What to do if Apple iPhone calls go straight to voicemail?

When your iPhone calls go straight to voicemail, it’s either because you’ve had configured your device to do so or something has triggered it to route all calls to voicemail even when they’re not supposed to. If you haven’t set your device to carry out such thing, then you’ve got a problem to solve.

Lined up below are possible solutions that you can use to rule out software-related factors that might have caused your calls to go straight to voicemail. Keep reading and feel free to try these subsequent solutions.

For iPhone owners who found our site while trying to find a solution, try to see if your phone is one of the devices we support. If it is, then visit the troubleshooting page for that device, browse through it to find issues that are similar with yours and feel free to use our solutions and workarounds. However, if you still need our help after that, then fill up our iPhone issues questionnaire and hit submit to contact us.

First solution: Quit and restart the Phone app.

This could be just among other random glitches with the Phone app. If that’s that case, then force closing the Phone app and restarting it will likely solve the problem. There are different ways to force quit apps on the iPhone and the steps vary between models.

On an iPhone 8, 8 Plus or earlier iPhones with a physical Home button, force closing an app is done through these steps:

  1. Double-press the Home button to view your most recently opened or used apps.
  2. Swipe left or right to navigate through the apps previews.
  3. Then swipe up on an app’s preview to close individual app.

If you’re using an iPhone X or later iPhones, follow these steps to force close background apps:

  1. Go to the Home screen to get started.
  2. Then swipe up from the bottom of the screen and then pause slightly in the middle.
  3. To close the app, swipe up on the app’s preview.

This method is only applicable if the phone app was previously and still suspended among other background apps.

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Second solution: Reboot your iPhone (soft reset).

Another simple solution to minor app errors and system glitches is a soft reset or iPhone reboot. It effectively clears out junk files including corrupted data that are stored as cache. Any associated symptoms are likewise remedied, allowing your device to operate normally again. The steps in performing a soft reset vary depending on which iPhone variant in use.

If you’re using an iPhone X, XS, XS Max, or XR, here’s how a soft reset or standard reboot is done:

  1. Press and hold the Side button and either Volume button until the Power off slider appears.
  2. Drag the slider to power off your iPhone completely.
  3. Then after 30 seconds, press the Side button again to turn your iPhone back on.

If you’re using an iPhone 8, 8 Plus, or earlier versions, follow these steps to reboot or soft reset the device:

  1. Press and hold the Top or Side button until the Power off slider appears.
  2. Drag the slider to power off the phone completely.
  3. After about 30 seconds, press and hold the Top or Side button again to turn the phone back on.

Allow your phone to finish booting up and then make a test call using other phone to see if the call is still routed straight to your voicemail or not anymore.

Third solution: Turn off Do Not Disturb or Do Not Disturb While Driving feature.

One of the new features introduced in iOS 11 was the Do Not Disturb While Driving feature. It’s a safety feature that works by muting incoming calls, texts, and notifications while you’re driving. While this feature is disabled by default, it may be enabled automatically when your device senses that your car is accelerating or when your iPhone connects to a car’s Bluetooth stereo. As a result, your incoming call alerts are automatically routed to voicemail. To make sure that this isn’t the cause of the problem, turn off Do Not Disturb to disable this feature on your iPhone.

  1. Tap Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Select Do Not Disturb.
  3. Scroll down to and tap on Do Not Disturb While Driving.
  4. Tap Activate and then set the option to Manual.

You can also add a shortcut icon for Do Not Disturb While Driving on the control center of your iPhone. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Go to the Home screen then tap on Settings.
  2. Tap Control Center.
  3. Select the option to Customize Controls.
  4. Tap the green plus sign (+) before Do Not Disturb While Driving to add its toggle to your Control center.

By doing so, you can immediately turn the feature off or on by tapping its icon on the Control Center.

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Fourth solution: Turn on Announce Calls feature on your iPhone.

Your iPhone has a feature that will help you not to miss an important call. This feature is called the Announce Calls. As the name implies, it audibly announce your calls by speaking the name of the contact or number if the incoming call comes from an unknown/unsaved contacts. In order to use this feature, it has to be enabled first on your phone. Some people who have encountered problems with their iPhone calls going straight to voicemail were able to find remedy by enabling this feature. If you wish to give it a try, then here’s how you configure your iPhone to announce calls:

  1. From the Home screen, tap on Settings.
  2. Tap Phone.
  3. Scroll down to Calls section and then tap Announce Calls.
  4. Then select Always from the given options.

Doing so will prompt your iPhone to audibly announce all of your calls. Give it a try and see if that solves the problem.

Fifth solution: Toggle Airplane Mode on and off.

Network-related errors can also cause the Phone app to encounter random flaws. And the easiest possible solution to these errors is the widely known Airplane Mode trick. It works by simultaneously disabling and re-enabling the phone’s wireless radios including Cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections. Surprisingly, performing this trick solves different types of network problems on the iPhone. To give it a try, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Settings-> Airplane Mode menu.
  2. Then toggle the Airplane Mode switch to turn ON. Doing so disables the phone’s wireless radios.
  3. While Airplane Mode is turned ON, reboot/soft reset your iPhone.
  4. Then head back to Settings-> Airplane Mode menu.
  5. Tap the Airplane Mode switch to turn it OFF again.

Allow your device to re-establish network connections and then use a different phone to place a test call to your iPhone and see if the call goes through. If the still goes straight to voicemail, then you’ve got to try other options.

Sixth solution: Update carrier settings on your iPhone.

Another way to address network-related issues is through carrier update. Like Apple, your carrier or network service provider also rolls out periodic updates to enhance network services and likewise to address existing problems affecting network functions. There are two types carrier updates pushed by your carrier and that include mandatory and optional update. Mandatory updates are automatically implemented while optional requires manual installation. The following steps will let you check new carrier updates that you can install manually on your iPhone:

  1. Go to the Home screen then tap on Settings.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Select About.

A notification will show up on the Carrier section if a new carrier update is available. Read and review the details then follow the onscreen instructions to update carrier settings on your iPhone.

Reboot your iPhone after updating to save the recent changes and to refresh the phone’s network system.

Seventh solution: Reset network settings on your iPhone.

If your calls are still going straight to your voicemail even after exhausting all prior solutions, then this could be due to some network settings errors like invalid configurations or incorrect network customization. To rule this out, resetting your iPhone’s network settings can help. This reset will erase your current network settings and then restores the default network configuration. This means the need for you to reconnect to your Wi-Fi network afterwards. Simply refer to these steps whenever you’re all set to proceed:

  1. Tap Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down and tap on Reset.
  4. Select the option to Reset network settings.
  5. Enter your device passcode when asked to continue.
  6. Then tap the option to confirm network settings reset.

When the reset is finished, your iPhone reboots automatically and then loads up the default network options. To use online services and web-based apps, turn on Wi-Fi and reconnect to your network. Place another test call using another phone and see if your call is now going through.

If your call goes straight to voicemail even after resetting the network settings, then it’s time to escalate the problem to your carrier. Contact your network service provider/carrier is imperative to determine if the something is wrong with the network system on their end. There might be some problems with your voicemail account or temporary network issues on their end that might have affected voicemail services. For other recommendations and more advanced solutions, you can escalate the problem to Apple Support. Do this if the problem started after installing an iOS update and it persisted. This could be a new iOS voicemail bug that requires a dedicated fix patch.

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