What to Do When your Cordless Phone Says Line in Use


Is your landline phone showing an aggravating “Line In Use” message when you’re sure it should be free? It’s a situation that can test your patience, especially when you need to make or receive important calls. But don’t worry, you’re not alone, and there are practical solutions at your fingertips.

In this article, we’ll dive into resolving the “Line In Use” error on your landline phone. We’ll walk you through a step-by-step process to reset your phone line and free it up. Also, we’ll provide expert guidance on tackling the issue when no dial tone can be found.

Say goodbye to phone line woes and hello to seamless communication.  Explored below is what to do when your cordless phone says line in use.

Let’s get started

Also Read:

What is the phone line in use indicator?

One of the most essential features of your cordless phone is the “phone line in use indicator.” The indicator serves as a visual cue, letting you know the status of your phone line.

Understanding this indicator can be important when troubleshooting and ensuring your cordless phone system operates efficiently.

But what is the “phone in use indicator?”  

The phone-in-use indicator represents a small LED light at the cordless phone’s display screen or base unit. The indicator informs you when your phone is actively in use. For instance, when the indicator is illuminated or displayed, the implication is that someone is using the phone line for a call. This feature is particularly crucial when you have multi-handset cordless phone systems, especially in business offices where numerous users share the same line.

The “phone in use indicator” operates by monitoring the electrical signals on the phone line. For example, when you are making a call, or there is a call in progress, your cordless phone system will detect signals from the call and activate the indicator to alert other users that the line is engaged. This will help ensure that you or another person does not pick up or make another call on the same line while it is still engaged.

So, what is the working principle of the “phone line in use indicator?”

When you receive a call or press the call button, your cordless phone will signal the base unit to initiate a call. At the same time, the cordless phone system will continuously monitor the phone line for any incoming or outgoing signals. This way, it looks for voltage or data transmission changes that indicate an active call.

If your cordless phone system detects an active call on the line, it will activate the “phone line in use indicator.” Depending on your phone model, the indicator can be a lit LED, an icon on the screen, or both. The system keeps monitoring the line throughout the call. As soon as the call ends and the line becomes idle, the indicator is deactivated, signaling that the line is now available for use.

What To Do When Your Cordless Phone Says Line in Use

When your cordless phone says or shows the ‘line in use’ error message, it means that it is engaged. One of the handsets could be active and in use, making calls unable to go through. To resolve this, turn off all other handsets to block anyone using your phone.

While cordless phones allow expansion (meaning they can have more than one handset), this feature has a pitfall. At times, it proves to be a challenge to monitor all handsets. This means you will occasionally fail to notice if one handset is in use.

Your cordless phone will indicate the ‘line in use’ prompt when this happens. A practical instance is when a household member coincidentally turns on one of the handsets. This will only render your cordless phone inaccessible if you need to call.

Whatever the case, if you want to resolve the line in use problem, disconnect the base unit from the power source and wait for about five seconds and plug it back. Next, call your line from a different cell phone or phone to test whether the error has been resolved.

However, the ‘line in use’ prompt is not solely due to an engaged handset. No one could likely be using the handset. If this is the case, there are other potential sources to suspect.

It could be a few things, including charging issues or system bugs hindering incoming or outgoing calls. Disruption in communication can be insufferable. Thankfully, we will demystify this issue and help you restore smooth conversations.

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What causes line in use on phone Problem? (& solutions)

1. Loss of connection at the power source

The base unit plays a kernel role in cordless phone systems. It is the main connection point for one or more wireless mobile gadgets. Essentially, the interface links a device to other devices or networks through fiber optic connections or high bandwidth wire.

In addition, it also links to the power source. This means that disconnection or a loosely plugged base station results in signal issues. Consequently, the base unit fails to communicate with the handset, prompting the ‘line in use’ error.

Solution: Re-connect the power source

Trace the connection between the base unit and the power outlet. Check to see if the base station is securely plugged in. If it had been accidentally unplugged, re-connect it to the power source. You’ll also need to ensure the power supply and power source are on.

Alternatively, you can try to disconnect the base station from the power source. Wait 30 seconds while securing all other connections, then plug it back. Check to see if the problem persists on your cordless phone.

2. Defective landline

Besides power source problems, a faulty landline can yield this error message. It could be that your cordless phone unit is faulty, or your handset has defective internal wiring or unsound batteries.

Solution You’ll first need to rule out engaged handset(s) as a possible cause. To diagnose this problem, use another phone to determine whether your cordless phone is faulty.

Begin by unplugging the base unit from the power source, then plug it back in afterward. Then use your cell phone or another phone to test your cordless phone and check if it gets a dial tone. A functional cordless phone says line in use with no dial tone. If the cordless phone gets a dial tone, it means it has a problem. It’d be best to seek professional assistance.

3. Poor network connection

You’ll want to scrutinize the network when you’ve confirmed that the connection to the power source is okay and that your landline is functional. Network connectivity problems could arise from additional connections. Extra traffic from numerous users can overload or congest your home network.

Also, your line could be experiencing interruptions if devices such as digital video recorders are linked to your cordless phone system. You’ll also want to suspect poor network connectivity as the core of the problem, especially if you reside in a locality with poor network coverage.

Solution: The aim is to enhance the network coverage. You can achieve this by cutting off the extra connections to eliminate unnecessary traffic. All you need to do is disconnect the devices not in use and only leave the prioritized one connected.

4. Line problem

When none of the aforementioned situations are responsible for the ‘line in use’ error, your line could be the problem. You could be dealing with a line issue if you’ve tried using your cell phone to test your cordless phone but still failed to receive a dial tone.

Solution: To verify this problem, connect your cordless phone to another line. You can improvise this fix by linking it to a neighbor’s house line. Then, examine to see whether the germane problem recurs. If it does, you might need to contact a technician to fix your line.

5. Base station issues

While the base unit plays a pivotal role in a cordless phone system, it is not immune to encountering problems. Technical issues can disrupt its normal operations resulting in issues such as ‘line in use.’ ‘no line’ or ‘no power.’

Solution: If you’ve tried the quoted remedies and none seem to work, your base station is likely defective. You can attempt to reset your cordless phone and the base system. If this also fails, you might need to call a technician for a thorough check-up and repair.

6. Low/dead batteries

At times, it could be that the batteries of your cordless phone are running low, or in the worst cases, they have bitten the dust. After all, most, if not all, batteries have a limited lifespan. Typically, the lifespan of cordless phones’ batteries ranges between one and three years.An image of 
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Solution: Getting your cordless phone running again is quite easy. If the batteries run low, position the phone on the base station and allow it to charge. However, even rechargeable batteries bite the dust, causing issues such as ‘line in use’ or ‘no signal.’

If this is the case, purchase new rechargeable batteries and install them. Flip your phone so that its back faces you. Slide the battery compartment door at the end and load the new batteries.

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How to fix line in use problem

Inarguably, cordless phones make communication easy in many households. However, sometimes your phone says ‘line in use,’ even when no one else is on the line.

This can be an exasperating experience, especially if you rely on your cordless phone to run a business or disseminate crucial information to other household members. You cannot make or receive a call if it shows a ‘line in use’ error message.

Usually, you can fix the line in use problem by;

  • Review the LED indicator

Most cordless handsets feature LED indicator light(s) on the dock. This feature helps you decode the current state of your wireless phone unit. You should focus on details like how it lights up and the color produced.

You can interpret variables such as signal quality (weak or strong) and battery capacity (low, moderate, or high). Now, examine the relevant indicator light on the modem and determine whether it is on or blinking.

If it is blinking, it means that the line is in use. If it fails to blink, you might need to contact your provider since the problem arises from the modem. If you notice that the indicator light fails to light up, the system might have some problems.

Disconnect your phone handset line from the modem. After unplugging your phone, you should see the indicator lighting up with a solid color. Wait for about a minute, then re-connect the cable. Examine your handset.

  • Ensure a secure connection at the power source

Likely, the base unit of your cordless handset was accidentally disconnected from the power source. Also, check if your cordless handset securely sits in its cradle, as this is its power source.

Both situations interfere with the power supply, resulting in signal problems, including the line in use error. You can unplug the base unit from the power source, wait for 30 seconds, then plug it back. This should resolve the issue from the handset unit.

  • Improve network connectivity

If your network has many users and devices connected, congestion of this home network is inevitable. This results in network connectivity problems that can render your cordless phone unusable. If there is poor network coverage around where you live, you will likely see the line in use error on your cordless phone.

The ideal solution for this situation is to improve network connectivity. To achieve this, get rid of unwanted traffic by disconnecting inessential devices. In addition, you can also try to reset your network.

Remember, your cordless phone shows the line in use error when the call is active. If you have several handsets in your home or office, it is possible that one of them is turned on or in use. You, therefore, must ensure that no one else is on the call.

Generally, to resolve the line in use problem, unplug the base unit from the power source, wait for about 30 seconds, and then plug it back. In some cases, restoring your phone to its factory settings could suffice in fixing the issue.

An unreset base unit could be responsible for ‘line in use’ or ‘no-line’ problems. For optimal performance, cordless phones, like cellular phones, work better after a fast reset.

Failure to reboot, refresh or reset your devices interrupts their normal functioning. You, therefore, ought to reset your cordless phone occasionally to ensure smooth operation.

The video below shows how to fix a “no line” problem

Why is my cordless phone showing no line?

 If you are expecting or need to make a crucial call, seeing a “no-line” display message can irritate and be frustrating. When you are in the business world and want to make an urgent call to your suppliers or business associates, the no-line message can worsen your day and make you miss significant business opportunity deals. This can cause massive business losses and resources.

If you are experiencing this problem for the first time, freaking out would be inevitable. However, before you hit the panic button, let’s explore the possible reasons for this issue and some troubleshooting steps to get your cordless phone back in action.

  1. Disconnected or Loose Cables

Loose or disconnected cables are among the most common reasons for the “No Line” error. Check if your phone line cord is securely plugged into both the wall jack and the base unit of your cordless phone. Sometimes, a simple reconnection can resolve the problem.


Ensure the phone line cord is securely connected to the wall jack and the base unit of your cordless phone. Also, the problem could be an issue with the power cord or adapter. Examine the power cord and adapter to confirm they are correctly plugged in and functioning. If the problem was with the disconnection or loose cables, the two solutions should solve the problem.

  1. Faulty phone Line

Sometimes, the problem of “no line” may not be with your cordless phone but with the phone line itself. Check if you have a dial tone on a different phone connected to the same line. If there’s no dial tone on any device, you may need to contact your phone service provider to address the line issue.


Plug a different phone into the same wall jack to check if you have a dial tone. If not, contact your phone service provider to address the line issue.

  1. Power Outage

Cordless phones require power not only for making calls but also for displaying information on the screen.

A power outage or the base unit isn’t receiving power can lead to the “No Line” message.

  1. Interference

Cordless phones can be affected by electronic interference from other devices like Wi-Fi routers, microwave ovens, or even other nearby cordless telephones.

Such interference can disrupt the connection to the phone line.


Identify and move electronic devices that might be causing interference away from your cordless phone’s base unit. This includes devices like Wi-Fi routers and microwave ovens.

  1. Battery Problem

A depleted or malfunctioning battery can cause connectivity problems if your cordless phone has a rechargeable battery. Ensure the handset is charged correctly, or replace the battery if needed.


If your cordless phone uses rechargeable batteries, ensure the battery is properly charged. Replace it with a new one if it’s no longer holding a charge.

How do I reset my phone line?

Resetting your phone line can be a helpful solution when facing connectivity issues with your cordless phone, such as a “No Line” error or poor call quality.

However, it’s essential to approach this process carefully to avoid making matters worse due to the delicate nature of the phone systems. You can incorrectly do the reset process and lose all your data in the phone.

Follow the below steps to reset your phone line effectively.

Step 1: Unplug all the devices

Start by unplugging all cordless phones and devices connected to your phone line, including fax and answering machines. The disconnection will ensure that no other device can cause interference or disruptions during the reset process.

Step 2: Disconnect the Power

Disconnect the power cord from your cordless phone’s base unit and any other devices connected to the line. This step is crucial to ensure a complete reset.

Once you have disconnected the power, wait for a few minutes, usually 5 to 10 minutes, to allow any residual electrical charges to dissipate and ensure a clean slate for the reset.

Step 3: Reconnect and power on

After the 5 to 10 minutes have elapsed, reconnect the phone line cords to their respective devices. Start with the base unit of your cordless phone and then connect any additional devices one by one.

Plug in the power cords and turn on your cordless phone’s base unit and other connected devices. Wait for them to initialize and establish a connection with the phone line.

Step 4: Check for a dial tone

Pick up a cordless handset and listen for a dial tone. If you hear the dial tone, your phone line has been successfully reset, and you should be able to make and receive calls without any issues.

Make test calls, check for caller ID, and ensure that all cordless phone features are working correctly. This step helps verify that the reset resolved any previous issues.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

While resetting your phone line can be a straightforward process, there are some common mistakes to avoid:

  • Incomplete Disconnection: Ensure that all devices connected to the phone line are entirely disconnected from the phone line and power sources. Failing to do so can lead to incomplete resets.
  • Rushing the process: Don’t rush the waiting period after disconnecting the devices. Waiting 5-10 minutes is crucial to ensure a complete reset.
  • Skipping Device Setting: After resetting, thoroughly test all features and functions of your cordless phone to confirm that the problem is resolved. Neglecting this step may result in lingering issues.
  • Forgetting Passwords: If your cordless phone has security features like call blocking or parental controls, resetting may erase these settings. Be prepared to reconfigure them if necessary.

How can we Register AT&T Cordless Phone?

If you have acquired a new accessory at&t handset, it is requisite to register it to the base unit. Here’s how you do it. First, charge the handset before you try to register. It should show, ‘To register HS…see manual’. If it does not show this prompt, raise the handset from the charger and wait for a few seconds. Then, fix it back to its charger.

Locate the FIND HANDSET (or HANDSET LOCATOR) at the base to register. Press and hold it for four seconds until the base’s IN USE light lights up. Then, locate the # button on the handset and press it. The handset unit will first show Registering, after which it will show Registered.

The new handset will be given the lowest extension number that has not been designated to another handset. Your at&t cordless phone is now registered. If registration is unsuccessful, repeat the procedure as delineated.

How Do you Set Up a Cordless Phone?

Thanks to the ever-expanding advancements in the technological arena, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to cordless phones. While the market provides countless options for cordless phones, most bargains include the primary features as a standard.

However, each cordless phone also possesses unique features that make it different. Regardless, setting up a cordless phone for calling function is almost the same across the board.

To set up a cordless phone, choose a location that favors connection to a power source and the landline phone cord. Once you determine the perfect location, plug the base unit into the power source and connect it to the landline cable.

Then, install the batteries into the handset and turn it on. Note that you might first need to charge the batteries in the handset for some systems. You can make and receive calls once the entire system is powered up and linked to a phone connection. Navigate your cordless phone to make configurations on settings such as date and time.

Why Won’t My Phone Accept Incoming Calls?

Phones are meant to make communication easy. Therefore, one principal function of your phone is to place and receive calls. However, this is not always the case. When your phone cannot accept incoming calls, it could be one of these several reasons that could be responsible.

  • Late bill payment – if you’ve forgotten to settle your cellphone bill or skipped one or more payments, your network provider might discontinue your cell phone till you clear the balance.
  • Poor signal – if you live in an area with poor network coverage, low signal levels could cause this problem. It is also likely that your network provider might be encountering issues.
  • Inadequate volume on your landline phone – it is possible that you accidentally set a low volume setting on your landline phone, making it inaudible when it rings. If so, adjust the volume on your phone’s ringer to ring loudly.
  • Faulty landline – at times, your line might experience technical issues. If you suspect this, contact your landline service provider and request a detailed check-up of your line. They will repair it if it has a problem.
  • Malfunctioning software – this is only exclusive to smartphones. Installing faulty software can block your phone from receiving calls. One way to fix such a problem is by restarting your phone. Alternatively, you can reset the network settings to revert them to their default. If this fails, try restoring your phone to its factory settings.

Regarding cordless phones, if your phone can only place calls but not receive them, there’s probably an issue with the telephone line or phone of the individual trying to call you. This is especially true when only some people can phone you and others cannot.

Why does the handset read Out of Range or No Power at Base?

Encountering an “Out of Range” or “No Power at Base” error on your cordless phone can worry, especially when you’re within your usual calling range. These messages typically indicate a loss of communication between the handset and the base unit.

However, you must not just sit there and watch when this happens. Instead, try the following to see if you will resolve the “no power at base error or out of range error.”

  • Check Power Connections

Begin by ensuring that the base unit of your cordless phone is securely connected to a power source. A loose power connection can sometimes lead to the “No Power at Base” error.

Also, for the “No Power at Base” error, double-check that the base unit is receiving power and is turned on. If the base unit is not functioning, it can disrupt communication with the handset.

Sometimes, you can solve this problem by unplugging the base unit from the power source and reconnecting it. This simple power cycle can sometimes resolve issues related to the base unit.

  • Confirm Handset Battery

If your cordless handset displays an “Out of Range” error, it could be due to a low battery. Verify that the handset is adequately charged. If not, place it on the charging cradle or replace the battery.

  • Reconnect Handset

If the handset displays an “Out of Range” error, try re-establishing the connection between the handset and the base unit. Place the handset back on the base unit to re-sync them.

If the error persists, move closer to the base unit as you use the handset. Sometimes, interference or physical obstacles can disrupt the wireless signal. Try different locations to determine if signal strength improves.

  • Remove interference

Electronic devices like Wi-Fi routers, microwave ovens, or cordless phones from neighbors can interfere with the cordless phone’s signal. Ensure that the base unit is positioned away from potential sources of interference.

Frequently Asked Questions -FAQs

Q1. Why does my phone say line in use, but it’s not?

The most common reason is due to off-hook handsets. Bearing that cordless phones can have multiple handsets in various areas of your home, you will likely see this message.

This is because all the handsets connect to one system. The base system interprets any handset left off the hook as a line in use.’ Therefore, any attempt to place or receive calls will be futile.

Q2. Why is my cordless phone not showing the Caller ID?

There are several reasons why your phone may not be displaying Caller ID. One major reason is the incompatible caller ID systems of both you and your caller’s service provider. Sometimes, it might be simple things such as dead batteries or answering calls even before receiving ID data.

It could be that your phone service has turned off the Caller ID feature. A blocking or faulty device connected to the phone’s cord and transmission errors can also cause your phone to fail to show Caller ID.

Q3. Why can’t I receive incoming calls on my landline?

If your landline phone fails to receive incoming calls, check the volume status on the phone’s ringer. It could be off or extremely low. Also, with the voicemail feature engaged, the incoming calls are automatically redirected to voicemail.

Check if you’ve enabled calling features such as blocking undesired callers and call forwarding, as they may cause this problem. Faulty phone equipment is yet another potential cause. In this case, replace the defective equipment. Check to see if the phone jack connects to your computer. This enables your computer to use the phone line for a dial-up connection.

Q4. Do cordless phones need a phone line?

Yes, cordless phones need a phone line to connect to the public switched telephone network (PSTN) or a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service. The phone line serves as the link between your cordless phone system and the outside world, enabling you to make and receive calls.

Without a phone line, your cordless phone would be limited to internal communication within your home or office, similar to an intercom system. A phone line connection is essential to access external phone networks, such as making calls to other landlines or mobile phones.

Generally, while cordless phones offer mobility within your premises, they still rely on a phone line for external communication.


Cordless phones have cemented their place as the dominant communication option for household and office spaces. Even so, they still have their fair share of drawbacks. A case in point is when your phone displays the line in use error message, making it impossible to phone others or receive calls.

Thankfully, this insight on what to do when your cordless phone says line is use affirms that, in most cases, you can resolve this problem. Simple remedies such as monitoring off-hook handsets, securing the connection at the power source, or replacing the phone’s batteries can restore normalcy. Remember, you can always seek professional assistance if the problem gets too technical.

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