The iPhone's Phone app is easily one of the most-used apps on Apple's smartphones, yet sometimes the Phone app freezes, keeps crashing, or just stops working properly. Such tech issues can prevent you from making phone calls to your contacts, receiving calls from friends and family, and even from hearing phone calls when they come in.
These tips for fixing the iPhone Phone app apply to all recent iPhone models and versions of iOS, including iOS 13, 12, and 11.
How iPhone Phone App Problems Appear
iPhone Phone app bugs can take various forms. Sometimes the app will refuse to open from the iPhone's home screen, while at other times the Phone app will continue to freeze and not respond.
Phone calls can also be affected, with the ability to make outgoing calls or receive incoming calls occasionally being disabled. The default or custom ringtones may also remain silent, and the actual appearance of the app may even look different.
Causes of iPhone Phone App Bugs
Bugs affecting the iOS Phone app are often caused by the phone service provider or a conflict caused by an app or operating system update. The incorrect settings being activated or deactivated can also be behind Phone app issues.
Fortunately, there are a number of fixes for such iPhone Phone app problems.
How to Fix iPhone Phone App Problems
If you're having problems with your iPhone phone app, there are a few things you can try to get it working again.
Close the iPhone Phone app. Whenever the iPhone Phone app freezes or stops working properly, quitting the app and opening it again can often fix the problem.
Simply switching to another app or returning to your iPhone's home screen won't close the Phone app. You need to swipe up on the screen to bring up all of your open apps and then drag the Phone app up to close it properly.
Restart your iPhone. Performing a restart can fix any bugs that are stopping the Phone app from working properly and can be a good solution for when your Phone app keeps crashing. This process can also correct any connection errors you may be having with your cellular provider.
Turn Airplane Mode off. If you've just seen a movie or have been flying, you may have forgotten to switch your iPhone's Airplane Mode off. If on, this feature will prevent anyone from calling you, and keep you from contacting others.
Switch Airplane Mode on and off again. If you're having trouble connecting to your mobile carrier, try turning Airplane Mode on, waiting 30 seconds, and then turning it off again. This will reset your connection.
Turn on Mobile Data. Swipe down from the top-right corner of your iPhone and check that the Mobile Data icon is green. If it's not, tap it to turn it on.
Check your Bluetooth devices. If you're having difficulty hearing phone calls, check all of your Bluetooth speakers and earphones, such as the Apple AirPods, to see if the calls are being diverted to them instead.
If this is indeed the case, you may want to try removing the devices from your iPhone or turning your iPhone's Bluetooth off entirely.
Are you using the right app? If you suspect that your iPhone Phone app is not working properly or notice that it suddenly looks different, check that you're actually using the correct app. Similar phone and messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Line, WeChat, and Messages have very similar green icons to the one used by the Phone app.
Did you pay your mobile bills? It's possible that you may have missed a payment and your mobile carrier has limited your call functionality on your iPhone. Call your provider from another phone or visit a branch to make sure that everything is okay with your account.
Check the Slide switch. On the left side of your iPhone is a switch that, when turned on, will completely silent phone calls and notifications. If the switch is orange, this means it's activated. Flick it upwards to turn if off. You should now be able to hear phone calls again on your iPhone.
This switch is often referred to as the Slide switch, hardware switch, or Mute switch, depending on who you ask.
Disable Do Not Disturb Mode. The Do Not Disturb setting has been known to be behind situations when the iPhone Phone app freezes.
Reset Network Settings. This can clear up any conflicting data that may be behind your broken iPhone Phone app.
Update your iPhone. In addition to adding new features and extra security enhancements, an iOS update can also fix bugs and glitches that have been detected by users and the developers.
Do you have a roaming plan? If you're traveling abroad and you're having trouble making a phone call from the iPhone Phone app, it's possible that you might not have global roaming enabled on your smartphone. It's also possible that your carrier may have forgotten to activate it for you so trying checking with them to see if they can spot a cause on their end or with your current plan.
Check your SIM card. If you've been using the same SIM card for a while, it may have finally been worn out and be in need of replacing.
Reset your iPhone. This will reset your iPhone to its factory settings and give you a fresh start.
Before resetting or restoring your iPhone, make a backup first. This will prevent almost all data loss.
Restore your iPhone. This should be considered a last resort as it can result in some data loss. If you've tried all of the other solutions on this list though, this is well worth trying and is usually effective in fixing a variety of iPhone problems.