How to block calls on iPhone

Despite your iPhone being a mobile phone, that doesn’t seem to stop telemarketers. They have no compassion for consumers who don’t want to utilize their cellular minutes for uninvited sales calls. In a perfect world, you’d be able to take the call and kindly ask to be removed. Each day around 3 o’clock and 5 o’clock I receive calls from 480-567-0012. Googling that number will bring up a good amount of complaints from others who share my frustration. You can sign up for the Do Not Call Registry, but sketchy telemarketers are sketchy, often ignoring basic things such as the law. It’s kind of ironic that visiting that website brings the following warning, “Scammers have been making phone calls claiming to represent the National Do Not Call Registry. The calls claim to provide an opportunity to sign up for the Registry. These calls are not coming from the Registry or the Federal Trade Commission, and you should not respond to these calls.” So here are your options for how to block calls on iPhone. It’s not as easy as you’d imagine, so we’ll offer up a few options and tips for lessening the frustration of what I call the telephone version of spam.

block calls on iPhone

Cutting To The Chase
Despite the extensive feature set of the iPhone, there is no hard and fast way to simply block a telephone number. There are no security settings or ways to block a call on the iPhone.

Blacklist Apps on the App Store
App Store to the rescue. Not so fast. Despite a wealth of apps titled “Blacklist”, they are all deliberately worded to make you think they provide the functionality desired by those of use trying to nuke any and all cases from telemarketers. In a perfect world, a list of callers would be rejected upon calling. No ringing, no ability to leave voice mails. Rejection. While I haven’t used the abundant number of apps on the App Store, weeding through the reviews will net some interesting information about the perceived and actual functionality of these apps. Here’s a sampling of reviews from a variety of apps, some with overall positive reviews. Clearly, the App Store has been gamed on some of these.

Blacklist iPhone App reviews

iBlacklist for Jailbroken iPhones
If you are jailbroken, there is an app within Cydia that will work. It will set you back $12, but iBlacklist does the job of blocking calls based upon a list that you setup. This also works for SMS messages. You can also set a blanket block for Unknown or Restricted ID callers. Conversely, this app also allows for whitelisting a group of callers. This app is not and will not be available through the App Store, which is unfortunate. The high price tag is certainly an inhibitor, but feedback within our forums has been positive.

iBlacklist

Next Best Thing
The iPhone doesn’t support call blocking, the App Store has no useful apps and you’re not looking to jailbreak your iPhone. Where do you go now? Using GarageBand to create a free iPhone ringtone, I’ve created a silent ringtone, which you can download for free from everythingiCafe. Download and drag this to the Tones section within iTunes and sync to your device.

On your device, go to Phone > Recent Calls > Select the arrow at the right. Edit them as a new contact, scroll down and set their ringtone to the newly synced ‘iPhone Silent Ringtone’. Press ‘Done’. When they call again, you won’t be interrupted. Your display will light up, but that’s the worst of it.

Silent iPhone ringtone

It would be great if there was native support for blocking a call on your iPhone, but that’s not possible. If you haven’t registered your phone number at Do Not Call Registry, I’d highly recommend it and it only takes a minute or so. Using one of the methods outlined above, hopefully it will reduce the frustration of receiving unwanted calls on your iPhone.

Editor’s Note: If you are the developer of a blacklist app who feels my criticism is unfounded, I’d welcome an opportunity to be proven wrong.

  • Smith

    Call blocking is the only thing that I miss of my 2006’s Nokia, hope that at some point Apple enable this, remember at the end of the day is a phone so it’s is a really needed feature.

  • nanas2boys

    How do I download the silent ringtone?

    • http://www.everythingicafe.com Christopher Meinck
      • http://www.facebook.com/ipr1118 Irving Rabin

        There is not a direct link to a silent ringtone – the site is yet another “we have everything rather than what you want”.

        • http://christophermeinck.com Christopher Meinck

          You can grab the file from our forums (membership required to avoid abuses) or grab it from our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/everythingicafe

          • whisper

            apple should hurry and pull there finger out, samsung have this option and my contract is up in may this year
            No need to say what I am doing, i phone is a disapointment

          • Mike

            I own a Samsung Galaxy S2. I was trying to decide between the Samsung Galaxy and the iPhone. So, what made me decide on the Samsung? 2 Reasons:

            Samsung has call blocking, iPhone DOES NOT!! The Samsung has a larger screen. But the Call blocking feature of the Samsung was the main reason why I have a Samsung instead of an iPhone. Had my Samsung for a year and a half and haven’t regretted it one bit.

  • Eric

    AT&T will sell you the blocking for 4.99 a month.

    • Steven B

      That is why there is no option to block calls on the iphone, even though other “non-smart” phones have this option. Cell phone providers make more $ if you are forced to buy this service. Capitalism at work!

      • Chris

        Wow, that’s sad. Sprint will do call/text blocking for free.

    • Tori

      I actually think that the number that is calling me 3 times a day without voice is set up by ATT to sell me this.

  • Patrick

    How can I give calls that are from “blocked” or “unknown” a silent ringtone? I am being barraged by political messages which are allowed by the government and they are all unknown or blocked. Sometimes they leave a message sometimes not.

    • Nicole

      Patrick,
      What i have done is set up the Silent ringtone as a the default ringtone and then everyone in my contacts list has a music ringtone attached to them. So that way my phone only rings when it is someone in my contact list.

  • MK

    The new IOS6 looks like it has some nice features but why does the iPhone not allow you to block numbers?
    It would be really nice to just drop a number into a box or click a box as blocked so it sends your unwanted call to voicemail or to a nomans land.
    The android platform has it. Is this one of those things apple want’s to keep control of an therefore doesn’t allow app makers to make a functional call blocker app?
    Did I mention the android has a lot of these nice features.

  • Larry R.

    Why the iPhone doesn’t allow Call Blocking:

    “The AT&T Smart Limit for Wireless feature is available for only $4.99/month (per line). You can add up to 30 phone numbers to the Blocked Numbers list for each line subscribed. This online service is recommended for parents, individuals or seniors.”

    • Raymond

      OK, I understand AT&T is the hurdle because they want to sell you that crap, but that’s US. But why do users in other countries need to put up with that as well? Why not give them the feature in iOS?
      Well, luckily we can jailbreak and use some useful apps without restrictions. Thanks to JB community for making our phones useful.

      • otto

        your just as bad breaking the law

        • http://gravatar.com/sanguinecross1 matt

          it’s not against the law to jailbreak an Iphone. google things.

          • Jeane

            Jail breaking voids your warranty and apple won’t honor it period.

    • Rob

      Screw AT&FEE Maybe we should smart limit the money we pay them and switch to someone who doesn’t restrict every God forsaken thing in the name of bleeding their customers dry..

      • otto

        my man pots and pans now your speakin my lang

    • otto

      why pay?

    • Tori

      4.99$ a mo means 60 bucks a year, for blocking one call a day. Quite expensive my dear, when you think that for that money you can host whole websites and run an efficient businesses with it instead of swatting a measly mosquito a day.

  • Rick

    Its not enough we get raped $120+ a month, had MORE features on OLDER phones, and paid LESS. AT&T and Apple: Cut. It. Out. Stop squeezing every penny out of people who aren’t a part of the “more-money-flowing-in-than-we-care-to-count” club. Some of us rage at the idea of paying for privacy when we know you wouldn’t pay it yourselves, and had it before! You folks (AT&T and Apples iOS limitations because of “security” (bullsh*t)) need to stop helping make America (and everywhere else) the bullsh*t world it’s becoming. Anyone remember the old recording when ailing *60 “This is your call block service, which is on. Your list contains ___ numbers. ”
    This is partly why we jailbreak.

    • Halloween_Jack

      Switch to a different carrier. Yelling at AT&T on a message board won’t affect their bottom line and therefore won’t change their behavior; sending your money to someone else will.

    • rafiano1

      AT&T ISNT THE ONLY ONE THAT DOES THIS VERIZON TOO!I WOULDNT DOUBT T MOBILE & OTHER DO TOO!

    • http://www.facebook.com/joel.montes.524 Joel Montes

      Get an unlocked iPhone and pay $25 like me.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jess-Smith/100004239061682 Jess Smith

      If someone isn’t forcing you to have sex with them you are not getting raped. So at least you have that…

  • Sarah

    I have an online account with Verizon so I decided to utilize their blocking. However, you can only block up to 5 numbers. These random Seattle (360-460-xxxx and 360-461-xxxx) telemarketers keep calling. I have blocked 2 numbers so far with only 3 available blocks left. I feel like I have done almost everything (except jailbreaking my phone and spending $12) to prevent them from calling. Not once have I answered these unknown numbers. I simply do not answer numbers I don’t recognize. I also do not have my voicemail set up so they cannot leave messages. It’s very frustrating not having the ability to block unwanted numbers through the phone itself without spending $12. If they continue to call from different numbers and I’m sure they will, I may give in to spending that $12. Hopefully Apple comes out with something before then!

  • drbrucehoag

    In my searches for an easy way to block unwanted callers, I came across some software, which quite frankly, sounded a lot more complicated than it needed to be and much loss functional. 
     
    But, one of the features sounded better than creating a silent tone, and I’d like you opinion on it. The idea i that the program would answer the phone, but then play three beeps – the sound you’d get if the call didn’t go through.
     
    Instead of creating a silent tone, do you think that a three-beep recording would be more effective?
     
    Cheers, Bruce

    • http://christophermeinck.com Christopher Meinck

      The silent ringtone available on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/everythingicafe, means you won’t be interrupted at all. It will show up as a missed call.

  • MyTwoCents

    I just downloaded YouMail since I am not going to jailbreak my phone. I hit ditch by their entry in my call log and WHALAA they get whatever greeting I choose… Which in telemarketing cases it’s “this number is not in service” and they can’t leave a voicemail. If its a blocked # they get “the caller doesn’t accept blocked numbers” and they can’t leave a message. It still rings but it’s because I have. It set up a silent tone lol. I refuse to pay at&t for blocking when I could do it for free with all my previous phones.

    • Tori

      I don’t like the YouMail smallprint. They collect your data, may send you junk themselves and collect data of calls you receive, plus they handle your messages!

  • Mina

    YouMail does the same thing

  • TMDT

    This is all fine if you want to block calls indefinitely, I have business and want to block customers from calling between certain hours, Im looking at moving from android to iphone and if i do i suppose ill just turn it to vibrate only, i have my android rooted with blacklist at the moment but need to change for other reasons.
    I agree that it a money making p.o.s but havent companies been doing this for years now! what are you going to do, only complain…. but i aggree

    • otto

      do like chris meinck says

  • dgoi

    So, in other words, it’s Apple preventing iPhone’s from being blocked of unknown, restricted and telemarketer calls. Hmm, sounds a bit under-the-table on Apples part. Curious to know what hand they have in this. An iPhone 5 jailbreak phone for me it is!

    • otto

      come on use your brain

  • dgoi

    “On your device, go to Phone > Recent Calls > Select the arrow at
    the right. Edit them as a new contact, scroll down and set their
    ringtone to the newly synced ‘iPhone Silent Ringtone’. Press ‘Done’. When they call again, you won’t be interrupted. Your display will light up, but that’s the worst of it.” Ummm… Christopher, you cannot edit “unknown” calls …this advice doesn’t help does it??

  • Gigi

    YouMail is very effective. I created a contact named “Ignore” and set it to receive a disconnected message, then be ditched. When i get an unwanted call, i add the number to that contact. My phone still rings before they get the message, but they stop calling after they get it once or twice.

    • IndyDan

      Gigi – did you create your own “disconnected message”. Wondering how to do that, ringtone??

  • jeff

    Verizon and AT&T charge monthly fees ranging from $5-$10 for a call blocking feature. Apple is under contractual obligations with Verizon and AT&T and therefore will not allow a call blocking app on the iphone.

    I pay the $5 fee to Verizon each month but have now reached my maximum number of 20 blocked numbers. I would be okay with paying the $5 fee if it was worthwhile but the service stinks. I receive daily phone calls from foreign companies pushing their illegal prescriptions.

    My Blackberry had apps like Call Control and Numbercop that stored thousands of known telemarketing numbers and blocked them all from coming through. Wake up IPHONE!!!! Please provide us with an option to stop this harassment!

  • Doug

    all android phones have a reject caller feature and no limit on numbers. no ring no voice mail no sms just shows as a missed call. this alone sold me on android.

    • Terry

      Almost enough to get me to drop the iPhone.

      • Hcee

        Exactly! I’ve been using call blocker apps on android for years and free. This alone sold me to android.

        • Alice

          I have two phones to upgrade and I was planning on iPhones. Now I am thinking g android! Can I still get voice to text on android?
          Will it sync with iCloud and iMac and iPad?

          • http://www.everythingicafe.com Christopher Meinck

            Voice to text works well on Android. You will not be able to sync with iCloud. Your contacts and calendars would sync with your Gmail account. You can sync them to Calendar and contacts on your Mac.

  • robertswww

    After setting the ringtone to ‘silent-ringtone’ also set the vibration to ‘None’ (at the bottom of the list). Every time you get a new spam number calling, select it and choose ‘Add to Existing Contact’ so all the spam numbers are associated with only 1 ‘spam caller’ entry in your Contacts list.

  • Steve

    When the call comes through the first.time..keep it to contacts and give it a name and a special ring or no ring. I have one called IGNORE and another Collector. I can tell you the others but I would be censored.

  • Michael

    Go to do not disturb in settings choose only allow contacts and then remove the person from your contact list …. Easy no apps required no money spent !

  • Michele

    I agree that the phone companies are taking in the $$$ for iPhone plans; but I find it ironic that some are whining about paying $12 for an app to solve the problem…Seriously?!? It’s a bargain to be relieved of the annoying calls!

  • SgtBilko

    ***We have a winner*** Michael above gets my BRAVO vote for noting that ‘do not disturb’ allows a setting to be on continuously and then an option to allow only calls from the contact list. The only rings you get will be from people on your list. Wow.

  • Mark

    I like Michael’s idea, but I have 5,000 contacts and 4 people I want to block. Any suggestions?

  • Ivanka

    How do I block/ blacklist a number from my iPhone 5

  • http://gravatar.com/arthurb13 arthurb13

    There was this application on android ‘my number’ which did the trick. All what you guys wanted.

    It was also available on Iphone. The little detail is that it is available still ONLY in the US. For Canada, it is not.

    If I wanted that app, which I do, I would have to go to the U.S. and change my chip, load it, and then change it back here in Canada? Not sure if it would work though.

    Do you guys know how to install apps that are only available in other countries?

  • Oman

    A nice app on JB is ‘360mobilesafe’
    It is free and works very well.
    Unfortnately did not work after updating to ios 6.

  • Sandy

    Sorry that you guys have so many problems with ditching those pesky telemarketers. Maybe you should consider changing to Andoid where you can use either You Mail or Mr. Number (which saved my life during election time since I could block all those stupid calls). I have all the features of IOS6 on my Galaxy Note including a Siri alternative that works just fine by the way and I didn’t have to drink the kool-aid to get them. The play store has all the apps you could want, most of which are also on IOS, so there is no reason not to try Android and lower your stress levels by a whole lot and block all those unwanted calls.

  • NoMan

    Unfortunately, Apple’s policy appears to be that iPhone owners MUST receive phone calls from telemarketers, violent ex-boyfriends, child molesters and anyone else who insists on calling you or your children. In the Android world, there is also an excellent app called “Mr. Numbers” that does what iBlacklist does and more. It’s free (at least it was when I was an Android user). If you go through the FAQ’s on their website, they address the question, “why don’t you have a version for the iPhone.” Their response is that Apple refuses to allow them the access they need to make the app work.

    There’s no good reason the iPhone doesn’t have this feature, other than Apples refusal to recognize the need for such a feature on their phone, or from an app in the App store. It may also have something to do with the fact that some carriers (Verizon being one of them) allow you to block a small amount of numbers, after which you have to pay for the privilege.

  • Sharond

    You’re right. I am switching phones and carriers.

  • Srikeback

    Quite frankly I believe that just blocking telemarketers is of limited use. I prefer an app or feature that would actually cost these guys real money when they call me. For example I remember a case where a jilted ex-girlfriend got hold of her ex’s phone and dialed a really long distance phone number like a weather service and just walked away. He got a few thousand $ phone bill that month.

    There must be a way to call-forward these numbers so they end up paying for it :-) and you will see how fast this irritating and intimidating practice will stop. Lets put our heads together and come up with a real solution!!!

  • Alice

    AT&T just confirmed that their Smart Limits application will NOT block text messages from iPhone to iPhone because it is an Apple program. So this leaves us unable to block harassing texts between immature Tweens who all have iphones

  • srichards

    Mr. Number is not available any longer and 360mobile is only for JB iphones.

  • EverythingApple

    Just saw this after checking out the Firmware section. Greta advice. I had iBlacklist but didn’t know if it really worked, so I deleted it. I think I’ll re-install it and pay the hefty $12.

    Great forum and advice – shared on my FB page.