How to Tell if Someone’s Phone is Off or Dead?

On many occasions, people call someone, and then they hear different messages or sounds, and not all of them distinguish between a person’s phone that’s turned OFF and someone else who blocked their numbers or who has issues like cellular data coverage and others.

So, in this guide, we’ll be talking about the best ways to know if anyone’s phone is really dead. So it’s better to wait, then call back, or if the person you want to reach is not accessible because of other possible issues with his device or simply because they added you to the blocklist. In all cases, you still have the option to find additional contact information that the person has so that you can find them easily.

Check if their phone has been cut off or dead

By default, every smartphone that’s turned OFF will send some kind of data to the cellular network that it’s out of service or cut OFF, so the caller gets a clear message. That being said, we saw lots of users struggle to distinguish between a phone that’s turned OFF and another device that has no cellular coverage or even blocked the caller’s number.

For those who want to see if someone’s phone is turned off but without calling them, the status on texting Apps can help a lot; here is how, if the status shows online on WhatsApp or iMessage, then you know the answer, the device is connected to the Internet through mobile data or WiFi and so, the user is online.

If the status of the person is offline on Facebook or other similar messaging apps, and you can call him from another number or even using your main contact, then that person has turned off the chat for you, and it’s like blocking you from texting him.

When someone’s phone battery is fully drained, the device will be cut off as there is no more charge, so the device won’t tell the cellular tower it’s turned off. In this common situation, when you call that number, you’ll get a notification about coverage issues, things like “the number you’re calling is out of coverage right now,” and that’s accurate as there is no communication between the cellular network and the mobile phone.

To summarize, you can tell if the person’s phone you’re calling is switched OFF in the following situations:

  • The cellular network tells you that the device is turned off
  •  You call, and then you get a message like out of coverage, etc…
  •  The number you’re calling is not registered (or similar notifications)
  •  You send a message, but it’s not delivered (not always accurate if he/she blocked your number)

Now, in the following situations, the mobile phone should not be dead, and so the device is active and working.

  • If you hear one or more beeps, then you’ll be forwarded to the voicemail
  •  You hear the voicemail instantly
  •  There is a busy beep sound which means the number is occupied
  •  When you hear a busy line beep all the time, that means your number has been blocked

In this case, there could be possible problems with the smartphone itself; your number has been blocked, a Do Not Disturb mode is activated on the person’s iPhone, or even more, the caller has already added your contact number to his blocklist.

For iPhone

Sometimes, things may be easier to manage; for example, here is a simple way to tell if someone’s iPhone is Off or not using iMessage; first, decide whether or not you’re going to test this by sending a text message; if that’s okay, then, send any text.

If the iPhone device is turned Off, Apple servers will save that message and wait till the device is back again to receive it. However, a simple trick shows you if the text was delivered to the contact’s phone; just see if there is a “Delivered” notification under the text. If that’s what you see, then the device is turned ON. Otherwise, it’s dead or outside the cellular coverage range.

Checking if someone's iPhone is turned Off

For WhatsApp

Here is the simplest way to know if the person’s phone is switched off on WhatsApp when texting if you see two grey ticks, then the message was successfully delivered to the other end, and if the person sees the message, then the two ticks color will be blue this time.

We should also mention that if you see one grey tick when sending a message on WhatsApp, then the phone is not connected to the Internet, and that does not mean it’s 100% switched off as connection issues can cause it; Internet quota has been fully used, or WIFI is turned OFF.

Please note that it’s not possible in our tests to check if the smartphone is turned ON or not by calling someone through WhatsApp; the app may give a false ring even when the phone is switched OFF.

What about Airplane mode?

Here is what happens when someone puts his phone on Airplane mode, the device will simply act as if it’s out of coverage, and so it won’t receive any call or text message because the communication with the cellular tower is disabled.

The big issue is that you can’t tell if the phone is on Airplane mode or out of the coverage area, that’s because the two situations share the same things to notice or the exact message which tells the caller the number is out of coverage at that time. So, remember that if someone’s phone is on Airplane mode, you can’t reach him, and he can’t get your call or message without turning Off the feature on his device.

What to do if the phone is turned OFF?

Now, here is what you can do to reach someone when his phone is turned OFF, dead, or even out of coverage; first, make sure you try later, as that can be fixed when the person moves to a place where there is enough signal for cellular coverage.

On the other hand, if the person is indeed blocked your number, or even on messaging apps including Facebook, WhatsApp, iMessage, or others, or even if the line is busy all the time, then you have to get any other contact information the person owns by reversing lookup their main cell number, email address, or by searching for their name and home address through Google and similar search engines.

That saves a lot of time, especially in urgent situations when people need instant access to someone’s number if they changed that or have a second one.

As you can see, it’s not always accurate to verify if someone’s phone is turned off because you just didn’t see a “received” message notification on iPhone iMessage, WhatsApp, or other texting platforms; the reason for not getting your message can be only the Internet connection.

On the other side, it’s always better to make a call and listen to what you get as a beep or voicemail; that’s the best way to verify if anyone’s phone is working at that time of calling or not, and best of all, it works no matter if you use Android or iPhone.

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About Fathi Arfaoui

Fathi Arfaoui is a Physicist, Blogger and the founder of He shares Business, WordPress and Blogging tips to build a better blog and succeed online.

Disclosure: The recommendations on this page are my own based on my tests and analysis. We may earn a small commission from web hosts and other partners if you use my referral link to make a purchase. That’s what helps us to maintain the site and add fresh content, Thanks for your support.

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