Most telephones, whether you use a landline or cellphone, let you adjust the number of rings before the call switches over to voicemail. This can be a useful feature if you can't be bothered to take a call right away. Just set the phone to the number of desired rings and the call will be diverted. If you need more time to get to the phone, adjust the rings to a higher number so you'll be able to take the call before voicemail takes over. The exact button labels to execute this procedure may vary slightly from phone to phone, but the essential process is the same.
Turn over the base unit of a landline phone and look at the back panel for a ringer switch. Some phone models are equipped with a slide switch marked with numbers. These indicate the number of times a phone can ring before being switched to voice mail. Slide the switch to your selection.
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Press the "Menu" button on a cordless or cellphone to access the setup features. Press the up or down navigation buttons to search through the options.
Press "Ring #" or similar wording to set the number of rings. Increase the number to the maximum allowable to give yourself the most time for getting to the phone.
Press the option for the voicemail settings on your particular phone to turn voice mail on or off if you want to suspend the automatic answering feature indefinitely. The phone will then ring until the caller hangs up or you answer.