How do I block a number on my iPhone?

12 May 2020, 11:17

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Being pestered by a particular caller? Assuming they aren’t hiding their phone number—in other words, you see their number rather than “Unknown Caller” when they ring—you can block them easily.

How to block callers on an iPhone: The basic method
This is best done just after you’ve been called, to avoid confusion and the risk of accidentally blocking the wrong number.

  1. After they’ve called, open the phone app if it isn’t already open and tap the Recents icon at the bottom.
  2. Their number should be the top in the list. Carefully tap the (i) icon at the right of their number’s entry in the list. If you tap too far to the left then you might find you accidentally call them! So take care.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the information that appears and tap Block This Caller. Then select Block Contact when prompted.

What the blocked caller sees
It should be noted that blocking a caller also blocks them from texting you, sending you iMessages, FaceTiming you and emailing you if they somehow email from their phone number (which is rare).

But it won’t block them from leaving you voicemails. To block them doing that you’ll need to speak to your cellular provider. Nor will it block them from contacting you in other apps like Skype, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. You’ll need to block them separately in those apps.

So, what do they experience when they try to call or message after you block them? Put simply, their attempts fall into a black hole. You will not be notified that they’re blocked. They simply hear the phone ring without being answered if they call, and then it will go through to voicemail. Any message they send to you appears to have been sent, but you won’t receive it.

Put simply, they will have no idea.

How to block “Unknown Callers” on the iPhone
The iPhone also offers a tool to block any contact who doesn’t identify themselves – the dreaded “Unknown Caller”.

This can block spammers/cold callers/marketers, but it can also block genuine calls from organisations like authorities or healthcare providers whose phone systems aren’t setup to reveal the number each time. Therefore, you should use this feature only when you’ve thought through whether it’s right for you.

Once the feature is activated, the caller will be sent straight to voicemail. They will still appear in your recent calls list in the phone app, though. The call just won’t ring out, and you won’t be notified when it happens.

To activate this feature, open the Settings app, then tap the Phone heading. Scroll down and tap the switch alongside Silence Unknown Callers.

When NOT to block
The block tools discussed above are strong measures designed for genuinely annoying situations. They shouldn’t be used if you simply want to temporarily stop an annoying friend from phoning you for a few hours, as an example. For that you should use a tool like Do Not Disturb.

How to unblock a caller on an iPhone
If you block a number by accident, you can unblock it easily. Open the Settings app, then tap the Phone heading. Scroll down and tap the Blocked Contacts heading. Find the number or contact you want to unblock, then tap and hold while sliding to the left. Then select Unblock.

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