Tuesday Tip: Why your cell phone won’t ring—and how to fix it

Have you ever glanced at your phone screen and seen that you’ve a missed call—or three or seven? Argh! How did this happen? You didn’t even hear your phone ring. In fact, you’re quite sure it didn’t ring.

Before you trek back to the store to seek help from a phone genius, check the silent switch. Certain smartphone models have a small silent switch located on the top left side, just above the volume up/down buttons. It’s there so you can quickly turn off the ringer (and other alerts) and put your phone in vibrate-only mode—when you’re in a restaurant, say, or watching a film.

But it’s all too easy to move the switch to the off position by accident and miss incoming calls.

Here’s how it works. When the switch is pushed down, away from the screen, your phone is in silent mode and the switch shows orange. Onscreen, you’ll briefly see a bell icon with a line through it . When in silent mode, the alarms you set in the Clock app will still sound and calls from Favorite contacts will still ring. When the silent switch is up, toward the screen, the ringer is on. Onscreen, you’ll briefly see a bell icon .

So keep your eyes on the switch and your ears open. You’ll never miss a call by accident again.