There are all sorts of reasons to block a number: an ex who won’t stop calling, telemarketers who can’t take a hint, scammers, or an aunt who wants to check in and see why you’re still not married.
When your phone has buzzed one more time than you can take, you know it’s time to block that number. But how? Here are the steps to take by popular operating systems and carriers.
Do Not Call
The first way to reduce the number of unwanted calls coming to your phone is to put yourself into the National Do Not Call Registry. On the site, you can register your phone number or check if your digits are already there. On DoNotCall.gov, you can register up to three phone numbers at once. You’ll also need to include an email address, as you’ll need to confirm your registration. You can also call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone you want to register.
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 they persist in calling, you can file a complaint.
You can also download an app like RoboKiller that blocks telemarketers and robocallers (and even deploys answer bots that pester them).
Don’t expect this to end unwanted calls, though. Robocalls are still rampant and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has asked mobile carriers to help cut down on them by implementing an authentication system. Until then, here are other steps you can take to reduce your phone ringing off the hook.
Note: If you block someone from sending you texts, FaceTime, or voice calls, they will be automatically blocked from doing all three things.
To block a number that called you, go into the Phone app, and select Recent. Find the number and click the I in the circle next to it (). You’ll get a screen with information about the call and actions to take; scroll down to Block This Caller.
If you’re blocking someone in your Contacts lists, go to Settings > Phone > Call Blocking & Identification. Scroll all the way to the bottom and tap Block Contact. That will bring up your contacts list, and you can scroll through and select those you want to block. You can also get there via Settings > Messages > Blocked > Add New.
To block someone from a text, tap the number on the top of the screen, which will produce a drop-down menu with three options: Audio, FaceTime, and Info. Tap Info. You’ll see the number, a phone icon, and an arrow. Tap the arrow, and then you can scroll down and click Block This Caller.
If you think they’ll sneak a peek at you with FaceTime, go to that app, find the last FaceTime conversation you had with them, and click the I in the circle next to it (). You’ll get a screen with information about the call and actions to take; scroll down to Block This Caller. If it’s someone in your Contacts, go to Settings > FaceTime > Blocked > Add New, and select the name or names to block.
In related news: If you think you’ve been blocked, signs include being sent directly to voicemail for calls, never seeing the “Delivered” message appear under your iMessage, and having your text turn green (as opposed to blue) when you’re messaging other iOS users. These things can also happen if the person you’re trying to contact does not have a connection, so don’t freak out right away. But if it’s been awhile and you’re still not getting through…
Android allows phone makers some freedom when it comes to customization, so if you have an Android device, the process for blocking a number might vary from device to device.
In general, though, if you have a newer Android device, you should be able to tap the phone number and either scroll to the bottom to block the call, or tap the ellipsis icon () and select Block number.
Blocking a number on the Galaxy S8 (left) and OnePlus 5T
Older Android OSes will have different interfaces. On Android Lollipop, go to the Phone app and select Call Settings > Call Rejection (ouch) > Auto Reject List. Type in the number or search for it, select it, and you’re done.
For Marshmallow or Nougat, open Dialer, go to your recent calls list, find the number you want to block and select Block/Report Spam. (If you don’t want to report the number as spam, you can uncheck the box.) Then tap Block.
If robocalls are your biggest problem, here are a few solutions for blocking them, and some options if you’re being inundated with spam text messages.