Why Do My Incoming Calls Go Straight to Voicemail?

If you're frustrated by missing important phone calls that are sent straight to voicemail, then you might have a settings issue. With iOS 13, users can turn on a new feature that blocks unknown callers to prevent harassing robocalls. Unfortunately, privacy settings like Do Not Disturb or Silence Unknown Callers are problematic when you're waiting for a call from a number outside your contact list. Luckily, there are few tricks you can use to maintain your privacy without sending important calls straight to voicemail.

Related: How to Report & Block Spam Text Messages on the iPhone

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How to Turn Off the Block Unknown Calls Feature

The block unknown numbers feature can't distinguish between an unknown number that's a robocall and an unknown number that's your pharmacy calling about a refill, and that can lead to important missed calls. If you know when to expect an unknown caller, you could turn Silence Unknown Calls off for a bit and then turn it back on after your phone call. To turn off Silence Unknown Calls, you'll need to go to the Phone menu in the Settings app. Here's how to turn off Silence Unknown Calls:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and then tap Phone.
  3. Toggle Silence Unknown Callers to off.

    toggle Block Unknown Callers to off

Add New Numbers to Your Contact List

If you know the name and number of the incoming call, you could create a new contact so that the number isn't silenced The option to create a new contact is in the Phone app under the Contacts tab. Here's how to add a number as a contact:

  1. Open the Phone app.
  2. Tap the plus icon in the top right corner.


     
  3. Enter the name of the person or company.
  4. Tap Add Phone and enter the number.
  5. When you're finished, tap Done.

Now, when someone calls you from that number, it won't be blocked by the Silence Unknown Calls feature.

Turn Off Do Not Disturb

It sounds simple, but it's easy to forget that Do Not Disturb directs all your calls to voicemail. A crescent moon icon on the top of your iPhone's screen indicates that your iPhone is in Do Not Disturb mode. Here's how to quickly disengage the Do Not Disturb feature:

  1. Open the Control Center.
  2. Tap the crescent moon button.

Now, you should receive all incoming calls. If you have Silence Unknown Callers turned on, any unknown numbers will still go straight to voicemail.

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Tamlin Day's picture

Tamlin Day is a feature web writer at iPhone Life. He has a degree in Media and Communications from Maharishi University of Management and his work has been published in the Rio Review and Breathe Free Press.