Protect your privacy: Block incoming or outgoing calls

Most smartphones block incoming phone numbers to prevent you from getting spam calls or other calls you don’t want. Another option available is to block your own caller ID from being displayed on the recipient’s device.

Sometimes operating systems hide these features deep in the settings. Also, different carriers offer various options for blocking numbers, so this feature is not always completely dependent on the operating system.

Block incoming phone numbers

All major mobile phone operating systems offer a way to block incoming phone numbers.

Apple iOS phones

You can block numbers from the Recents section of your phone, from FaceTime, or from Messages. Blocking one number from one area blocks all three. From each area:

  1. Tap the “i” icon next to the phone (or conversation) number.
  2. Select Block this call at the bottom of the Information screen.

Three iOS screens showing the i (information) button, Block this call button, and Block contact confirmation

To view and manage blocked numbers:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Tap Phone.
  3. Tap Call Blocking and Identification .
  4. Next, select a phone number to view its details and select to add or unblock the number or contact, or add a contact to block by scrolling to the bottom of all blocked numbers and choosing Block contact . This step launches the Contacts app so you can select who to block.

You can also filter your iMessages from people who are not in your contact list. After you have filtered at least one message, a new tab for Unknown Senders is displayed. You will still receive the messages, but they will not be displayed automatically and you will not receive any notifications.

To filter iMessages:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. 2. Touch Messages.
  3. Scroll to and tap Unknown & Spam.
  4. Turn on Filter unknown senders .

android phones

Since many manufacturers produce phones (Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, LG, etc.) that run the Android operating system, the procedure for blocking a number can vary widely. Also, versions of Android Marshmallow and earlier do not offer this feature natively. If you’re running an older version like this, your carrier may support it, or you can block a number using an app.

To see whether or not your carrier supports phone locking:

  1. Open your Phone app .
  2. Select the number you want to block.
  3. Tap Details .
  4. If your carrier supports blocking, you’ll have a menu item called “Block Number” or “Reject Call” or perhaps “Add to Blacklist.”

If you don’t have the option to block a call, you may be able to at least send a call to voicemail:

  1. Open your Phone app .
  2. 2. Touch Contacts.
  3. 2. Tap on a name.
  4. Tap the pencil icon to edit the contact.
  5. Select the menu.
  6. Select All calls to voicemail.

Depending on your carrier and Android version, you may need to install a separate app to handle call blocking features. Open the Google Play Store and search for “call blocker”. Some well-regarded apps are Call Blocker Free, Mr. Number, and Safest Call Blocker. Some are free and display ads, while others offer a premium version with no ads.

Caller ID blocking of your own number

In addition to controlling incoming calls using call blocking, you can also control whether an outgoing call will display your caller ID. This capability can be configured to work as a permanent block or a temporary block on every call.

Your phone number cannot be blocked when you call toll-free numbers (for example, 1-800) and emergency services (for example, 911).

Call blocking per call from caller ID

Just add the *67 prefix before your mobile phone number. This code is the universal command to disable caller ID.

For example, making a blocked call would be like *67 555 555 555 5555 . At the receiving end, the caller ID will normally show “private number” or “unknown”. Although you won’t hear or see a confirmation of a successful Caller ID block, it will work.

Permanent Caller ID Block

  1. Call your cell phone company and ask for a block of lines to permanently suppress your phone number on outgoing caller ID. This change is permanent and irreversible. Although customer service may try to convince you to reconsider, the decision is yours. Various carriers support additional blocking features, such as blocking specific numbers or messages. Although the code to call your cell phone company may vary, 611 typically works for cell phone customer service in the United States and Canada.
  2. If you want your number to appear temporarily when you have a permanent line block in place, dial *82 before the number. For example, allowing your number to appear in this case would be like *82 555 555 555 5555 . Some people automatically reject calls from phones that block Caller ID. In that case, you will need to allow Caller ID in order to make the call.

Hide your number on an Android device

Most Android phones offer a Caller ID blocking feature in the phone’s settings, available through the phone app or Settings | Application Information | Phone . Some versions of Android prior to Marshmallow include this feature in an Additional Settings option within your phone’s settings.

Hide your number on an iPhone

On iOS, the call blocking feature is located in the phone settings:

  1. Open Settings | Phone .
  2. Press Show My Caller ID .
  3. Use the toggle to show or hide your number.