Why Do My Incoming Calls Go Straight to Voicemail on My iPhone? (Updated for iOS 14)

Are incoming phone calls going straight to voicemail without ringing on your iPhone? We'll walk you through several options to fix this issue so you don’t have to keep missing important calls.

* This post is part of iPhone Life's Tip of the Day newsletter. . *

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 and later, users can turn on a 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. Here's how to keep calls from going straight to voicemail on your iPhone.

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

What's in This Article:

How to Turn Off the Silence Unknown Callers Feature

The feature your iPhone uses to silence unknown calls 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 Callers off for a bit and then turn it back on after your phone call. To turn off Silence Unknown Callers, you'll need to go to the Phone menu in the Settings app. Here's how to turn off Silence Unknown Callers:

  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, which is the icon for the Do Not Disturb setting.

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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Author Details

Tamlin Day's picture

Author Details

Tamlin Day

Tamlin Day is a feature web writer for iPhone Life and a regular contributor to iPhone Life magazine. A prolific writer of tips, reviews, and in-depth guides, Tamlin has written hundreds of articles for iPhone Life. From iPhone settings to recommendations for the best iPhone-compatible gear to the latest Apple news, Tamlin's expertise covers a broad spectrum. 

Before joining iPhone Life, Tamlin received his BFA in Media & Communications as well as a BA in Graphic Design from Maharishi International University (MIU), where he edited MIU's literary journal, Meta-fore. With a passion for teaching, Tamlin has instructed young adults, college students, and adult learners on topics ranging from spoken word poetry to taking the perfect group selfie. Tamlin's first computer, a Radioshack Color Computer III, was given to him by his father. At 13, Tamlin built his first PC from spare parts. He is proud to put his passion for teaching and tech into practice as a writer and educator at iPhone Life.