What Does Suspending A Phone Do?(Most Important Facts)

Phones are an essential part of our modern lives, but what happens when a phone is suspended and for what reason might a phone be suspended?

When you suspend your phone, it is essentially cut off from cellular service. As such, a suspended phone cannot make calls or send/receive text messages. Phones with built-in Wi-Fi can still access the internet through any kind of Wi-Fi network. For example, Facebook Messenger is capable of making calls through Wi-Fi, so this kind of third-party system still works on a suspended phone.

The rest of this article will dive deep into the various reasons that phones are suspended, along with what exactly happens when phones are suspended.

Can You Temporarily Deactivate a Phone?

As the owner of the phone, you are more than capable of suspending your own phone’s service temporarily.

Companies offer this service it in different ways, but the gist of it will look the same.

  1. Go to Settings and navigate to your provider settings.
  2. Select the Suspend Device option and select a reason for suspension.
  3. Select Suspend and follow the prompts to suspend service on your device.

Some providers also offer a way to do this through an app, such as the MyVerizon app.

Keep in mind that if you do suspend your phone, you’ll need to contact your provider to reactivate it again.

People choose to do this for several reasons, but one common reason is when you don’t foresee that you’ll be using your device’s internet services.

Maybe you’re traveling and vacationing in an area where you know you won’t have service.

Whatever the case, providers offer reduced rates for a period of time.

If your phone is lost, or you are preparing for military deployment, providers will offer a no-billing suspension for as long as the phone is suspended.

Are There Any Benefits in Suspending a Phone?

The nice thing about voluntarily suspending your phone is that you can save some money for a few months.

Since you’re not using any data by making calls or sending texts, providers offer a reduced-rate billing for several months.

Keep in mind that this kind of suspension is only temporary, and if a phone is suspended too long, your rate will return to full pay.

Another benefit of suspending your phone is to lock it if it gets lost to prevent thieves from accessing your data.

iPhones in particular have this feature down to a science, with their Mark as Lost feature.

This feature suspends the phone entirely by denying cell service to the device and locking it with a remote passkey.

You can also display your contact information on the phone so that passers-by can contact you to return the phone.

How Long Can You Suspend Your Phone for?

Different providers vary in how long they allow you to suspend your phone for various reasons, but in general, if a phone is suspended for longer than three consecutive months, your provider will discontinue service.

Additionally, according to Verizon’s Terms of Service, if a line is suspended for more than 180 total days in a 12-month billing period, they will disconnect the line.

If you’re reporting your phone lost and stolen, the without-billing period will last for about one month.

Again, each provider varies, so if you’re concerned about how long your phone has been suspended and don’t want it to be permanently removed, check your provider’s website for details on what they offer.

Can You Still Text When Your Phone is Suspended?

While you can’t use your phone’s built-in messaging service to text people, anything that uses a Wi-Fi connection is fair game.

That means that if you download any kind of instant messaging app, you can use the Wi-Fi to message people through the app.

Internet connection still works on a voluntarily suspended device through Wi-Fi, so games and social media are all accessible on a suspended phone that has Wi-Fi access.

Can You Use Wi-Fi Calling if Your Service is Suspended?

Suspended phones are unable to make calls through a Wi-Fi network except to dial 911; however, third party services that having calling features are still accessible.

For example, Facebook Messenger is capable of making calls through Wi-Fi, so this kind of third-party system still works on a suspended phone.

Can You Temporarily Suspend a Child’s Phone?

If you want to limit talk and text on a child’s phone, you will need to contact your service provider to temporarily suspend service; however, this feature has gotten harder to use over the years.

Plans such as Verizon’s Smart Family, for example, only allow you to suspend internet access for a period of time once every twelve months, while other companies like AT&T allow you to go online to suspend service.

Remember that suspending a phone doesn’t automatically limit Wi-Fi usage, so if you want to limit social media usage or fully cut off the phone, it’s better to utilize the parental controls or just take the phone away.

iPhone’s Downtime, for example, allows you to limit the amount of time your child is spending on a particular app, allowing for better management of your child’s device privileges.

How Do You Reactive a Suspended Phone, and How Long Does It Take?

Some providers have auto-reconnect services that will automatically reconnect your phone to the network after a certain period of time has passed.

Other providers require you to visit their website, log in, and then select the option to reconnect your device.

After you go through the necessary steps to reactivate your account, keep in mind that it may take up to 24 hours to reactivate your account.

Once complete, you should be free to use the built-in messaging and make calls freely.

Related Post: Why Is Your Phone Suspended?(And How to Unsuspend It)


There are several reasons people choose to suspend their phones, and cell phone companies have automatic suspension protocols in place if the phone is stolen.

Today, we covered all the basic information you need to make an informed decision on whether to suspend yours or your child’s phone, and what it this process will involve.

I’ve been working with technology in one way or the other all my life. After graduating from university, I worked as a sales consultant for Verizon for a few years. Now I am a technical support engineer by day and write articles on my own blog here in my spare time to help others if they have any issues with their devices.