Why Your Phone Drops Calls and How to Fix It

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Does your phone end incoming calls as soon as you answer them? Or at random times during a phone conversation? The problem could be poor cellular network reception, an outdated operating system, or problems with your SIM card.

This tutorial highlights 12 possible ways to end call abandonment issues for good. We cover troubleshooting fixes for Android and iOS devices.

1. Boost Cellular Network Reception

Poor cell signal strength is one of the main reasons why phones drop cell calls. Check your phone’s status bar and make sure there are at least two signal bars. If your phone has less than two signal bars, you’re probably far from the nearest cell tower.

The further you are from a cell tower, the weaker the cellular network reception on your phone. Temporary network congestion and extreme weather conditions (storms, heavy rain, wind) are other factors that affect network quality. Try moving around to get better cell reception. You may get better cellular reception on higher floors of a high-rise or multi-story building.

Physical obstacles (high-rise buildings, hills, and trees) can also block network signals and create dead zones, areas with no cellular signals. If your home or office is in a cellular dead zone, a signal booster might be a good investment. Cell phone signal boosters (also called “cellular repeaters”) maneuver around physical obstacles and amplify weak signals.

Note that cellular amplifiers only enhance weak signals. If your the carrier does not have cell service in your area, using a booster won’t make any difference.

2. Try the airplane mode trick

Insert and remove your phone airplane mode can stop call dropping problem.

On iOS devices, open the Settings app, activate Airplane modewait 30 seconds and turn it off.

On Android, go to Settings > Network & Internet > Advancedto light up Airplane modeand turn it off after 30 seconds.

3. Make your caller ID visible (on iPhone)

Depending on your carrier, hiding your caller ID may interfere with your device’s ability to receive incoming calls. If you eventually receive incoming calls, your phone may drop them. Check your phone settings and make sure your caller ID is visible.

On iPhone, go to Settings > Call > Show my caller ID and activate Show my caller ID.

4. Check your internet connection

Voice over Internet calls may continue to drop if your cellular or Wi-Fi connection is slow or you do not have Internet access. Test your connection and make sure your internet connection is working. Open your web browser, visit any website and monitor the page loading speed.

If your cellular connection is slow, refer to our tutorial on improving mobile data speed to fix your internet. If apps drop calls over a Wi-Fi connection, restart the router and reconnect your phone to the network. You should also learn other ways to boost Wi-Fi signal for faster internet. Contact your service provider if your connection remains slow or not functional.

5. Update date and time settings

Incorrect time and date settings can affect the performance of cellular services on your phone. Check your mobile device settings and make sure it is using the date and time provided by the network.

On Android, go to Settings > System > Date and hour and turn both on Use network-provided time and Use network-provided time zone.

For iOS devices, go to Settings > General > Date and hour and turn on Set automatically.

6. Check Carrier Settings Update

Cellular network providers often roll out carrier settings updates that address issues affecting phone calls and cellular services. Although most smartphones install these updates automatically, you may need to initiate the installation manually.

If you have an Android device, go to Settings > About the phone and wait for a carrier settings update popup. Some Android devices have the option to update carrier settings in Settings > Cellular network > Operator settings. Contact your smartphone manufacturer or network provider for detailed steps on installing carrier settings updates.

On an iPhone, go to Settings > General > On and wait at least 30 seconds.

Your phone has the latest carrier settings if you don’t get a prompt to install a new carrier settings update.

7. Reopen or update apps

Mobile apps sometimes perform poorly if they are outdated or full of bugs. If your internet connection is working fine, but the calling app keeps dropping calls, close and reopen the app.

If the problem persists, update the app to the latest version in your device’s app store. This should fix the problem, especially if the app is outdated or has a bug. Alternatively, contact the app developer if the voice or video calling app keeps dropping calls on your phone.

8. Remove and reinsert the SIM card

If your SIM card is not inserted correctly, your phone may have problems sending or receiving text messages and cell calls. A dirty or damaged SIM card can also interrupt cell phone signals on your phone.

Eject your SIM card and gently wipe the metal contact with a soft, dry, lint-free cloth. Also, spray a few bursts of compressed air into the SIM card port to dislodge dust and dirt. If you notice physical damage or significant scratches to your SIM card, contact your carrier network for a replacement.

Reinsert the SIM card into the port and check if that stabilizes cellular calls on your device. For dual SIM devices, try inserting the SIM card into a different port and check if that improves the call quality.

SIM cards have a lifespan. Cellular signal strength and reception may drop on older SIM cards, especially if they no longer receive carrier settings updates. If your SIM card is around 5-10 years old, you should probably buy a new one. Otherwise, you may experience mobile data rate and call issues.

Contact your operator’s network if you are unsure about the lifespan of your SIM card or the reception of your mobile phone in your area. Also, see other fixes when your sim card is not working.

9. Restart your phone

A system restart may resolve SIM card problems and call failures on ios and Android devices. If the problem persists after removing and reinserting your SIM card, turn off your phone and turn it back on.

10. Update your phone

Call dropping issue is prevalent on several models of Android and iOS devices. Interestingly, however, Apple and Google often release software updates that fix issues affecting cellular calls and other issues. For example, iOS 15.1.1 was released explicitly by Apple to “improve call drop performance on iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models”.

Update how your phone works if none of the above recommendations solve the problem.

Go to Settings > General > Software update and press Download and install to update your iPhone to the latest version of iOS.

To install an Android update, go to Settings > System > Advanced > System update and press Check for updates.

The steps for installing Android updates may vary depending on your Android smartphone model. Contact your phone manufacturer for detailed instructions on installing Android updates.

11. Reset Network Settings

Conflicting carrier or network settings can affect phone call performance on your smartphone. Resetting your device’s network settings to factory defaults may fix the call dropping issue.

Reset iPhone Network Settings

To reset network settings on iPhones running iOS 15 or later, go to Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone > Reset. To select Reset network settingsenter your iPhone passcode, then tap Reset network settings on validation.

If your iPhone is running iOS 14 or earlier, go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset network settings and enter your password.

Reset Android Network Settings

Open Android Settingsgo to Advanced > Reset options > Reset Wi-Fi, mobile and Bluetoothand touch Reset options.

12. Use Wi-Fi Calling

If your phone keeps dropping calls due to signal issues, try using Wi-Fi calling instead. This is a feature that lets you make phone calls without a cellular connection. When enabled, Wi-Fi Calling routes phone calls over the Internet.

You don’t need third-party apps to use Wi-Fi Calling. Connect your phone to a Wi-Fi network and you’re good to go. If your carrier’s network supports Wi-Fi calling, see our tutorial on using Wi-Fi to make calls. The post highlights everything you need to know about enabling and using Wi-Fi Calling on Android and iOS devices.

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