Blocking a phone number from calling you should be fairly simple in 2013, but it still isn’t. Android doesn’t have a completely integrated blocking solution, and carriers don’t generally offer this basic service for free.
Luckily, there are a variety of ways to block calls anyway, whether you’re dealing with telemarketers that won’t stop calling or other annoying people that just won’t leave you alone.
Integrated Phone Number-Blocking Options
Google doesn’t build the capability to block calls into Android. However, some manufacturers add this feature to their custom skins. For example, some Samsung phones include this feature.
To use this feature, open the Phone app on a Samsung phone, tap the Menu button, and navigate to Call settings -> Call rejection -> Auto reject list. You can check the Unknown option to automatically reject all calls from “Unknown” numbers or tap the Create button and add individual phone numbers you want to block to the list.
Silence Calls or Send Calls to Voicemail
Android does provide a way to have specific numbers always go to your voicemail or play a silent ringtone that won’t disturb you if your phone is in your pocket.
If you set up this feature, you may still end up with voicemails from the number. However, if they’re a telemarketer, they likely won’t leave you a voicemail — so this feature may be more than good enough for blocking the most annoying telemarketers. If someone’s constantly leaving you voicemail messages, this won’t stop them.
To use this feature, just add the number you want to block to your contacts. You can do this by opening the Dialer app, swiping over to the history tab, and tapping the number. Tap the Add to contacts option and the number will be added to your phone’s contacts.
Go through the contact-adding process and name the contact. You could also add a contact manually, not from the dialer — just ensure the contact is associated with the phone number you want to block.
Once you’re done, go into the People app and tap the contact you added. Tap the menu button and select All calls to voicemail to automatically send the number’s calls to voicemail or tap Set ringtone and select None to associate the caller with a silent ringtone.
Block Calls With a Third-Party App
If you actually want to block calls and this feature isn’t integrated into your phone, you may want to try using a third-party app like Mr. Number. You can use apps like this one to automatically hang up on calls, effectively blocking them and preventing them from even getting to your voicemail.
Note that third-party call blocking apps always seem to have some mixed reviews. They don’t appear to work well for some people, and this may depend on your specific Android phone. If the above app doesn’t work for you, you may want to try another call-blocking app from Google Play.
Use Google Voice
If you’re a Google Voice user, you have the ability to block calls from your Google Voice settings. Google Voice will play a message saying the number has been disconnected, so this may even fool telemarketers and other annoying callers into removing you from their spam lists.
Just log in to your Google Voice account online, locate the recent caller you want to block, click the More link, and select Block caller.
Can Your Carrier Help?
Carriers have the ability to block calls, but they often don’t make it easy. Like almost every other service they offer, it will probably cost you additional money. Some carriers may help you block calls if you contact them, some may direct you to their paid services, and some may say it isn’t possible. This all varies from carrier to carrier, so you’ll need to check your carrier’s website or call them and ask what services they offer.
In most situations, you’re probably better off blocking calls on your own end rather than dealing with your carrier, especially if you don’t want to pay any additional monthly fees.
Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.
- Published 08/26/13