a higher chance to experience calling and texting issues. In that case, try moving to another location with better and stronger network signal. Staying away from network signal barriers like tall buildings, concrete walls, or any other places with signal interference.
  • Network outages. Other possible reasons as to why your device is getting poor network signal or no signal at all are network outages. Network outages can be a due to scheduled network system maintenance or unexpected technical difficulties on your network service provider’s end. When this happens, all you have to do is wait until the outage is gone and the network services resume.

If you still cannot make phone calls on your iPhone XR even if the network signal is good, account services are active, and no network outages, try performing any of the following solutions.

First solution: Toggle Airplane mode on and off.

Turning Airplane mode on and off is like restarting wireless features of your iPhone. And for some reasons, performing this trick effectively clears out random network connectivity issues including problems with Internet connection, SMS, MMS, and calling functions of the phone. If you wish to give it a try on your end, then here’s how it’s done:

  • Go to Settings-> Airplane Mode menu, then toggle the switch to turn the feature ON. This will enable all wireless radios including Wi-Fi and cellular data networks on the phone.

While Airplane mode enabled, soft reset or reboot your iPhone XR with these steps:

  1. Press and hold the Side/Power button and either Volume buttons simultaneously for a few seconds.
  2. Release the buttons when the Slide to Power Off command appears.
  3. Drag the power off slider to the right.
  4. After 30 seconds, press and hold the Power button or Side button again until the Apple logo appears.

A device reboot helps clear out errant cached files from the phone memory that may have halted the device from making phone calls. No need to create backups because this process won’t affect any saved data on the phone.

After the phone reboots, go back to Settings-> Airplane Mode menu, then tap the switch to turn Airplane Mode OFF again.

Airplane mode must be disabled for you to use Wi-Fi, cellular data and other wireless features of your phone.

Second solution: Install iOS update and carrier settings update available.

Keeping a device software up-to-date is recommended to ensure performance stability. Software updates also offer fix patches to get rid of any bug-inflicted issues on the phone.

To check for new iOS update on your iPhone XR, go to Settings-> General-> Software Update menu.

If an update is available, you should see the update details and other relevant information on the screen. Before you Download and Install the new update, back up all your important data for safekeeping. Then follow the onscreen instructions to instigate iOS update downloading and installation.

Aside from installing the latest iOS version, implementing the latest carrier settings update on your iPhone XR can also help fix problems affecting carrier’s network functions like outgoing calls. Some updates are mandatory, which means they’re automatically installed on your phone while others are optional.

To manually check for and install new carrier settings on your iPhone XR, go to Settings-> General-> About section.

Wait for a few seconds to view the carrier settings update information. If no update notification appears on the screen, it means that your carrier settings are up-to-date.

Restart your iPhone XR to apply the recent changes from the new updates then try making a phone call to see if it’s working fine already.

Third solution: Reset network settings on your iPhone XR.

Resetting the network settings on the phone may be the key to getting rid of the call failed errors if invalid network settings are to blame in the first place. This reset deletes your current network configurations and then restores the default network values on the phone. Any settings error will therefore be eliminated and associated problems are solved. Here’s how to reset network settings on your new iPhone XR:

  1. From the Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll to and then tap Reset.
  4. Select Reset network settings from the given options.
  5. Enter the correct passcode for your phone to continue.
  6. Then tap the option to confirm network settings reset.

Allow your phone to restart after the network settings reset. After it restarts, default network values are restored. Hence you will need to reconnect to your Wi-Fi network so you can use the Internet on your phone again.

Fourth solution: Remove and reinstall your SIM card.

Damaged and loose SIM card on the phone may also be the main reason why calling function failed to work on your iPhone XR. To clear this out, removing and reinstalling the SIM card can be considered a potential solution. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Before removing the SIM card, power off your device completely.
  2. While it’s turned off, insert the SIM ejector tool into the small hole on the card tray.
  3. Gently push the tool until the card tray ejects.
  4. Pull the card tray out from the phone then remove the SIM card from its slot.
  5. Examine the SIM card for any traces of liquid or physical damage. If there’s none, place the SIM card back into the card slot in the same position before you removed it.
  6. Be sure to install the SIM card in a way that securely fits in the card slot.
  7. Push the tray back into the phone then apply a little force to lock it in place.
  8. When the SIM tray is secured, you can turn your iPhone back on.

Wait for your phone to establish network signal. When the signal bars become stable, try placing a test call to see if the problem is fixed. Otherwise, consider trying other options.

What if call failed error persists on your iPhone XR?

The problem you’re dealing with could be more complicated than you think, hence couldn’t be resolved by prior solutions. Your iPhone XR may be having some fatal system errors that directly caused outgoing call issues. To deal with such problems, you may resort to a factory reset or perform an iOS restore through iTunes. Note that these methods will delete everything from your iPhone including customized settings, downloaded apps and other contents. In short, you will lose personal information from doing so. Should you wish to continue though, back up all your critical files to iCloud or iTunes for safekeeping.

Or you can also take your iPhone to the nearest Apple service center in your place for hardware assessments. The problem can likewise persists if hardware damage exist. In that case, your device needs service.

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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