How to Unlock Your Phone’s Trusty Call-Blocking Powers
Telemarketers, scammers, and political surveyors have one thing in common: They can all ruin your day with a barrage of unsolicited phone spam. If the Do Not Call List isn’t doing its job for you, or your phone just won’t shut up, your best bet is to start blockin’. There are plenty of apps that let you fine tune the call screening process, but all you really need is already baked into your phone.
On an iPhone
Open up your phone app and go to the Recent Calls tab. There will be a list of outgoing or incoming numbers. On the right side of the number you want to block, you’ll find a tiny information button. After tapping that, scroll all the way to the bottom of the page. Here, it will say, ‘Block this caller.’ Boom, you are done.
To maintain your list of blocked numbers, go to your Settings. Choose the tab titled Phone, and then select Blocked List. Here, you’ll find all the numbers you have previously blocked. You can add new numbers to the list or remove them if you’ve had a change of heart. Once you hit add Add New, your contacts will appear. Select a contact and that number will then migrate over to your blocked list.
If you unblock a contact number, that number gets added back to your contacts. If it wasn’t in your contacts to begin with, nothing will change. Just remember, unblocking allows that specific number to message, call, and Facetime you.
On Android Phones
To block a recent number, open your device’s default Phone app and tap on the recent calls list—it’s the little clock in the top-middle of the screen. Tap on the offending incoming number in the list, and a small menu will show up under it. Tap “Call details.” Here, you’ll see a menu item for Block Number.
To block calls from somebody who’s already in your contacts, open the Phone app and tap on the three-dot menu button inside the search field at the top of the screen. (Some phones, like Samsung Galaxy devices, will have a “More” option instead of the three-dot button.) Tap Settings, then Call Blocking. You can search your contacts to find a number to block. This view also shows you all of your previously blocked numbers, so you can unblock any number them by tapping the “X” next to it.
There’s a brand new feature, too: If you have caller ID enabled, your Android phone should be able to warn you that the caller is a suspected spammer, then give you the ability to report and block the number.
New Phone Who Dis?
Once you block someone on iOS, it’s worth noting that the calls still technically go through. You’re just never notified. If you’re still curious about what you’re missing out on (spoiler: the IRS is suing you), you can check the Blocked Messages tab in your Voicemail. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to block phone numbers that are marked Private, Unknown, or No Caller ID.
On Android, it doesn’t send the caller to voicemail when you block them. It just… blocks them. However, you can choose to send all calls from a particular contact to voicemail. You do this in Contacts, or in your Phone app. Just tap that three-dot menu button (which shows up at “More” on some phones) on the contact’s page and choose “All Calls to Voicemail.” The cool thing about this feature is that it flags not just an individual phone number, but the phone contact. So a call from any phone that person owns will get sent to voicemail. Useful for that guy who owns six phones and loves to use them.