iPhone Says User Busy – What Does It Mean & How to Fix?

By Kevin Shaw - Editor
3 Min Read

Yesterday, when I tried to call Moses Johnson a few times, I could not reach him and kept running into a message saying User Busy as you can see in the screenshot below. There are a few situations that may give a User Busy notification. In this article, I explain why this may occur and what you can do to fix this problem.

User busy screen on iPhone

While many of us would rather text these days, the truth is that there are many occasions when we need to make phone calls instead.

Whether you want to reach out to a family member, or simply want to talk to a friend, you’ll need your iPhone to place calls without a problem.

But what happens if your iPhone keep saying User Busy whenever you try to make a call?

There are several reasons why your iPhone might not complete a phone call, and instead give a User Busy notification.

When this happen, the other person calls will directly go to their voicemail.

If this is happening to you, you might have to go through a few different troubleshooting options.

Below are some reasons why this might be happening, and some solutions to fix the issue.

User Busy notification

This issue may occur for a few different reasons. It is likely that you are getting this message because the other person is on another call. This can include other phone calls, FaceTime calls, WhatsApp calls or similar. Simply wait a few minutes and try again. If your call goes through the next time, then there are no issues. However, if you keep getting this screen often, then this means there could be more serious issues. This may mean that there is a problem with one or more of the following:

  • Your iPhone or the recipient’s iPhone.
  • Your or the recipient’s cellular network.

How to fix

This issue may occur due to cellular issues, as call handling is processed by cellular carriers.

There are a few troubleshooting methods to try if you keep running into a message saying User Busy when you try to call someone on your iPhone. Here’s what to do:

  • You or your recipient may have been having carrier issues. Check these. All of these can be answered and addressed by contacting the cell service provider:
    • The network may have been temporarily overloaded and busy. For example, if you are calling someone on Thanksgiving day, this issue may occur.
    • You or the recipient may have local service outages. There may be some sort of maintenance.
    • You or the other person may be in an area with poor reception. Try looking at a coverage map from your provider to see if you have reliable service or test your service with another phone. If your coverage is very weak, go to another location and try again.
    • You or the recipient may have account issues, such as unpaid bills or other issues blocking your account from making or receiving calls.
    • There may be issues with the condition of the SIM card if you or the recipient are using physical cards. You can try removing the SIM card tray, adjusting the SIM card’s position so it’s sitting on the tray properly, and then insert the tray back into the phone. However, to be 100 percent sure the SIM card is the reason your calls are saying busy, contact your cellular provider and ask for a replacement.
  • There may be a carrier update. Check this and update if there is an update. To do this, on your iPhone, go to Settings > General >** About**. A popup will appear if there is an update.
  • Ensure that your iPhone is up to date. Go to **Settings **> **General **> Software Update.
  • If you are still having this issue, there may be a corrupt network setting. You may be able to fix this by resetting the network settings. This will erase all of your network settings. To do this, tap Settings > General > Transfer or Reset iPhone
    Reset >
    Reset Network Settings

Why your calls are sent to voicemail

Your iPhone might go straight to voicemail for a number of reasons. If the following circumstances exist on the other device, your calls will be sent to voicemail:

  • If the other person phone is in Airplane mode.
  • If the other person enabled Focus like Do Not Disturb mode
  • If the other person turned on Silence Unknown Caller and he or she has not saved your phone number as contact.
  • If the other person blocked your number.
  • If the other person’s phone is turned off.
  • If the other person is in an area with no cellular coverage.
By Kevin Shaw Editor
Kevin Shaw is a seasoned tech journalist based in Los Angeles with a penchant for all things Apple. He started writing about Apple products in 2007 and it's been a love affair ever since. He has spent over a decade testing and writing about iPhones, iPads, Macs, and other Apple products. In his spare time, he likes nothing more than catching up with the latest news and sports podcasts on the beach.
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