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What is the difference between calling and ringing? Explained

Last Updated on July 5, 2022 by Kennedy

Trying to understand the difference between calling and ringing especially when it comes to some instant messaging apps and services like whatsapp and Co, I got you covered.

If you are using whatsapp to call your friends and family members you will definitely come across calling and ringing especially since the last whatsapp update.

The truth is that calling and ringing differs a lot irrespective of the fact they seem to have the same meaning. So let me go ahead and explain to you the difference between calling and ringing especially in whatsapp.

What is the difference between calling and ringing?

The difference between calling and ringing is that in calling the recipient is yet to receive the incoming call, while in ringing the recipient has received the incoming call on it’s mobile phone.

When you dial a phone number or probably a whatsapp number on your cell phone it will show calling and finally ringing which literally means the recipient phone is ringing. 

Another difference between calling and ringing is that calling means the recipient phone is not ringing, while ringing means the call went through and the recipient phone is ringing. 

If you happen to call someone and it shows only calling without showing ringing before it cutoffs, then it means the recipient didn’t receive the incoming call. This simply indicates that the call you made wasn’t a successful one.


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Talking about the difference between calling and ringing, this is mostly available on instant messaging apps and services like whatsapp as there’s no such when it comes to cellular calls.

Cellular calls will only indicate a beeping sound which most times means the recipient phone is ringing at the other end. As this is applicable to whatsapp, let me further explain calling and ringing in whatsapp.

difference between calling and ringing

What is calling and ringing in whatsapp?

In whatsapp, calling means to dial a whatsapp number while ringing means the call was successfully and the recipient has received the call on it’s mobile phone.

If upon dialing a whatsapp number and it shows calling without showing ringing, then it means the recipient is yet to receive the whatsapp call.

However, if it shows ringing then it simply means that the recipient has received the whatsapp call and it’s mobile phone is ringing. This is only applied to whatsapp because the likes of facetime, Skype doesn’t show calling and ringing. 

The difference between calling and ringing in whatsapp?

The difference between calling and ringing in whatsapp is that calling means you dialed a whatsapp number, while ringing means the call went through and the recipient phone has received the incoming call.

However, sometimes you might end up not seeing ringing after you must have dialed a whatsapp number on your cell phone.

Kindly note that once you didn’t see ringing after dialing a whatsapp number on your mobile phone, it simply means the recipient didn’t receive your incoming call so you have to call back once again.

Generally, once a whatsapp call didn’t show ringing it will continue to ring and end within two minutes or you cutoff the call.

Now the next question will be why would a whatsapp call not showing ringing?

Here are the reasons;

1. The recipient has no active internet connection

When it comes to whatsapp and other instant messaging apps and services, internet is very compulsory and it can be a Wi-Fi or a cellular data. Without internet, whatsapp and other instant messaging apps and services will not work.

Now if you happen to call someone who’s phone has no active internet connection, the whatsapp call will only show calling but wont show ringing afterwards.

2. When the recipient blocked you

If you have been blocked by the recipient on whatsapp, it will only show calling if you dialed the person’s whatsapp number.

When blocked on whatsapp, no matter how hard you try to contact the person using the blocked number will never work unless you have to use another phone number linked to whatsapp to contact the person.

3. The number is no longer active on whatsapp

The person you are calling might no longer be using the phone number for whatsapp activity which means thar the phone number is no longer active on whatsapp.This will also make a whatsapp call to only show calling but wont show ringing.

Talking about what’s the difference between calling and ringing  especially on whatsapp, kindly note that calling means you dialed a whatsapp number, while ringing means the call went through and the recipient phone has received the incoming call.


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Does a whatsapp call always ring?

The answer is yes. Whatsapp call always ring and which shows that the successfully call went through to the recipient phone.

Remember, if a whatsapp call didn’t show ringing after it first shows calling, it means the recipient is yet to receive the incoming whatsapp call. That is the call haven’t reached the recipient phone at it’s end or side.

If the call shows calling and then ringing, it simply means the recipient has received the call on it’s cell phone, but if it kept on showing calling without ringing, that means the recipient is yet to receive the call.

difference between calling and ringing in whatsapp

How long does WhatsApp call ring for?

Whatsapp call ring for about one minute and thirty seconds before the call ends. 

This is both applied to when whatsapp call shows calling and ringing as well. So every whatsapp call will ring for about one minute and thirty seconds before the calls ends and if the recipient didn’t answer the call. 

Being an instant messaging service, calls from whatsapp ring for a long period compared to cellular calls that only ring for a maximum of twenty seconds or thirty seconds before the calls ends. 

Does calling mean ringing?

The answer is no. Calling doesn’t mean ringing as calling simply means you dialed a number on your mobile phone, while ringing means the recipient has received the call on it’s mobile phone. 

Just like I explained the difference between calling and ringing stating that in calling the recipient is yet to receive the incoming call, while in ringing the recipient has received the incoming call on it’s mobile phone.

How do you know if someone is on WhatsApp call without calling them?

So far there is no way to know if someone is on whatsapp call without calling the person. 

Maybe later in the future whatsapp will release a feature that will enable it’s users to know if someone is on WhatsApp call without calling them. But as it stands at this moment of writing this post, that is not possible at all.

Difference between calling and ringing in facebook messenger?

In facebook messenger, when you tap on the call button it will initiate calling but if the call went through and the recipient phone start to ring, it simply means ringing.

That is to say the call was successful as the recipient has received the incoming facebook messenger call.

Difference between calling and ringing in instagram?

On instagram, calling simply means to initiate a call but if the call went through to the recipient phone and the recipient phone start to ring or received the incoming call, it simply means ringing.

And that is the difference between calling and ringing in instagram as well as in viber.

What does it mean if a call keeps ringing?

If a call keep ringing without being answered then it simply means the recipient is ignoring your call as the call went through to the recipient phone.

Once a call shows ringing in Whatsapp, Facebook messenger, telegram, viber, Instagram, then it means the recipient phone is ringing. However, if the call kept showing ringing and after few minutes or seconds ends, it simply means that the recipient didn’t receive answer the call.

If it occurs several times then it may be that the recipient is ignoring your call.

But remember, when you see ringing after dialing a phone number on your mobile phone, it simply means the call went through and the recipient phone is ringing.

Lastly before I go, the difference between calling and ringing is that in calling the recipient is yet to receive the incoming call, while in ringing the recipient has received the incoming call on it’s mobile phone.