How To Know If Someone’s Phone Is Dead: Tips & Tricks

It’s often a worry when your family or friends don’t answer calls or texts for a long time. Your mind fears the worst, even though you know they probably just have a phone with a dead battery.

But is there a way to tell whether or not someone’s phone has a dead battery?

Thankfully, you will hear certain things on a phone call or by texting that indicate that someone’s phone is dead. This applies to an Android device and an Apple device, alike.

If you are trying to determine whether a friend or loved one is ignoring you — or else just has a dead phone — continue reading for some ways to find out.

How To Tell If a Phone Is Off or Dead

Here are some simple telltale signs of someone’s phone being dead or off.

  1. You hear a half ring or one ring before disconnecting

A half ring or a single ring is the most common thing you’d hear when you phone someone whose device is dead.

A phone rings continuously when not answered. However, if a cell phone is turned off on purpose or there’s no service, you’d hear the phone ring once, and you will be able to leave a voice message after the beep. You would also hear a half ring before it cuts.

If you have made many phone calls to the recipient, you may get the same message, or it may be cut automatically. Depending on the service provider, you would hear the following automated message when trying to call a dead phone:

  • The person you are trying to reach has no service/is out of coverage. Please try again later.
  • The mobile you are trying has been switched off. Please try again later.
  • You have reached the (person’s voicemail). Please leave a message or try again later.

These could all indicate that the phone may be dead. Alternatively, the phone may be powered off, regardless of whether or not a drained battery is at fault. They will see the missed call when they switch their phone on.

  1. Check their active status on Messaging or WhatsApp

You can check if someone’s phone is dead by checking when they were last active on social media apps like WhatsApp. Checking these other apps is especially useful if they are a frequent WhatsApp user, and their “last seen” status says hours since they’ve been online.

Long hours of being offline or prolonged inactivity usually mean the phone is dead.

However, you may not see this information as the recipient’s phone may be set to hide this information. If you have your privacy setting on not sharing your last seen, then you cannot see someone else’s. 

When you send them a message, you will see that only one tick will appear next to the message. This is usually another indicator of a dead phone. Let’s hope it’s not an emergency!

  1. Transfers you to a hunt group

This applies to corporate numbers. A hunt group is a special feature in a phone network with the function of distributing calls from one mobile number to a group of people in a company. Any available hunt group members will attend to your call. This is how you know that the main corporate number may be unavailable because the phone is dead.

  1. You may get the ‘not reachable’ tone

The ‘not reachable tone’ is a unique tone that carriers use when you’re trying to reach a dead phone. You may get this tone if someone’s phone is dead.

The tone is a beeping sound when you call them. You won’t hear any ring or another beep to leave a voicemail. Some carriers will send you a text message saying the person is unavailable.

Other providers may send a message when the other person’s phone is finally on. Instead of the tone, you may also be greeted with an automatic voice message saying that the person is unavailable or unreachable.

  1. Call forwarding

Call forwarding or diversion is a special feature that redirects a cell phone call to another mobile number where the person may be available. If the recipient has this function activated, it may result from a dead phone.

Not many people have call forwarding activated; however, it’s a helpful indicator. Before the call is forwarded, you will hear the call ring once; then, you can choose to forward it to the listed numbers.

  1. The telephone line will continue ringing

If you’re calling someone’s house phone, you will hear the phone line ringing continuously until the answering machine kicks in. It’s a little difficult to know if someone’s house phone is dead or off since they ring in any situation.

Can You Tell If Someone’s Phone Is Dead Through Texting?

Yes. Apart from phone calls, there are also some indicators through texting, especially if the person is an avid messager. For iPhone users, you can use the common messaging platform iMessage. 

iMessage texts are green (for Apple devices)

If you’ve been having a conversation with your friend or family for a while and you see the iMessage turn green, it means that their phone is off or dead. If you know that they are at home or out, and it’s not their service, then the phone is dead. If it stays blue, you may see a ‘not delivered’ notification below the message.

Messaging for Androids

If you send a text message that is not received, it will say ‘undelivered’ under the message. Some Androids will actually send you a notification saying that the message has not been delivered.

No instant reply

If your friend generally replies promptly to your messages and suddenly stops replying, it can indicate that the phone is dead. It’s not the best indicator, but it can be used in certain situations. For example, if you know they are not busy on the day and suddenly stop replying, the phone is probably dead.

Other Reasons Why Your Phone Calls Are Not Going Through

Instead of stressing yourself with the question, “is the phone dead, or am I blocked?”, read the below information to see other reasons you may not reach someone’s mobile phone.

Do not disturb (DND) mode

DND mode is available on both Apple and Android devices. This mode is customizable and is used to block distractions such as calls and texts when the person is busy with work, driving, or sleeping.

On the iPhone, DND mode is indicated by the small crescent-moon icon on the top. On an Android phone, it’s the same, with a large dark grey notification on the lock screen. When you call them the first time, it will not go through but will go through on the second try. How weird!

People who have their phone on DND mode will not see any notifications about incoming calls or text messages on their lock screen or from the top bar while using the phone.

Your call goes straight to voicemail

When you call someone whose phone is off, you can leave a message after a ring after a tone. However, if you call someone and the call goes to voicemail almost immediately, it could mean they sent you to voicemail.

Maybe they’re just ignoring you!

You’ve been blocked

All phones have a number-blocking feature, which allows individuals to block a cell phone number they don’t wish to receive messages or calls from. When someone blocks you, you cannot call or message them, as it always goes to voicemail or beeps continuously. While the messages will go through, the other person will not receive them.

You can check this by blocking your caller ID and calling the phone from a friend’s phone. If it goes through, then you’ve been blocked. This also applies to social media apps such as WhatsApp and Instagram.

Alternatively, just trying calling from someone else’s phone. If the call goes through on someone else’s phone, it might indicate that you are blocked.

Final Thoughts

The above factors are perfect ways to tell if someone’s phone is dead. It’s simple to pay attention to these patterns as well.