How-To Geek

How To Blacklist Callers and Block Messages in iOS


Whether you can’t stand telemarketers, you have people you want to avoid, or you just want to filter who calls or messages you, there aren’t many options available for the iPhone. Enter iBlacklist, a jailbreak app that does it all.

Monthly Service

One of the main reasons to seek alternative call blocking options is because carriers charge for a sub-par service. AT&T requires a $5/month package and doesn’t even give you a convenient way to manage things. If you don’t have a jailbroken iPhone but you don’t mind paying monthly for a service, consider Trapcall. They have smartphone apps to help you manage your blocked callers for both iOS and Android, a web interface if you don’t, and they have blocked number lookup available. The base plan is $4.95/month, and the more expensive plans offer a voicemail system with transcription. If you’re going to pay monthly, you may as well get the most for your money.

Another method is to use Google Voice to manage your calls, but you don’t get a great integrated experience with the iPhone.

iBlacklist for Jailbroken iPhones

The best option for blacklisting is a jailbreak app from Cydia called iBlacklist. It costs $12 and comes with a free trial, but it’s more than worth it for the features it gives. You can choose to block calls, text messages, FaceTime requests, enable an auto-reply with SMS feature, and even prevent outgoing calls. It actually can work really well for parents to curb their kids’ bad habits, too, or to auto-block/auto-reply during work or other busy times. If you’re curious, install it. The free trial isn’t restricted, so try it out.

Once it’s installed and you restarted your iPhone, open up iBlacklist.

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As you can see, it’s packed full with tons of options. First, tap on Blacklists.

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Here you can create, edit, and remove lists of people. Each list can be configured for different options, too. Tap on the General blacklist, then tap the plus sign to add a number.

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Here you can numbers from various places in your phone and choose a name to display. You can also manually enter the number. Once you’ve done this, scroll down a bit.

Below that, you’ll find on/off switches for different options, AutoReply SMS settings, and what action to perform when that number comes up. Tap on AutoReply SMS settings to type a message.

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Here, you can configure separate auto-reply messages for calls and for SMS/MMSs. Hit Back and tap on Actions.

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You can send this person straight to voicemail, give him a permanent busy signal, or do nothing at all.

Scheduling Blacklists and Extra Options

Back out to the main menu and choose Scheduler.

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Here you can enable individual lists for specific times and days of the week.

From the main menu, you can choose Whitelists to block all calls except for those on a list.

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This is great for children, for example, if you’ve given them an old iPhone and you worry about who they’d speak to.

Under Call Settings, you’ll find a host of extra options for when you get calls from blacklisted numbers.

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You can turn on and off notifications, choose whether or not you want to save call history for them, and even block based on whether they chose to have their carrier mask their number.

Similarly, under Message Settings, you’ll find options for incoming blacklisted SMSs and MMSs.

Next, check out Extras.

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You can choose from a host of privacy settings, using badges, and turn on the Parental Control settings here.

You can even switch to a profile-based mode!

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You can create profiles where some blacklists or whitelists are active an others aren’t and then schedule them to automatically switch.

As you can see iBlacklist offers a host of options that your carrier can’t begin to replicate. For a one-time fee, it’s a great alternative that provides fine-tuned control for you. It’s easy enough to use for a few annoying callers, but powerful enough to manage your calls between work and home.

Unfortunately, I haven’t found a single up-to-date solution for the iPhone that’s free, but a low entry-fee is cheaper than a monthly subscription. Have another solution to get rid of pesky callers? Share with us in the comments!

Yatri Trivedi is a monk-like geek. When he's not overdosing on meditation and geek news of all kinds, he's hacking and tweaking something, often while mumbling in 4 or 5 other languages.

  • Published 06/9/11

Comments (3)

  1. Dina

    I’ve used iBlacklist for about 2 years now. Best $12 I EVER spent! It’s the 1st app I install after a restore.

  2. Tony

    Here’s a workaround for non-jailbreakers: Set the offending caller’s ringtone to a silent one. You can just search the big G for “silent ringtone .m4r.” Then set that caller’s ID to “spam.” Works well for me.

  3. Jim Rudnick

    Hmmm..what about the iPhone app — McCleaner?

    Much the same as above, but diff…and it’s free too!


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