How to fix an Apple iPhone XS that cannot make phone calls, call failed error, outgoing calls not working [Troubleshooting Guide]

There are many possible reasons as to why you cannot make calls on your iPhone. Among the usual triggers are network issues like when your phone has no service or no signal, incorrect settings, random bugs, bad updates, local outages, and account-related issues. There also some cases where calling functions aren’t working due to some damaged hardware/components from previous incidence of dropping or liquid exposure on the phone. In this case, your phone needs service.

On the other hand, calling problems that are tied to software errors and random bugs can be remedied at home by some workarounds. The methods outlined below are used to deal with the same problem on the new iPhone XS handset. Read further to figure out what to do in case you won’t be able to make phone calls or prompted with call failed error when placing outgoing calls on your new iPhone.

For owners who are looking for a solution to a different problem, drop by our troubleshooting page for we have already addressed some of the most common problems with this device. Browse through the page to find issues that are similar with yours and use the solutions we suggested. If they don’t work or if you need further assistance don’t hesitate to contact us by filling up our iPhone issues questionnaire.

How to troubleshoot iPhone XS that can’t make phone calls?

Before you begin troubleshooting, check and ensure that your account is in good standing and your outgoing services are in active status. Outgoing services won’t work if they’re temporarily disabled on your account. This is usually the case if you failed to pay some dues and your carrier imposed soft disconnection on your account. With this account status, you won’t be able to make calls and send text messages.

First solution: Turn Airplane Mode on and off then restart your iPhone XS.

A simple yet effective solution to network-related issues including calling problems on an iPhone is the old Airplane mode trick. It basically works by enabling Airplane mode to disable all wireless radios and network functions on the phone for a few seconds, restarting the device, and then turning Airplane mode again to re-enable wireless features on the phone. While this method isn’t listed among the recommended procedures on the Apple support page, many people found wonder from doing so. If you wish to try it too, then simply refer to these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app from Home.
  2. Select Airplane Mode.
  3. Toggle the Airplane Mode switch to enable the feature.
  4. Soft reset/restart your iPhone XS.
  5. Head back to Settings-> Airplane mode.
  6. Toggle the switch again to turn Airplane Mode off.

Do a test call afterwards to and see if the problem is fixed.

Second solution: Update carrier settings on your iPhone XS.

Carrier settings update are different from the updates released by Apple. These updates are comprised or small files that are programmed to keep the phone’s network services optimal and free from flaws. Some carrier settings updates are mandatory, which means that they’re automatically installed on the phone without you even knowing. Other updates on the other hand are optional, thus need to be installed manually. Carriers pushed regular carrier settings update, so you might as well consider checking on it. Here’s what you should do then:

  • Navigate to Settings-> General-> About section.

Stay on that page for a few seconds. If a new carrier settings update is available, you should see a new screen containing the update details and instructions to update carrier settings on your iPhone XS. Simply follow the onscreen prompts to install the update.

Third solution: Update phone software to the latest version available.

Software updates not only offer new features but also fix patches to address existing problems caused by random bugs. Should this be a problem with the Phone app that’s corrupted by software bugs, installing the latest software update can help. To check for, download, and install new iOS update on your iPhone XS wirelessly, follow these steps:

  1. Connect your iPhone to Wi-Fi internet, if not yet connected.
  2. Open the Settings app from Home.
  3. Tap General.
  4. Then tap Software Update.

A new screen containing the update information will show up if a new iOS version is available. Just refer to the onscreen prompts to proceed with iOS update download and installation. Reboot your iPhone when done updating to ensure that all new system changes are properly applied and likewise to refresh apps and phone memory.

Fourth solution: Reset network settings on your iPhone XS.

Another possible solution to try is a network settings reset. This wipes your phone’s current network configuration and then restores the default or original values. Invalid settings that might have caused outgoing calls to fail will therefore be cleared in the process. Here’s how it’s done:

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

An indication that the reset is finished is when your iPhone reboots by itself. Wait until it boots up and then you can start setting up necessary features including Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth connections on the phone. Don’t forget to place a test call to see if it’s working now.

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

A bad SIM card can also be the main reason why outgoing calls don’t work. The same thing can happen when the SIM card is dislodged/loose. To rule this out, try removing and reinstalling the SIM card on your iPhone XS. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Turn your iPhone off.
  2. While your phone is turned off, insert the SIM ejector into the small hole provided on the SIM card tray on the side of your phone.
  3. Gently push the SIM ejector until the tray pops out.
  4. Pull out the SIM card tray from the phone then remove the SIM card.
  5. Examine the card for any dirt or signs of damage. If there’s none, place the SIM card back into the SIM tray. Make sure the SIM card is placed in the same position before you removed it.
  6. When the SIM card is secured in place, push the SIM card tray back into the phone and make sure it’s locked.

By then you can turn your iPhone XS back on and see if the problem is fixed. If not, then time to escalate the problem for further assistance. If you just switched to a new SIM card, you may need to contact your carrier to provision the SIM card and activate your account services. You can also try switching between network bands available like from LTE to 4G or 3G network.

Seek more help

If none of these is able to solve the problem and you still cannot make phone calls on your iPhone XS, contact your network service provider/carrier to verify your account status and ensure that all your outgoing services are activated. Ensure that all your monthly bills are paid because some carrier systems are designed to automatically disable outgoing services for overdue accounts. Aside from account status, also have them check their system for any network outages that may be affecting outgoing call services in your place.

Meanwhile, if you’re only having trouble calling a specific contact, it’s also possible that the problem is on that contact’s end. Should this be the case, you’ve got nothing to fix on your device.

For further assistance and other options, contact Apple Support. Getting a new SIM card replacement can also be deemed among the last possible solutions.


Connect with us

If you need more help with the use of certain functions and features of the Apple iPhone XS 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 XS. 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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