We’ve all been there – calling someone and having to sit through ring after ring waiting for them to pick up. It feels like an eternity before their voicemail finally kicks in. So exactly how many rings is normal before a call goes to voicemail?
—The number of rings before voicemail depends on the phone carrier and user settings. On average, cell phones ring 4-6 times over 15-30 seconds before diverting to voicemail. Landlines typically ring longer – often 6-10 times over 20-40 seconds. But ring patterns can vary.
Keep reading to understand the factors that determine your phone’s ring length and customize it to your needs.—
Ring Time for Cell Phones
For cellular networks, the standard ring time before voicemail is 4-6 rings or 15-30 seconds. However, default settings can vary:
- Verizon: Approximately 5 rings or 15-20 seconds before voicemail
- AT&T: Around 5-6 rings or 20-30 seconds typically
- T-Mobile: 4-5 rings is common, after about 20 seconds
- Sprint: 5-6 rings, going to voicemail after 25-30 seconds
—So in most cases, if your call reaches 6 rings and 30 seconds, it’s a good sign your party’s voicemail will pick up. But conditions like poor signal can shorten ring time.—
The major carriers let users customize when calls go to voicemail through account settings or dialing special codes. For example, T-Mobile customers can dial #662# to reduce rings to 2 or increase to 10.
Ring Time for Landlines
For traditional landline phones, 6-10 rings or 20-40 seconds is standard before switching to voicemail. However, timing varies by provider and location:
- AT&T: Approximately 6-8 rings before voicemail
- Verizon: Around 6-10 rings is common
- CenturyLink: Default is 6 rings or about 30 seconds
- Cox: 7-10 rings typically before voicemail
—So on a landline phone, letting it ring up to 10 times or 40 seconds before giving up is reasonable. More rings may occur in rural areas.—
Landline settings are also changeable. For example, with Verizon FiOS, you can log in online and set the rings to as few as 2 or as many as 20.
Factors Affecting Ring Length
A few key factors can alter the number of rings before voicemail:
- Phone location: Poor cell signal or network congestion can shorten ring time.
- User settings: People can customize ring length through provider menus or codes.
- Time of day: More rings may occur during off-peak hours with less network traffic.
- Voicemail capacity: A full voicemail box may trigger fewer rings and faster diversion.
- Provider policies: Carriers can adjust standard ring patterns at any time.
—The best way to know for sure is to test calling a contact a few times and track their average ring length.—
Customizing Your Voicemail Pickup
You can take control of your phone’s ring length before voicemail. Here are some options to consider:
For cell phones:
- Call your carrier support and request a change to ring time.
- Use special dialing codes – check with your provider for specifics.
- Download carrier voicemail apps to adjust settings.
- Call your phone company to change the ring pattern.
- Log into your online account portal and modify settings.
- Use telephone function codes – contact your provider for instructions.
—Setting your ring length for faster or longer pickup can help you avoid missing important calls before voicemail kicks in.—
The Bottom Line
When reaching someone’s voicemail, waiting through 4-6 rings (15-30 seconds) on a mobile phone or 6-10 rings (20-40 seconds) on a landline is typical. But many factors can increase or decrease this time frame. Check with your carrier and contacts’ settings when in doubt. With a few quick adjustments, you can take control of when calls reach your voicemail or keep ringing.