WhatsApp: Call Declined vs. Call Not Answered?

Here’s the difference between “call declined” and “call not answered” on WhatsApp:

A message telling you that a call was declined means that someone on the other option specifically selected the “decline” option when they received the call. 

A message that the call was not answered tells you that they didn’t interact with the call at all.

Deliberate action is the primary difference at play.

So if you want to learn all about what’s the difference between “call declined” and “call not answered” on WhatsApp, then you’re in the right place.

Keep reading!

WhatsApp: Call Declined vs. Call Not Answered? (All Info)

What Does “Call Declined” Mean on WhatsApp?

Sad woman lying on the couch at home feeling bad looking at cellphone

“Call declined” is a specific message on WhatsApp telling you something important.

It means that the call was actively declined. 

If you call someone while their phone is off, you will not receive this message.

That’s because the “decline” button has to be tapped or swiped to trigger this message.

Direct action was taken to prevent the call from connecting.

This does not mean the action was deliberate.

There are plenty of reasons to decline a call, and there’s a good chance you’ve declined calls at some point. 

But, when WhatsApp tells you it was declined, the message holds meaningful information about the interaction.

Steps to Decline a Call

Man using his smartphone at a desk

If declining a call is all about taking action, then it might help to understand the steps.

If you call someone who is using an Android phone or iPhone, then the steps look pretty similar. 

If the phone is unlocked, they will receive a notification of the call with two options: answer or decline.

Either option is selected with a single tap, so someone has to tap the decline button in order to decline the call.

Note that it definitely can happen by accident.

Regardless, something has to touch the button in order to decline the call.

If the phone is locked, the interaction is a little different.

On Android, you have to swipe up on the option you pick, whether you are answering or declining.

For iPhones, you have to swipe right to answer or hit the power button twice to decline.

This adds more to the perspective of the idea of taking action to decline a call.

If someone is away from the phone, they can’t decline the call.

When you get this message, you know that they were present (or at least someone was present) when the call went through.

What Does “Call Not Answered” Mean on WhatsApp?

Worried businesswoman with eyeglasses holding smart phone

This is a substantially different message.

To trigger a call not answered message on WhatsApp, the person being called has to do nothing. 

After ringing for a while, a caller will give up, or the app will kill the connection.

In either case, the call ends without ever establishing a full connection.

More importantly, no action was taken by the person who was called.

They never chose either option that appeared on the phone, and that’s specifically what this message is telling you. 

We’ll go over the common reasons for this outcome in a moment, but it’s easy to imagine that the person wasn’t interacting with their phone when you placed the call.

Common Reasons Calls Aren’t Answered

Woman with a serious face checking her phone.

When a call isn’t answered, it gives you less information about the total interaction.

Since they did nothing, you have little to go on to understand why you weren’t connected.

But, you can think about common reasons that you don’t answer a call in order to infer the likely situation.

When you do, you might agree that in the majority of cases, it has to do with physical availability. 

People usually don’t take a phone into a shower, so they might miss your call.

If they’re in a different room or forgot to take the phone when they left the house, the same end result applies. 

You could say this for being asleep or any other scenario where a person is physically unable to answer the phone.

Outside of those scenarios, sometimes, people just don’t want to answer a phone call at a particular moment.

It happens.

All of this leads to a major point.

If a call isn’t answered, that message alone tells you very little about the why of it all, and that matters more when you’re trying to figure out if you have been blocked.

Which Do You See if You Have Been Blocked on WhatsApp?

Frustrated woman checking mobile phone sitting on the couch

A question that frequently comes up in this discussion is that of blocked contacts on WhatsApp.

If you’ve been blocked, what does it look like?

In most cases, you’ll get “call not answered” every time you place a call.

It’s possible to call a person who blocked you and get no message, but when you understand how it works, it makes sense.

With WhatsApp, when you block someone, you will receive no notifications of that person trying to contact you. 

Messages they send are never delivered, and when they try to call, you get no notification.

So, you never have a chance to take direct action in regard to the call.

This means that the caller very well could get a “call not answered” message.

It also means that you can’t decline the call.

So, the one thing you can take away from this is anyone who declines your call has not blocked you.


  • Theresa McDonough

    Tech entrepreneur and founder of Tech Medic, who has become a prominent advocate for the Right to Repair movement. She has testified before the US Federal Trade Commission and been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, helping influence change within the tech industry.