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How to Block Calls & Texts on Android & iPhone

by on February 04, 2016
in Phones and Mobile, Mobile Apps, Android Apps, iPhone/iPad Apps, Tips & How-Tos, Privacy :: 22 comments

Stop Annoying Calls & TextsNo one enjoys cell phone spam, especially aggressive telemarketing calls and texts while you're on the go. Though you can list your cell phone number on the Do Not Call Registry, that doesn't stop telemarketing text messages or even all phone calls in our experience.

If you're tired of these nuisances, you have options. You can use the following apps and features built into your phone to help cut down on spam.

For Android smartphones

If your phone is updated to Android 4.4 KitKat  or later (check Settings > About Phone to check which Android version your device is running) there are some built-in features that identify incoming calls. Caller ID by Google will match incoming calls with Google Places listing and display that name on the call screen for you. Unfortunately, this is highly dependent on the company being listed in Google's business directory. 

If you're getting nuisance calls from the same number, you can block it from the call log. Select the number you want to block and when you see the details for the caller, hit the menu button. There you'll find the option to "Add to reject list."  You can manage your call reject list, including adding contacts or numbers, under settings >> call >> call reject >> auto reject list. 

For earlier versions of Android, your options vary somewhat by manufacturer. When you get a spam call, open the call log and press and hold the number you want to block. While you're holding, a menu will pop up letting you add that number to your contacts or block it. Samsung calls it "add to reject list," HTC calls it "block contact"—you get the idea. On LG models, you can go into system >> call >> call reject >> and then use the + to add numbers from your recent calls.

If you have Android 4.2.2 or higher you can also opt to send all calls from a specific contact directly to voicemail. Once you get a call, make a contact out of that incoming number. Then view that contact (the People or Contacts app) and tap on the menu to see the option "All calls to voicemail," "Add to Auto Reject list" or something similar.

All of the above options send callers straight to voicemail. If you don't want to give your caller the option of leaving a voice mail, you'll need to turn to a third party app. Following are apps that specialize in dealing with annoying calls in different ways.

Extreme Call BlockerBest for preventing callers from leaving voicemail: Extreme Call Blocker

Extreme Call Blocker gives you the most flexibility in automate the process of handling incoming calls. You can mute all incoming calls, send them directly to voicemail or automatically hang up on the caller. For the third option, you can choose to see that someone has called as a missed call in your notifications and call log, or not have a record of the call at all. 

Price: $4.99 on Google Play

Best for blocking spam: Mr. Number

Mr. Number lets you block calls and texts from specific numbers or specific area codes, and it can automatically block private or unknown numbers. It also lets users report spam, so when you get a call from an unknown number, you can see what others have reported about it.

When a blocked number tries to call, your phone may ring once, though usually not at all, and then the call is sent to voicemail.

Price: Free at Google Play (reverse lookups for a fee)

TruecallerBest for Identifying Calls: Truecaller

While Mr. Number focuses on blocking calls and texts, Truecaller focuses on identifying who's trying to get in touch.

Truecaller provides caller ID information and reverse lookup data for incoming calls and texts — and all this info means that Truecaller knows who spammers are and lets you block them before they start bothering you.

The app makers maintain a database of spam callers and telemarketers and will automatically flag incoming calls as such. This database comes from both white and yellow pages services as well as crowdsourced from the Truecaller community. And, it's proven effective in screening out the One Ring Phone Scam calls.

Truecaller will ask to add your list of contacts to its database, but this is purely optional. You will have to verify your number with Truecaller before being able to use the service.

Price: Free at Google Play

 

Truecaller for iPhoneFor iPhones

iOS 9 has built-in options for blocking numbers.

Go to the Contacts app and tap on the contact you want to block or find the number on the Recent Calls tab (clock icon) on your Phone app and tap the circled "i" icon to the right of the number. Both these methods will take you to the contact page for that caller. Scroll to the bottom and click on the Block This Caller.

But what about identifying incoming calls or texts as spam?

For that you can rely on Truecaller listed above in the Android section. It also has an iPhone version that will identify incoming calls against their extensive list of telemarketers and spammers.

Price: Free on iTunes

Other blocking options

If you don't find any built-in features or apps to your liking, your carrier might offer blocking options (although they could come at a cost).

Finally, try filtering by using a Google Voice number as your primary means of contact. Google Voice offers great spam filtering options with a database of known spam numbers, and it can automatically block potential spam. You can port an existing number to Google Voice for a $20 fee to enjoy first-class call filtering options no matter what kind of phone you're using. This method works for both iPhones and Android smartphones.

[woman shouting into phone image via Shutterstock]

Updated on 2/4/2016 with Android OS and iOS  changes and new carrier options.



Discussion loading

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HTC Blocking Question

From Jeffrey Deutsch on March 10, 2014 :: 11:26 am

Hello,

I have an HTC DNA running Jelly Bean 4.2.2. Is there any app which will enable me to block (not just send to voicemail) one or more specific numbers, on an HTC phone?

Btw, I am aware of my carrier blocking options so I’m only asking about apps here—and only about blocking, not sending to voicemail or identifying.

Thank you!

Jeff Deutsch

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Hi Jeff. When you go

From Suzanne Kantra on March 10, 2014 :: 12:38 pm

Hi Jeff. When you go into your “call history” and press and hold on a number, do you see option for “block contact?” I tested with an HTC One running 4.1 this morning and just updated the OS to 4.3. For me it worked with both versions of the OS. Let me know what you’re seeing.

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Mr. Number

From Greg Williams on March 10, 2014 :: 12:16 pm

I have used Mr. Number for a couple years. When I was using a Samsung Galaxy Express runningIce Cream my phone would ring. When I upgraded to an S4 running the updated Ice Cream and now Kit Kat my phone doesn’t even ring if I have blocked a #, so your info is wrong in those situations!

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Thanks for the heads up.

From Suzanne Kantra on March 12, 2014 :: 5:49 pm

Thanks for the heads up. I tested on a Samsung Galaxy S3 running Android 4.3 and found that sometimes calls from blocked numbers would ring once, but usually didn’t ring at all. I’ve updated the story.

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Truecaller

From Joseph Pianta on March 10, 2014 :: 12:54 pm

with their privacy policy they should be working for the NSA.
http://www.truecaller.com/terms-of-service

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"Block Contact" doesn't actually block, just sends to voicemail

From Jeffrey Deutsch on March 10, 2014 :: 1:13 pm

Thanks though!

Jeff Deutsch

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collects name and number

From Alexander Innes on March 10, 2014 :: 9:12 pm

Sadly, truecaller is just another data collector. It wants my number and name. Do it’s gone.
It’s one thing when i can’t stay off someones data list, but to willingly put myself on it is questionable.

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You should have mentioned Contactive!

From Sergio R on March 13, 2014 :: 6:50 pm

Contactive is another option to consider for identifying legitimate businesses versus spammers.

Full disclosure: I work for the sister company of Contactive.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.contactive

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Don't answer unidentified callers

From Richard Jones on March 13, 2014 :: 6:59 pm

This has been my routine for years: if the caller is not in my contact list, I don’t answer. If legitimate, the caller will leave a voice mail. Spammers never have.

Later, I add that spammer to my “Spam” contacts.

-Richard

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Landlines

From Derek on March 14, 2014 :: 1:58 pm

Don’t forget us old timers on landlines.  For landlines the best option is the T-Lock call blocker.

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Don't forget the power of a PC

From Rob Latour on June 05, 2015 :: 7:40 pm

you can also block calls to your landline with your Winodows PC, a modem and CallClerk

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disconnect message on call screen

From jg on November 14, 2014 :: 11:37 am

I’ve tried YouMail and Mr number. Neither do what I want.

I want a button on my screen when my phone rings that will answer the phone and play the “this number is disconnected” message.

I get several calls a week from illegal robo-callers from a different fake caller id every time.  Since it’s a different number each time, blocking a particular number won’t help.

Anyone?

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Take a look at Privacy Star

From Josh Kirschner on November 14, 2014 :: 12:45 pm

The Privacy Star app looks at reports from across their community to identify telemarketing numbers and block them before your phone even rings. There is a free version, though some features requires a paid subscription.

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Another Android Call Blocker

From Hal on February 02, 2015 :: 1:54 pm

There is also ‘AntiNuisance’ which blocks calls and sms that are undesired on Android phones.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.whiteglow.antinuisance

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Private numbers calling me

From Deanna Julie May Knight on February 08, 2015 :: 11:03 am

I keep getting private numbers calling me now I have a not so new android phone and have tried your tips and nothing works what do I do?

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Reject calls go to Voicemail

From Jeff 'Final Taxi' Burson on March 30, 2015 :: 11:52 am

I have a Samsung Galaxy S5 on T-Mobile. My problem with running the “Reject Call” is that they go into my voice mail so “Rachel from Card Holder Services” is leaving messages for me.

I used Mr. Number and it did work for me.

Was thinking of paying for Extreme Call Blocker ( Google Play @ 6.99) since this is out of hand on my world. 4 to 7 calls a day. Anyone heard of this or used it?

If I get another ” Hello Seniors..” message at 6am I am going to scream!!

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What about Fire Phone?

From L A Graham on March 30, 2015 :: 12:06 pm

Amazon’s Fire Phone has its own operating system, will not install anything from Google Play Store, has a limited number of apps that can be added to it.  When I had a Samsung Impression, after the system was updated, there was a “Block Caller” option in the phone settings.

Any suggestions that would work on Fire Phone without having to pay the AT&T per-block or subscription block fees?

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No "Add to Reject List" Option

From Steven on April 06, 2015 :: 10:10 am

There is no “Add to reject list” option in Android 4.4.4.

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You are right

From MS on February 05, 2016 :: 7:11 pm

There is no “add to reject list” on Android 4.4.4
Why did that get in here?

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The call blocking options for

From Suzanne Kantra on February 10, 2016 :: 11:17 am

The call blocking options for Android phones aren’t uniform. Which Android phone are you using?

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this android app offers alternative to blocking

From Mark Cobb on September 25, 2015 :: 11:02 am

allows full control and to put contact on silent / mute/ vibrate

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=silent.caller

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Just Sayin

From nunyabuziness on March 17, 2016 :: 3:59 pm

Looks like many posts here are plugging one app or another trying to get someone’s focus on possibly trying that app ansd it just gives me the same feeling as when I get these unwanted calls. SOmeone is trying to sell me on something. It all wreeks to high heaven.

One person said it best here. An app that allows us to mark an incoming call and send it to a message saying the number is disconnected. That feature should be a must. Because many of the telemarketing calls I get have this same message when I try to call them back. The entire world has gotten out of hand. We are all marks/targets. Someone is always out to see what they can get from someone else and not one is calling me to send me an envelope with anything in it to help me. But they are so quick to ask me to put something in the blank envelope they wish to send me. Last time it was breast cancer. This time is benevolence foundation for police officers and tomorrow its gonna be something else. You know what? Its always the same guys voice calling and always a different phone number. As if this is a HUGE industry that has evolved into a money pit that has all this money from so many poor unsuspecting gullable, vulnerable, good hearted men and women. We are being preyed upon and I think it’s high time we stand up and face these things with something more powerful than a stupid app that will never fully do what EVERYONE needs it to do. Happy for those whom have resolved their harassing issues but I have not and still waste so many hours each week to defend my life against this form of harassment. I am very tired of what I sacrifice to fight this beast

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