Apple iPhone SE Calling Issues: Cannot make/receive calls, Call failed error, Dropped calls [Troubleshooting Guide]

This post is addressed to those who are experiencing problems with the #Apple iPhone SE’s  (#iPhoneSE) calling function such as unable to make or receive phone calls, call failed error, dropped calls, and other relevant symptoms. It contains recommended workarounds, tricks and tips used to deal with calling problems on this iPhone variant. If you are having similar issues with the same handset and looking for potential fixes, then feel free to use to this content as your troubleshooting reference.


Making and receiving calls are among the key functions of any smartphone. That is why it is very annoying when problems occur especially when the call you are trying to make or waiting to get comes from a very important person. Nevertheless, before you get irate and give your network carrier a call, here are some helpful workarounds and potential solutions you can try on.

For those who have other issues with their iPhone SE, visit our troubleshooting page for we have already addressed many issues reported by our readers. Try to find problems that are similar with yours and use the solutions we suggested. If they don’t work or if you need more help, fill up our iPhone issues questionnaire and hit submit to contact us. Make sure you provide us with sufficient information about the problem so that we would know where to start.

Other relevant symptoms:

  • Dropping calls
  • Calls cutting off
  • Noisy background
  • Unable to hear caller or caller can’t hear you

What could have possibly caused your iPhone SE to encounter calling issues?

Before we jump to any of the suggested troubleshooting procedures below, let us first try to determine what could have possibly caused the problem to occur on your device. Knowing the possible causes as to why you cannot make or receive phone calls with your iPhone SE can help you diagnose and isolate the problem. And from that, you will be able to have an idea on what to do next so as to get it fixed on your end.

Among the most common reasons as to why you are having issues with calls on your iPhone would include a low signal strength, network outage, SIM card issues, software glitch, misconfigured settings, as well as hardware damage. One way to help you identify the underlying cause is to think of what has happened before the onset of the problem. So you might as well consider doing that right now and then proceed to trying any of the following workarounds, which you think most applicable to your situation.

Recommended Workarounds/Solutions to fix call failed error and other calling issues

Be sure to perform a test call after completing each of the following workarounds to see if the problem is fixed. Otherwise, proceed to the next available troubleshooting procedures.

Note: Settings and menu options may vary depending on the carrier and iOS version of your iPhone.

  1. Verify and ensure Airplane mode is disabled

Your iPhone’s Airplane mode feature when enabled can prevent your device from sending or receiving wireless transmission, resulting to calling problems. To make sure this is not the culprit, go to Settings-> Airplane mode. Toggle the switch to turn the feature off, if necessary.

  1. Check and ensure mobile data is enabled

Mobile data or cellular data is required for your iPhone calling functions to work properly. To check, go to Settings-> Cellular-> Cellular Data. Make sure the Cellular Data switch is turned on or enabled.

  1. Verify Date & Time settings are properly set

Incorrect date and time settings can also affect your iPhone’s calling functions. To eliminate this from the potential culprits, go to Settings-> General-> Date and Time, and then enable the option to Set Automatically. Make sure your iPhone is connected to Wi-Fi when you adjust this setting.

  1. Test to see if your iPhone is connected to your carrier’s network

You can use Safari browser to do so. Some apps and features of your iPhone require a data connection to function properly. To test, open Safari and then try to browse to any webpage.

If the data connection fails or your phone is unable to connect to the webpage, try to update the profile. After you update the data profile, test your iPhone to see if the issue is fixed. Otherwise, try the next troubleshooting method applicable to you.

  1. Restart your iPhone to fix call failed error on iPhone SE

Sometimes, a software glitch can also affect your iPhone’s calling function. And a highly recommended fix is a restart. Even if you’ve already done it, try to do it again this time. Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button on your iPhone for a few seconds until the red slider shows up. Move the slider to turn off your iPhone completely. Wait for at least 30 seconds and then turn it back on by pressing the same button until the Apple logo appears.

  1. Update carrier settings

If you are experiencing dropped calls, updating carrier settings can also help in fixing the problem.

Carrier settings are comprised of settings relevant to your carrier and Apple such as network, call, cellular data, hotspot, messaging, and voicemail.  To update carrier settings, connect your iPhone to the Internet (Wi-Fi), then go to Settings-> General-> About. On the About section, you will see a notification if an update is available. Just follow the onscreen instructions to proceed with carrier settings update.

  1. Remove and re-insert SIM card

Sometimes a bad or misplaced SIM card can inflict calling issues on your iPhone like dropped calls. Having said that, check your SIM card for any damages or scratches especially if you have been using it for a long time already. Follow these steps:

  • Use a paper clip or SIM eject tool to open the SIM tray.
  • Remove the SIM card.
  • Check the SIM card for possible damages. You can try to insert the SIM card to another compatible smartphone available and see if it works just fine. Or you can also try to insert another working SIM card to your iPhone.
  • If you see no traces of damage, re-insert the SIM card. Otherwise, contact your carrier and ask them for a SIM card replacement.
  • Turn on your iPhone and see if the problem is fixed.
  1. Update iOS

Software updates are usually created to fix any existing bugs including those that are causing calling issues on your iPhone. That is why keeping your iPhone software updated is highly recommended.

To check for available software update, go to Settings-> General-> Software Update. Make sure your iPhone is connected to the Internet and has enough battery power before you begin downloading and installing the latest iOS version available for your device.

  1. Contact your carrier

If the problem persists even after completing all the above procedures, contact your carrier for further assistance and recommendations. Also check for any on-going outages that may have affected calling services in your place.

Other Helpful Tricks

The following are user-recommended tricks used to deal with calling issues on the iPhone SE handset. It wouldn’t hurt if you give these a try.

Trick 1: Dial *#31#

  • Another helpful trick shared by some iPhone owners who have encountered calling issues, particularly the ones manifested with a call failed error is by dialling *#31# on their phone app screen. The explanation behind this trick is that the iPhone has hidden codes used to disable outgoing anonymity status. And one of these codes is the *#31#. So if by any chance you have unintentionally set your iPhone number to be hidden in all outgoing calls and is causing call failure every time you make or receive a phone call, you should try dialling this code. Alternatively, you can go to Settings-> Phone-> Show My Caller ID, and then make sure the button next to Show My Caller ID is green.

Trick 2: Switch from LTE to 3G Network.

  • LTE is the best option to get faster internet connection on your mobile phone. However, enabling this feature can also impact the battery life and other basic services such as voicemail, cellular data, text messages, and calls. To ensure this is not responsible for your iPhone to encounter call failed error, try to disable LTE and select 3G instead. To do so, navigate to your iPhone Settings-> Cellular-> Cellular Data option, tap Voice & Data and then select 3G from the given options.

Final Tip: If the calling problems started after you’ve accidentally dropped your iPhone or have it exposed to moisture, water, or other types of liquid, then most likely it’s triggered by a physical or liquid damage on the device. In this case, you may consider taking your iPhone to an Apple Genius bar for hardware damage check and/or repair.

Engage with us

If you have other issues with your Apple iPhone SE, we are always willing to help. Contact us through our iPhone issues questionnaire and provide us with all necessary information about your problem so we can find a solution to your issue.