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How to fix "Call Failed" on your iPhone

In this instance, trying the same thing over and over may actually yield different results.
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Published onApril 17, 2023

Seeing a “Call Failed” message on your iPhone can be frustrating or even panic-inducing, given that some people reserve phone calls for their most important communications. When you encounter the error, there are a few reasons why it might be happening — and a few steps you can try to get things on track.

QUICK ANSWER

Try dialing again, either after waiting a while or travelling to a different area. If the call is too urgent, try flipping Airplane mode on and off in Control Center, restarting your iPhone, or doublechecking that you and/or the recipient aren't blocked. You might also try updating iOS or (as a last resort) resetting network settings.

How to fix “Call Failed” on your iPhone

apple iphone 14 pro laying

Typically the best thing to do is try calling again, and keep trying until you get through. The error normally translates into problems with a cellular network rather than your iPhone. Specific explanations could include everything from node failures to network congestion — regardless, you may need to wait until problems are resolved, or in the case of congestion, head somewhere with fewer people. If you’re in downtown Austin for SXSW, for example, you might have better luck a few miles away.

If you absolutely need to get through quickly and calling two or three times doesn’t succeed, there are a few troubleshooting steps you can try.

  • Flip Airplane mode on and off again in Control Center. This temporarily disables cellular and forces your iPhone to reconnect. Wait at least 10 seconds before switching it back off.
  • Check that the number you’re dialing isn’t blocked. It’s also possible that the recipient blocked you.
  • Restart your iPhone. If there’s a temporary software glitch, this may clear it up.
  • Update iOS if you haven’t done so in a while. Apple may have fixed related bugs.
  • Remove and reinstall your SIM card if it’s a physical one (not an eSIM). This is unlikely to help, but it at least rules out a possible cause.
  • Reset network settings. This should be avoided if possible, since you’ll wipe saved Wi-Fi logins and Bluetooth pairings.