March 19, 2018

Setting the Ring Time

Filed under: Main — Tags: — admin @ 12:01 am

I remember having landline phones long before cell phones became popular. If you phoned someone, you could just let it ring and ring. Like when you knew Grandpa was out in the yard and it would take him a while to get in the house and answer. Yet, with today’s smartphones, if you don’t answer after a few rings, the call is sent to voicemail. Can that duration be changed?

A reader recently asked me that question, one that I hadn’t considered. He keeps his phone in another room and often misses a call because he doesn’t get there in time. Of course, I keep my phone with me, so if I miss a call it’s because I forget to un-mute the ringtone. Still, his question made me wonder, why is a specific ring duration set and can you change it?

The ring duration, or the time the phone rings before the call is forwarded is set by your carrier. For most US carriers the time is about 30 seconds, though it can be adjusted up or down in 5-second increments.

This link to Lifehacker describes how to reset the duration. For AT&T and T-Mobile, you can type in special dialing codes to change the time. For Verizon, you must phone their tech support and have the value changed. Regardless, the maximum duration seems to be only 40 seconds. I’m not sure how it works in other countries.

By the way, unanswered calls on a smartphone are always forwarded. The setting is accessed from the Phone or Dialer app. You can choose a specific number to forward, which is typically your carrier’s voicemail service. I forward my unanswered calls to Google Voice. Or, I suppose, you could set no forwarding number, in which case the call just drops.

And if you’re missing phone calls, remember that you can keep the phone with you! I use a belt clip because I don’t like my car keys scratching the phone’s glass in my pocket. But whether you use a belt clip, stick the phone in your pocket or purse, keeping it with you and setting the ringtone sound and volume properly should ensure that you seldom miss a call.


  1. Might have to give that a go, I tend to my phone to charge and inevitably have to do something else in another room…

    Comment by glennp — March 24, 2018 @ 5:16 am

  2. The other side I experienced yesterday: I was on a call and I wanted to dismiss the incoming call. You can do that on my carrier (Verizon), but the phone still vibrates for the incoming call while you’re on the line. It’s annoying. And I had to put up with it for 30 seconds.

    Yeah, I know: Bitch, bitch, bitch….

    Comment by admin — March 24, 2018 @ 7:23 am

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