I'm Missing Calls Because My iPhone Isn't Ringing. Help!

Fix your iPhone ringer with these tips

How to fix an iPhone that won't ring
image credit: JGI/Tom Grill/Blend Images/Getty Images

It can be confusing and frustrating to miss calls because your iPhone isn't ringing. There isn't a single reason why an iPhone stops ringing – but most of them are pretty easy to fix. Try these steps before concluding that your iPhone is broken and needs an expensive repair.

If you're not hearing your iPhone ringing, there are five possible culprits:

  1. A broken speaker
  2. Mute is turned on
  3. Do Not Disturb is turned on
  1. You've blocked the phone number
  2. A problem with your ringtone

Does Your Speaker Work?

The speaker at the bottom of your iPhone is used for every sound your phone makes. Whether that's playing music, watching movies, or hearing the ringtone for incoming calls, the speaker makes it all happen. If you're not hearing calls, your speaker could be broken.

Try playing some music or a YouTube video, and make sure to turn up the volume. If you're hearing audio fine, then that's not the problem. But if no sound comes out when it should, and you've got the volume up loud, it could be that you need to repair your iPhone's speaker.

Is Mute On?

It's always good to rule out the simple problems before diving into more complicated ones. In this case, you need to make sure that you haven't silenced your iPhone and forgotten to turn the ringer back on. There are two ways to check this:

  1. Check the mute switch on the side of your iPhone. Make sure that it's turned off (when it's turned on, you'll be able to see an orange line inside the switch).
  1. On your iPhone, go to Settings and tap Sounds (or Sounds & Haptics, depending on your model). Make sure the Ringer and Alerts slider isn't all the way to the left. If it is, move the slider to the right in order to turn up the volume.

Is Do Not Disturb On?

If those aren't the problem, it could be that you've enabled a setting that mutes phone calls: Do Not Disturb.

This is a great feature of the iPhone, introduced in iOS 6, that allows you to stop sounds from calls, texts, and notifications when you don't want to be bothered (while you're sleeping or in church, for instance). Do Not Disturb may be great, but it can also be tricky – because you can schedule it, you may forget that it's enabled. To check for Do Not Disturb:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Do Not Disturb.
  3. Check to see if either the Manual or Scheduled sliders are enabled.
  4. If the Manual is enabled, slide it to Off/white.
  5. If Scheduled is enabled, review the times Do Not Disturb is scheduled to be in use. Did the calls you missed come in during those times? If so, you may want to adjust your Do Not Disturb settings
  6. If you want to keep Do Not Disturb but allow calls from some people to get through no matter what, tap Allow Calls From and select groups of contacts.

Is the Caller Blocked?

If someone tells you they called you, but there's no sign of their call on your iPhone, maybe you've blocked their number. In iOS 7, Apple gave iPhone users the ability to block phone calls, FaceTime calls, and text messages. To see whether the number that someone is trying to call you from is blocked on your phone:

  1. Tap Settings.
  1. Tap Phone.
  2. Tap Call Blocking & Identification (it's simply Blocked on earlier versions of the iOS).

On that screen, you'll see all of the phone numbers you have blocked. If you want to unblock a number, tap Edit in the top right corner, tap the red circle to the left of the number, and then tap Unblock.

Is There a Problem With Your Ringtone?

If your problem still isn't solved, it's worth checking your ringtone. If you have an iPhone custom ringtone assigned to contacts, a deleted or corrupted ringtone can cause your phone not to ring when someone calls. 

To address problems with ringtones, try these two things:

1. Setting a new default ringtone. Here's how:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Sounds (or Sounds & Haptics).
  3. Tap Ringtone.
  4. Choose a new ringtone. 

2. You should also check to see if the person whose calls you're missing has an individual ringtone assigned to them. To do this:

  1. Tap Phone.
  2. Tap Contacts.
  3. Find the person's name and tap it.
  4. Tap Edit in the top right corner.
  5. Check the Ringtone line and try assigning a new ringtone to them.

If the unique ringtone seems to be the source of the problem, you’ll need to find all the contacts that had that ringtone assigned to them and select a new ringtone for each. It's tedious but necessary if you want to hear those calls as they come in.

If None of This Fixed the Problem

If you've tried all of these tips and still aren't hearing your incoming calls, it's time to consult the experts. Make an appointment at the Apple Store and bring in your phone for inspection and, potentially, repair.