When a phone call comes in, you may rush to grab your phone and answer it before the other side hangs up. However, even when you get to it on time, either the person has already hung up, there is dead silence, or some other issue. So how to fix it?
Fixing phone call issues on a phone normally involves narrowing down the cause of the call hanging up by testing the phone in a variety of situations such as by powering it down, booting in safe mode, reinstalling the software, and many other tricks.
Join me as we go through the most common causes and how you can address them easily by following this helpful guide.
Common Causes of a Phone Hanging Up
These issues can be local, with the phone itself, or a wider issue with the provision of telephony services, like a power outage.
Consider that it might be a signal issue, an inappropriately inserted SIM card, physical damage to the device or SIM card, as well as spam or unwanted nuisance calls.
It’s worth checking out the carrier that provides phone services to you, as it may be that settings are not correct on their end. For example, your account is not set up to use your phone, there is some localized service outage or billing-related blocks applied.
Common Solutions to Phone Issues
One of the first things you should try with any phone issue is to do a reboot. Hold down the power button on the phone and select an option like restart or reboot. This won’t clear any data and is a great fix for many temporary issues in the phone’s operating system.
If you suspect there may be some issues with installed apps or other software on the phone, check to see if your phone has a safe mode.
Google your phone model and safe mode to get specific instructions, but generally, you’ll need to press and hold the power button until the power option appears on the screen.
Now, press and hold the power option and you will then see a pop-up option showing Reboot to Safe Mode, you can scroll up and down with the volume keys and select using a single tap of the power button.
Once in safe mode, try making and receiving a few calls. If you now no longer experience any issues, it may be worth starting to uninstall apps that could be interfering with the operation of your phone, or even consider doing a fresh install.
Common causes of this type of issue can be Caller ID apps or similar, so get rid of these first. Antivirus apps can also have privacy or security settings that can cause calls to be blocked.
Go into settings and look for a software update option, or connect your phone to your computer to update via software such as iTunes. There may have been a software update that helps with the stability of calls.
It is possible to get themes or backgrounds on a phone, and these can mess with the phone’s UI or user interface. Try disabling any custom themes or button layouts, as these can mess with how the answer phone button is displayed or works.
If you’ve got themes on your phone, the chances are that you have also done jailbreaking or replaced the firmware on it too. These types of activities will often cause issues with the phone such as calls no longer working, and also void the warranty!
You can also try resetting any app preferences that are causing two apps to conflict, by opening up settings and then selecting System, look for Reset options, and then tap on Reset App Preferences.
Spam or Scam Calls
Another option is to consider that this is a spam call, and spam calls rely on you redialling the number and so will hang up as soon as you answer.
Spam calls are also known to call people automatically and then transfer someone who answers to a waiting operator. If there are no operators ready, your call gets dropped, only for your number to be called later.
Further, systems like this will remember when you answered and when you didn’t, and will only call during those times they think you will pick up. Robocalls like this are also mass dialing numbers to find active numbers.
SIM Card Issues
If you suspect issues with the SIM card, then it is worth getting the SIM out of the phone, cleaning it gently, and then reinserting.
Amazon has a 5-pack of SIM removal tools that work a treat for all the major phone brands.
Keep in mind that a SIM is generally only meant to fit in the SIM tray in one way, so don’t force it. Look carefully at the shape of the SIM tray and also keep an eye out for diagrams, as these will guide you how to insert it correctly.
Toggle Connections Off and On
It can be worth switching your mobile or cell connection off or on if the connection is bad. To do this, swipe down from the top of your screen to access the common apps like WiFi, Bluetooth, and power settings.
Look for an option like Mobile Data and disable it, then re-enable it so that it will connect again. If you can’t find this option, find Airplane mode in the same area (normally denoted by a symbol of a plane) and toggle this on and off, which will see your cell signal reconnect.
Some phones offer VOLTE, or voice-over LTE, to help improve the quality of calls by using the quicker LTE network to handle voice calls. In some situations, this may perform worse, so disable by going into settings, Connections, Mobile networks and then toggle it off.
Related to this, if you are on a prepaid card, this can mean you use up all your minutes and this may impact calls, although you should still be able to receive calls fine.
Sometimes toggling the speakerphone off and on when you take a call can help the call come through easier.
Clear Phone Cache
Clearing the cache from the phone can be a great way to help apps work again, and it is no different from the Phone app which handles calls. Open Settings on your phone and go to Apps & Notifications or Apps, and find all the preinstalled apps like Phone.
Open it up then find an option called Storage. Then, tap on Clear Cache. At this point, restart your phone and see if the issue persists.
If it is still hanging upon you, go back to the same location and tap on Clear Data or Clear Storage depending on the option available on your phone.
The option can have many names, so if the above instructions don’t work, consider going into settings then look for Device Care, then Memory/Storage and tap on Clean Now.
Physical Damage and Related Issues
If you have issues with the screen, such as from a previous drop or fall damage, this can cause the buttons to malfunction or swipes not work, meaning you can’t answer the call.
If you’re finding the soft answer button, the one that appears on your screen seems unresponsive then you can try setting it to a different hardwired button like the volume button.
Look for a category in settings called Accessibility or look under the Phone app itself. There should be an option for Answering and Ending Calls, that enables the required buttons such as the Home Button or Volume for answering calls.
Some phones use the metal rim or certain parts of the phone’s body to act as an antenna.
This was seen most infamously in the iPhone 4, where it would totally lose cell service if you held the phone in the normal way (leading to Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ advice to just not hold the phone that way).
If you have a large case to protect the phone, the thick rubber or metal parts may bridge or short the antenna, causing it to not function properly. Try removing the case and leave the phone on a flat surface and see if you can answer a call.
A failing battery or sensor in the phone can cause it to turn off randomly.
This is at a relatively higher risk during a call, as you’re more likely to block the sensor when putting the phone to your head or the increased power demands on the phone may push a weak battery over the edge. A faulty phone may turn off under these conditions.
At this point, your best bet is likely to perform a factory reset and then get the phone looked at by an official repairer.