How to fix an Apple iPhone XR that cannot make phone calls, outgoing calls not working

Calling problems in smartphones are usually attributed to network errors like temporary outages or unexpected technical problems on the network base. Other cases are tied to account problems from unsettled bills or account security issues. Software-related factors would include incorrect settings, bad updates, as well as rogue apps. The worst possible cause is hardware damage.

Highlighted in this post are recommended solutions to deal with outgoing calls problem on the iPhone XR that are attributed to the software. Read further and learn what to do if all of a sudden, your new iPhone is unable to make phone calls.

Now, before anything else, if you have other issues with your phone, make sure you drop by our troubleshooting page for we have already provided solutions to hundreds of problems reported by our readers. Odds are that we may have already provided a solution to the problem you currently have so try to find issues that are similar with yours on that page and feel free to use the solutions we suggested. If they don’t work or if you need further assistance, fill up our iPhone issues questionnaire and hit submit to contact us.

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

Before troubleshooting software errors on your iPhone XR that caused outgoing call failure, verify and ensure that your account status is good and your outgoing services are all active. If everything is good with your account and service status, then you can start applying the following solutions to determine and solve the underlying cause.

Don’t forget to place a test call after performing each method to determine if the problem is solved or not. Proceed to the next applicable solution, if needed.

First solution: Force close Phone app then restart your iPhone XR.

For first and random instances, minor glitches on the Phone app are likely to blame. To fix the problem quitting the phone app and performing a soft reset or iPhone restart is among the first recommended solutions to try. Here’s how to force close the Phone app on your iPhone XR:

  1. From the Home screen, swipe your finger up and then pause.
  2. Swipe right or left to navigate through apps previews and find Phone.
  3. Then swipe up on the Phone app preview to force close it.

Also quit any other background apps to prevent any of them from causing conflict with the Phone app whenever they crash or become corrupted.

After quitting the Phone app and other background apps, restart/soft reset your iPhone XR to dump cached files and broken data segments from the phone memory. Here’s how it’s done:

  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/Side button again until the phone reboots.

Allow your device to finish booting up and then launch the Phone/dialer app to place a test call and see if it’s already working.

Second solution: Toggle Airplane Mode on and off.

This old trick can also help get rid of minor errors affecting the phone’s wireless radios including Cellular feature. It works by restarting and refreshing wireless network functions on the phone. If you wish to try your luck in this tweak, then follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to your iPhone Settings-> Airplane Mode menu.
  2. Then toggle the Airplane mode switch to turn the feature ON. This disables all wireless radios on the phone.
  3. While Airplane mode is enabled, soft reset or turn your iPhone XR off and on again.
  4. Then head back to Settings-> Airplane Mode menu.
  5. Toggle the Airplane mode switch to turn the feature OFF to enable wireless radios on the phone again.

Retry placing a test call to your other phone and to see if the problem is fixed. If not, then continue to troubleshoot and try carrying out software resets.

Third solution: Reset network settings on your iPhone XR.

Network-related errors that could not be remedied by system restart are usually remedied by performing a network settings reset. This will erase all current network settings and options that were set on the phone and then restore the default network configurations. Here’s how it’s done:

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

After the reset, your iPhone should reboot. Wait until the phone is finished booting up and then re-establish network signal. Once the signal gets stable again, place a test call again to see if outgoing calls are now working.

Fourth solution: Update iOS and carrier settings on your iPhone XR.

Bug-inflicted problems with outgoing calls can also be remedied by installing a new update to iOS and/or carrier settings. New updates not only bring new features and enhanced functions but also offer fix patches to clear any bugs that caused troubles on the phone app and other relevant services. If your iPhone can access the Internet through Wi-Fi, then you can check for OTA (over-the-air) software updates to download and install.

  • To check for new iOS update, go to Settings-> General-> Software Update menu.

If a new iOS version is available, you will see an update notification highlighting the update details and other relevant information. Back up all your important files for safekeeping then follow the onscreen instructions to instigate iOS download and installation.

Aside from software update, installing the latest carrier settings update on the phone can also help get rid of network-related troubles including outgoing call failures. Carrier settings updates usually contain network service enhancement and fixes for existing errors affecting the phone’s network functions.

  • To check for carrier settings update, go to Settings-> General -> About menu. Then scroll to and tap on Carrier.

Refer to the onscreen commands to download and install new carrier settings on your iPhone XR. After updating iOS and carrier settings, reboot your iPhone to apply the recent changes and to refresh the system.

Fifth solution: Reinstall your SIM card.

SIM card issues like corrupted SIM, dislodged or loose SIM card on the SIM tray can also cause the same problem. The easiest possible solution to this is to reinstall the SIM card on your phone. This means removing the SIM card from the phone and then placing it back. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Turn off your iPhone completely.
  2. While your phone is turned off, insert the SIM eject tool into the small hole on the SIM card tray located on the side of your iPhone.
  3. Gently push the SIM eject tool until the SIM tray protrudes.
  4. Pull the tray out then remove the SIM card.
  5. Examine the SIM card for any visible signs of damage like scratches or liquid traces.
  6. If the SIM card looks fine, place it back into the card tray in the same placement before you removed it.
  7. Secure the card into the slot then push the SIM tray back into the phone.
  8. Lock the tray then turn the phone back on.

Wait until network signal is established and then try placing a test phone call to your other device and see if it’s already working.

Other options

  • Restore your iPhone XR. You may opt to troubleshoot further to rule out major system errors from the underlying cause. At this point, try restoring your iPhone in recovery mode through iTunes. If that don’t work either, then the last-ditch solution you can try would be a DFU mode restore.
  • New SIM card replacement. If you suspect that the SIM card is damaged, contact your network service provider or carrier and ask if you can avail for new SIM card replacement.
  • Service/iPhone repair. To rule out physical or liquid damage, you can also take your device to the nearest Apple Genius bar in your place and ask an iPhone technician to examine your phone.


I hope that this how-to post has helped you one way or another. Please help us spread the word by sharing this post to your friends or people who may also have similar problems. Thanks for reading!

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