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Android calls go straight to voicemail? Here's how you can try to fix it

Most likely some sort of software setting is getting in the way.
By
December 1, 2023

There might be few things more frustrating in the mobile universe than someone trying to reach you and being blocked through no fault of your own — it can even give the impression that you’re deliberately snubbing them. If your incoming Android calls are being dumped directly to voicemail, don’t panic — there are a number of things you can try to get live calls working again.

How to fix Android calls going straight to voicemail

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Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

There are several potential causes of this issue, so your best best is to run through the steps below in order, simply stopping when you come across one that works. For that reason we’ve saved any drastic or unusual options until the end.

  • Disable (or reconfigure) Android’s Do Not Disturb mode. When Do Not Disturb is active, it tends to direct most calls to voicemail, for obvious reasons — the last thing you’d want is waking up at 3AM to a telemarketing scam. Typically you should be able to toggle it off by swiping down from the top of your homescreen to reveal Quick Settings, but you can also adjust detailed options by going to Settings > Notifications > Do Not Disturb (or some variation of this). You’ll be able to modify scheduling, and allow specific contacts to reach you even when Do Not Disturb is on.
  • Scan your blocked numbers list. If you’ve blocked someone, whether intentionally or by accident, their calls are going to go straight to voicemail without any alerts on your end. Use the Contacts app to unblock callers you recognize and still want to talk to.
  • Change or disable call forwarding. This is more likely to prevent you from receiving calls at all, but it’s possible that you’ve set call forwarding to push to a number where you can check voicemail, but not hear a ring when the call is live. Try disabling the feature — or if you absolutely need it, make sure it’s pointed in the right direction.
  • Disable call barring, if it’s available. While you may not even see call barring in newer versions of Android, where it exists, the feature can be used to block incoming and/or outgoing calls wholesale, or just under certain conditions such as international roaming. Instructions for disabling barring may vary significantly based on your device, so the easiest approach is to search for “barring” by name in your Settings app.
  • Reset your network settings. Treat this one as a last resort. While it could solve issues if there’s some sort of miscommunication happening between your phone and your carrier, it’s going to cause your phone to forget stored networks and credentials. In more recent versions of Android, there is at least a Reset Mobile Network Settings option that will leave your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi pairings intact. If you’ve tried everything else on this list, follow our reset guide to get started.