How to block a number on your smartphone

There are all sorts of reasons to block a number: an ex who can’t take a lead, ruthless telemarketers, or those scammers who love to fake(Opens in a new tab). When your phone has rung once more than you can take(Opens in a new tab), it’s time to block that number. But how? These are the steps to follow depending on your operating system and carrier.

do not call list

The first way to reduce the amount of unwanted calls coming to your phone is to get rid of telemarketers by entering your number on the National Do Not Call Registry. At in a new tab)you can register up to three numbers at a time and check if your digits are already listed there(Opens in a new tab). You will need to include an email address to confirm your registration or call 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236) from the phone you wish to register.

What are the best ways to block unwanted calls? see tips(Opens in a new tab) by Chandra Steele of PC Mag

According to the FTC, which runs the registry, your phone number will be added to the registry within 24 hours, but it will likely take up to 31 days for sales calls to stop. If telemarketers keep calling you, file a complaint(Opens in a new tab).

Apps like RoboKiller and Nomorobo also block telemarketers and robocallers.(Opens in a new tab) (and even implement reply bots that annoy them). And apps like Do Not Respond also handle text spammers.

Just don’t expect anything to completely end spam calls. Robocalls remain rampant, even though the FCC has taken steps to reduce them(Opens in a new tab). While you wait for real results, here are some other steps you can take to stop your phone from ringing non-stop.

Operating systems

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Apple iOS

On iOS 13 and above, you can redirect calls from people or companies you don’t know by going to Settings > Phone and turning on Silence unknown calls. Any caller whose number isn’t in your Contacts list, Siri Suggestions, or recent outgoing calls is automatically directed to voicemail. You will receive a notification of the call afterwards.

You can also route text messages from numbers not in your Contacts to a separate list. Gonna Settings > Messages and turn on Filter unknown senders.

To block a number that called you, open the Phone app and tap Recents. Find the number and tap the information icon (it looks like a lowercase letter “i” in a circle). Scroll down and tap Block this caller. Confirm and calls from that number go directly to voicemail.

operating systems 2

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To block someone in your contact lists, go to Settings > Phone > Blocked contacts. Scroll to the bottom and tap add new. That will open your contact list; select the ones you want to block. You can also get there through Settings > Messages > Blocked contacts > Add new.

operating systems 3

Credit: PCMag

To block someone from a text message, tap on the number or name at the top of the screen, which will produce a drop-down menu with three options: Audio, FaceTime, and Information. Press Information. Tap Information again, scroll down and tap Block this caller.

If you think they’re going to check you out with FaceTime, go to that app, find the last FaceTime conversation you had with them, and click the info icon. A screen will appear with information about the call and the actions to be taken; scroll down to Block this caller. If this is someone in your Contacts, go to Settings > FaceTime > Blocked Contacts. Scroll to the bottom, tap add newand select the name or names to block.

In related news: If you think you’ve been blocked, signs include being sent straight to voicemail for calls, never seeing the Delivered message appears below your messages, and its text turns green (instead of blue) when you’re messaging other iOS users. (These things can also happen if the person you’re trying to reach is offline, so don’t panic right away. But if it’s been a while and you’re still not getting through, you’ve probably been stuck.)


Android allows phone manufacturers some freedom when it comes to customization, so the process for blocking a number varies from device to device.

In general, you should be able to tap the phone number and scroll to the bottom to block the call, or tap the ellipsis icon and select block number to add a number.

Google operating system 1

Credit: PCMag

Some Android phones(Opens in a new tab) has a feature called Call Screen, which allows the Google Assistant to screen calls from anyone who isn’t in your contacts. Gonna Settings > Spam > Call Screen. Select call screen, And below Unknown call settings, select what types of callers you would like to filter (spam, possible fake numbers, etc.). The Google Assistant tells callers in those categories that you’re using a call filter and asks why they’re calling. A real-time transcript of the chat will be sent to you and you can decide whether or not to continue.

transportation options

Wireless service providers have applications that can be used to block calls. AT&T has Call Protect for iOS(Opens in a new tab) and Android (Opens in a new tab)(also available from the AT&T Mobile Security app). You can pay $3.99 a month for a Plus version that has even more security, including a VPN, personal ID monitor, and theft alerts (if you’re using an Android device).

Verizon have some options(Opens in a new tab) that allow you to block potential scammers as well as specific numbers, all for one price. T Mobile has a Scam Shield app(Opens in a new tab) (used to be called Name ID) which allows you to block and report fraudulent calls; a premium version costs $4 per line per month.

The FCC now requires all carriers (and even landline providers) to be part of an authentication system for real calls called the STIR/SHAKEN protocol.(Opens in a new tab). That system should already be reducing the number of spoofed calls that look legitimate, but it won’t make them go away entirely.

This article originally appeared on in a new tab), the sister site of Mashable. in a new tab) is a leading authority on technology, offering independent, lab-based reviews of the latest products and services.

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James D. Brown
James D. Brown
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