Mara writes, "Help me Deemable Tech, you’re my only hope! I keep getting calls on my smartphone from a strange number. When I pick up, no one is there. Is there any way I can block this annoyance?"
We’ve got good news for you, Mara: most smartphones these days have solid call blocking features.
Blocking Calls On Android
Most Android phones, depending on the model and carrier, should have some built-in features that will help you block calls. In the Settings menu, look for a sub-menu named “Call” or something similar. Tap that, and you will find a “Blocked Calls” menu. Some phones (like the Samsung Galaxy S3) also give you the option to simply block all unknown numbers.
If blocking a phone number entirely seems too drastic for you, there is an alternative. When you’re viewing a contact on most Android phones, there is a settings option to send calls from that contact straight to your voicemail.
There are also a lot of call-blocking apps available in the Google Play Store, which you can find by searching “call blocker.” We recommend the free app Mr. Number, because it makes blocking calls and performing reverse phone number lookups easy. It also displays where unwanted calls are coming from, which is a nice bonus.
Blocking Calls On iPhone
Before the release of iOS 7, it wasn’t possible to block calls on an iPhone. Now it’s a built in feature.
To block calls from one of your contacts, open their contact card and scroll to the “Block This Caller” link at the bottom. Tapping that will allow you to block that person’s phone calls, Facetime calls and text messages.
If you want to block someone who is not in your contact list, open the Phone app and go to the “Recent Phone Calls” list. Find the phone number you want to block, and find the icon next to the number that looks like a circle with a lowercase "i" in it. Tap that, and scroll to the bottom and to find the “Block This Caller” link.
If you’re still running an older version of iOS, like iOS 6, you won’t have this feature. Unfortunately, there also aren’t any apps that you can use to block calls, because iPhone apps don’t have access to the dialer. To work around this, you could create a contact for an unwanted number with a name like “Ignore This,” and download a silent ringtone for that number. However, we recommend just upgrading to iOS 7 if your phone supports it.