The Wonder of Tech received the same question from two different people with different perspectives about the same problem. Both wondered why calls to iPhones ring for some callers but not for others. The same answer applies to both questions and may be helpful to readers who have similar issues.
Q1. I have a problem with my iPhone and no one knows the answer. You’re my last hope!
My iPhone doesn’t ring when I get phone calls. It’s as if I turned the ringer off, but I didn’t.
I’ve checked the volume of my ringer and made sure the ringer switch on the side of my iPhone is on, but I don’t hear a sound from my phone when someone calls. It’s really annoying, I missed a very important call yesterday because of this problem.
Can you fix this and tell me how to make my iPhone ring again?
Q2. My boyfriend and I are having a big issue. It involves tech so I’m hoping you can help.
I was complaining to my boyfriend (I’ll call him Ed) that he never answers his iPhone when I call him. He says it doesn’t ring and the call goes straight to voicemail.
So when we were together this weekend, I called Ed’s phone and, sure enough, the phone didn’t ring and the call went to voicemail. But right after that his best friend Pete called and the phone rang!
Could Ed have blocked my phone number? He swears he didn’t, but what else could explain my calls never going through while Pete’s calls ring just fine?
Is there another reason, other than Ed blocking me, why his phone doesn’t ring when I call? Please help!
A. The answer to both questions involves one of my favorite features of the iPhone, but one that can cause big problems: Do Not Disturb.
About Do Not Disturb
Do Not Disturb lets you easily silence calls, text messages, alerts and notifications on your iPhone. This feature is very useful at times when you want your phone to be silent, such as meetings, nighttime, movies, places of worship, theaters and more.
I first wrote about Do Not Disturb two years ago: Do Not Disturb – The iPhone Feature You Should Be Using. This handy feature can give you peace and peace of mind when needed.
Do Not Disturb can be more useful than turning your ringer off because the feature has a setting that allows calls from certain people to ring through. You can let calls come through from:
- your list of Favorite contacts and/or
- people who call repeatedly within three minutes.
How to Turn On Do Not Disturb
Do Not Disturb can be turned on automatically or manually.
You can schedule Do Not Disturb to automatically turn on at night and off in the morning so you don’t forget to turn it either on or off.
You can manually turn Do Not Disturb on and off via:
a) the Settings app Settings => Do Not Disturb => Switch on
b) Control Center — by swiping up from the bottom of the screen and tapping the moon icon.
[note]For more information about Control Center, check out 13 Super Shortcuts for Your iPhone – in Control Center [/note]
The Problem with Do Not Disturb
The problem with Do Not Disturb, as shown by the questions readers asked, is that people can turn it on accidentally. Many people don’t know about Do Not Disturb, but may turn it on when Control Center is open and don’t realize they’ve silenced their iPhone.
When people either don’t know about Do Not Disturb or don’t realize they turned it on, they don’t understand how to get their phones to start ringing again.
The problem is further complicated by the Do Not Disturb setting that allows some calls to go through, such as Favorites and people who call repeatedly. People can become confused about why some calls go through and others don’t.
In Question 2 above, the Wonder of Tech reader’s calls didn’t ring on Ed’s phone because Ed had probably turned on Do Not Disturb without realizing he did that. Pete’s calls did ring on Ed’s phone because either i) he is one of Ed’s Favorite contacts or ii) Pete called Ed repeatedly within three minutes.
How to Fix the Problem
Fortunately, the problem is easily fixed: check to see if the iPhone has Do Not Disturb turned on. Look at the top of the screen to see the Do Not Disturb moon icon.
If you can see the moon icon, then Do Not Disturb is on and should be turned off, assuming you want your phone to ring again.
If you cannot see the moon icon, Do Not Disturb still might be scheduled to turn on at a certain time of day. Do Not Disturb may be silencing your phone every day/night without you realizing it’s happening.
How to Turn Off Do Not Disturb
Swipe up from the bottom of your screen to open Control Center. If the Do Not Disturb moon icon is lit, tap it so it turns dark.
Open Settings, then tap Do Not Disturb. Make sure that Do Not Disturb is turned off and that you have not scheduled it to turn on during the day or night.
[tip] Also check to make sure your ringer volume is turned up and your ringer switch on the side of your iPhone is turned on. [/tip]
In Defense of Do Not Disturb
Do Not Disturb can be a very handy feature and can allow restful sleep and uninterrupted periods of time, if used properly. Take a few moments to schedule Do Not Disturb to turn on at night and off in the morning if you don’t want to be bothered by midnight calls from people dialing the wrong number.
=> Also check out How to Block Callers on Your iPhone in 2 Easy Steps!
Have you ever accidentally turned on Do Not Disturb? Have you ever wondered whether someone was blocking your calls? Do you use Do Not Disturb to silence your calls?
Share your thoughts with us in the Comments section below!
* Woman with phone image (edited) courtesy of Jehoots, via Pixabay and Creative Commons
Voice of America Learning English
Learn about tech and English at the same time with my weekly column at Voice of America Learning English. This weeks article is: Apps to Alert You of Disasters