iMessage Says Delivered But Calls Go to Voicemail

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iMessage is a messaging application that is unique to iPhone users. It offers additional functions than those found with typical SMS messaging services. One key difference between iMessage and standard SMS messaging is that iMessage can operate without the use of a phone service plan, instead of relying on an internet connection to send and receive messages.

iMessage comes preinstalled on all iPhones and is only able to send or receive messages from other iPhone users. Using iMessage, users can use the real-time delivery system to see when their message has been read and even when someone is currently typing to reply.

This feature is one of the biggest advantages over standard SMS messaging, as it provides a more engaging experience more akin to a chat room than regular text messaging.

That being said, if you find you have sent a message that has been confirmed as delivered but your calls are being forwarded to voicemail, it could an indication of a few different problems.

This detailed guide will walk you through many of the common issues people have that could cause an iMessage to display as delivered but when you call the person it was delivered to, you are sent to voicemail.

Why Does iMessage Say Delivered But Calls Go To Voicemail?

There are several reasons why you might find someone you have recently delivered a message to is sending your calls to voicemail. The “delivered” notification appears in your iMessages to notify you that your message has been successfully processed and sent to the user’s phone. This will be preceded by the “read” notification once the user has seen your message.

The delivery status of your message has no real bearing on how soon the recipient will read and respond to your message, just that it has been successfully sent to the number. If your message shows up as delivered, you can usually safely assume that the other person’s phone has service and is functioning normally.

Sometimes if you choose to call someone shortly after a message has been confirmed as delivered, you will be sent directly to voicemail.

This can be confusing, as typically a delivered notification indicates that the user is currently about to receive incoming calls. If you find that you are having this issue, the list below will help you break down and identify the cause of your problem.

1. They Are On Another Call

If the user you are trying to call is currently on the phone, this could cause you to be manually or automatically sent to voicemail. The user could simply be sending you to voicemail because they are currently already speaking to someone, indicating that you should call back later.

Being on the phone does not, however, affect the delivery success of messages. The user will likely have received your message and has sent you to voicemail because they are currently unavailable due to being on another call.

One way to determine if this is the cause of your problem is to pay attention to how long it takes before your call is sent to voicemail. If the phone rings a few times before being sent to voicemail, you are likely manually being forwarded, which could indicate that the user you are trying to call is currently on the phone.

If you are automatically sent to voicemail this could potentially indicate other issues that could be affecting your ability to make calls.

2. The Recipient’s iPhone is Turned Off, But They Are Being Delivered To Another Apple Device

iMessage is not dependent on any type of phone service provider to send and receive messages. You could be encountering being sent to voicemail after a message has been successfully delivered because the user currently has their phone off but has iMessage active on other devices.

This includes iMessage running on any tablet, another phone, or Mac that the user might have available to receive messages.

Your message will show as delivered as long as the recipient has a valid internet connection but without active phone service, you will not be able to call the user till they turn their phone back on.

A good way to determine if someone currently has their phone off is to count how many rings it takes before you are sent to voicemail. If there is only one ring or a partial ring, this could mean that their phone is currently not receiving calls due to being turned off.

Unfortunately, the only way to remedy this type of issue is to wait for the person’s phone to be turned back on. Then they will be able to see your message and it will reflect as read in iMessage.

3. They Switched Their Phone On After It Went To Voicemail and Before You Sent The iMessage

If you tried to call someone before sending a message that was marked as delivered, then the user you are trying to call could have only recently turned their phone back on. Anytime someone has their phone turned off you will be unable to call them until they turn it back on.

If the message were marked as delivered after you called, this could mean that they have just recently turned their phone back on, which would have caused your call to be forwarded to the automatic voice messaging system. Your message will still have been delivered and will update the status to “read” once the user has viewed your message.

If you believe this is the case, try calling back after confirming that your message has been delivered and see if they answer. If not, simply wait for them to reply to your message, as they are sure to see it because it has been confirmed as delivered.

Users will not be notified of a missed call while their phone is turned off unless you leave a voicemail, so it is important to call back if you need to talk to someone.

4. Recipient Has Seen Your Call And Immediately Declined It

One reason that you could be being forward to voicemail is simply that the person you are trying to call is busy or does not want to talk at the moment.

While you can often identify this by how quickly you are sent to voicemail, being manually forwarded usually takes more rings, you can sometimes be sent to voicemail automatically by the user if they are fast enough.

Another common reason for being forwarded to voicemail on iPhone is calling someone while they are holding their phone by its side. When you hold an iPhone this way and receive a call, you could accidentally press the side buttons on the phone, which will automatically decline a call.

No matter the reason that the recipient of the delivered message has chosen to forward your call to voicemail, the only solution in this situation is to wait until the person chooses to call you back or respond to your message.

Calling back over and over is typically not an effective strategy, as you will just be forwarded to voicemail every time that you do.

5. The Recipients iPhone is Not Connected to A Cellular or Wi-Fi Network

If you are trying to call someone who does not currently have a cellular plan that enables making and receiving phone calls, then you will find that all of the calls you try to make will be sent to voicemail. This does not mean that you cannot send messages, as they do not depend on a phone service provider to work.

This does however mean that users without an active phone connection will be unable to receive your call, automatically forwarding it to voicemail. If you notice persistent problems with a specific number you are trying to call forwarding all your calls to voicemail, it could be due to a lack of a proper cellular network.

If you suspect you are attempting to contact a user without a valid cellular or Wi-Fi connection, then there is little that you can do to remedy this. Until service is reinstated for the recipient of your delivered message, you will be unable to call them.

6. They Have Turned On Do Not Disturb

The Do Not Disturb feature on your iPhone will stop any incoming calls or iMessage notifications from appearing on your phone. This will remain in effect for as long as Do Not Disturb is enabled.

This is a great option for those who wish to stop any potential notifications at that moment, but still, wish to have access to their missed calls and messages. It is similar to turning your phone off but still gives the users access to other parts of their phone.

Messaging someone with Do Not Disturb enabled will still result in a delivered message notification, as they will receive it once they have disabled Do Not Disturb. You will find that if you try and call them though, you will be forwarded automatically to voicemail.

The only thing you can do if you wish to contact someone using the Do Not Disturb feature on their iPhone is to wait for them to disable the setting. Doing so will make them available for calls and also notify them of any messages that have been marked as delivered on your end.

7. Recipient Did Not Have Service When You Called But Regained It After You Sent The Message

If you are trying to contact someone who is currently experiencing service issues with their phone, this could cause you to be automatically sent to voicemail, as the call will not be able to complete due to lack of service. Service outages can happen intermittently, often resolving themselves on their own quite quickly.

Depending on how soon after you called the message was marked as delivered, it could mean that the recipient was simply passing through an area of low cell service and was unable to get your call. Any messages sent will still be marked as delivered and they will receive them whenever they get back in service range.

There is no real way to account for random service outages or slowdowns that could cause you to be sent to voicemail. If you find that your messages are being delivered correctly then you can rest assured that the recipient will see them whenever they get their phone service back.

Once the message has been marked as “read”, you can attempt to call them back, as this indicates working phone service.

Will iMessage Say Delivered If Phone is Off?

The iMessage “delivered” notification is only an indicator that your phone has successfully sent a message to another iPhone user. Whether or not the user is currently available for calls or messages is not considered.

Trying to send a message to a user whose phone is currently off will still result in a “delivered” notification, as long as there has been no problem processing and sending the message over.

While someone’s phone being off will ultimately affect the timeframe that your message is seen in, it will not stop your messages from being successfully delivered. It will keep you from making any phone calls to that person until their phone is turned back on.

If you have your phone turned off any calls that you receive will be automatically forwarded to voicemail. On iPhones, missed calls are not logged while the phone is off. The only way to check for calls that you might have missed while your phone was off is to hope they left a voicemail letting you know that they called.

Why Does iMessage Say Delivered But Phone is Off?

As previously mentioned, the recipient of a message marked as “delivered” in iMessage does not have to currently have their phone on for the message to be successful. The “delivered” status of a message simply indicates that there has been no error processing the message and it has been successfully sent.

How fast the message is seen and replied to will depend on the recipient. There is little you can do to influence factors involving delivered messages and recipients with their phones turned off. It can be frustrating to see a message stay on “delivered” for several hours, but it could be due to the person not currently having their phone turned on.

There are two main reasons that an iMessage will display as delivered even though you know the recipients’ phone is currently off. These reasons will be explained in detail below:

1. Their Phone Is Not Off

Sometimes a user’s phone could be simply experiencing bouts of low service or could be set to Do Not Disturb mode. When a phone does not have service, it will cause them to not be able to make phone calls or send messages that will be marked as “delivered. A phone set to Do Not Disturb will mimic a phone being off or out of service, also blocking calls and messages.

That being said, if you think that you are having your messages marked as delivered sent to a user with a phone that is currently off, it is a possibility that in actuality their phone is on, and another issue is causing the problem with your messages being delivered.

Give the recipient of these “delivered” messages some time to replay. Their phone might not be off, and they are simply taking longer than usual to get back to you. Or they could have their settings set to block any incoming calls and messages.

2. The Message Was Delivered To Another Device

One of iMessage’s biggest draws for users is the way it is seamlessly integrated into all other Apple technology. iMessage can be accessed on phones, tablets, smartwatches, and Macs.

There is a high likelihood that your message could have been delivered to one of these alternative devices and marked as delivered, even though the recipient’s phone is currently turned off.

This rich ecosystem of messaging technology helps users stay updated on their messages across all of their devices. You can generally expect Apple product users to own at least one additional device that they could use iMessage on.

Due to the amount of devices iMessage is currently available on, and the fact that it does not require internet to work, you can safely assume that your message will be delivered successfully whether the recipient has their phone turned off or not.

Ultimately, the success rate of a delivered message depends on the sender. As long as you are sending a message using a valid internet or mobile connection, your message will be delivered and will be seen as soon as the recipient gets back around their phone.

How to Fix iMessage Says Delivered But Call Goes To Voicemail

There are a few simple ways that you can remedy any problems you might be facing while using iMessage. Some of the most common fixes are listed below:

1. Restart Your iMessage App

Giving the iMessage application a chance to restart can help end any run-time errors that could be causing your messages to be displayed as “delivered” incorrectly. Generally, a restart of the application is a good first step toward troubleshooting any issue that you might encounter while using iMessage.

2. Check for Updates For Your Phone

Your iPhone depends on periodic updates to ensure that it functions properly. Using out-of-date software can cause problems with iMessage displaying the “delivered” notification erroneously. You should regularly check for updates and install them whenever they are available.

3. Use the Internet To Help Solve Your Problem

If you are experiencing any issues with your iPhone or iMessage specifically, then guides like the one you are currently reading can help you further identify and solve your problem. The internet is the single greatest resource for any troubleshooting that you might need to do concerning the iMessage application.

4. Contact Apple Support

If you find that you are having persistent issues while using iMessage and neither of the troubleshooting methods about fixing the problem, then you should consider contacting Apple Technical Support and having them further investigate your issue.

Once you have provided detailed error information, someone from Apple tech support will walk you through any potential fixes that you might have missed. This can be a great option for those who are experiencing significant functionality issues while using their iPhones.

It can be frustrating dealing with customer support on the phone, so be patient. The support team at Apple will do everything they can to address your issue.

Final Thoughts

This guide has covered many of the common reasons that your iMessage has been delivered but your call is being sent to voicemail. This issue can be frustrating when trying to get in touch with someone, so understanding more about the causes and potential fixes for this issue is important.

The iPhone is a landmark achievement in technology, and its specialized messaging application iMessage reflects that standard of quality and innovation. Since becoming such an integral part of people’s lives, it’s important to ensure that your iMessage app and delivery notifications are working correctly.

Keep in mind that the “delivered” status of a message only indicates that your phone was able to successfully process and sent the message using either your internet connection or phone service.

This does not indicate that the recipient has seen your message. When your message is seen will depend on many of the factors listed above.

The most accurate way to gauge if someone has actively received your message is to wait for additional status changes in the chat. When someone has read your message, the notification will change to “read”. After that, you will be able to see if someone is currently typing so you know that you will receive a reply soon.

Using the information provided in this guide, you now have all of the information you need to troubleshoot any potential issues that you might encounter when using the iMessage application on your iPhone.

David Johnson is a freelance writer with 9 years of experience writing for Techzillo and other established tech outlets like iMore. His focus and key interests are Apple and accessibility as well as consumer technology in general. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.

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