Block Unknown Calls to Your Mobile

16th Mar 2021

It relates to ‘Silence Unknown Callers’ on iPhone and ‘Block Unwanted Calls’ on Android. We’ve previously covered this topic and recorded helpful videos on this web page. We have realised that these settings can be better explained. We hope you’ll read this and give them a try

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For iPhone users

If you suffer from too many callers getting through on your iPhone and interrupting your day, then you should really give this a try. You can always go back if it doesn’t work out for you, but think of it as worthwhile experiment which is free to setup and could make your life more peaceful.

Silence Unknown Callers was a feature which was embedded in iOS 13 in September 2019.  If you would like to try this feature out, you will have to update your iPhone to iOS14 if you have an earlier version.

It’s easy to find the setting and have a look at it in your life:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Find and select Phone from the list of options.
  3. Scroll down until you find Silence Unknown Callers and slide the switch from default greyed out Off position to the green On position.

Have a read of the text underneath the button which explains what it is.

The text explains the intelligence that goes beyond just blocking all unknown numbers.  The default setting for this feature is ‘Off’, so that all your incoming calls will get through to you, including those from your doctor or plumber or child’s school. If you get used to the idea of adding a name for those callers to your Contacts, then using this feature will become a lot easier because they will still get through to you next time they call.

Once you have turned this feature on, all unknown numbers will be sent straight to your voicemail and won’t get through to disturb you. They will appear in your ‘recent missed calls’. To start with you may well end up listening to more voicemails than you have done for a while. If it was a genuinely useful call then you can add the number to your Contacts before you call them back. They will get straight through in the future. You will be amazed just how few of those callers leave a voice message. This might be an indication that they will try again later if it is important – or that there was no real value to you in the call and they will give up and try someone else. We would count that as a win!

Unknown call numbers which match recent calls you have made will be allowed through, as this feature recognises those numbers as being previously used for outbound calls.

The line about “Siri Suggestions” relates to the Apple assistant and lets you know that it will look through the Apple Mail, Text Messages or Contact apps (where you have given permission) to see if it can find a match for who might be making the call. This is a pretty nifty feature if the number is unknown but Siri identifies that it is “maybe XYZ Solicitors” from an email exchange you shared.

There are more advanced steps you can take if this problem is even more annoying. They involve dedicated call blocking apps that you use to route all your calls through.  Additionally we have written before about the movement towards the STIR/SHAKEN protocols across the world and their adoption by the major phone carriers (EE, O2, BT). We will update you as this story develops.

So there it is. Give it a try and share with us your experiences on how it went.

Note you can read the Apple article on this feature here:

For Android users

 

If you suffer from too many callers getting through on your Android mobile phone and interrupting your day, then you should really give this a try. You can always go back if it doesn’t work out for you, but you should think of it as worthwhile experiment that is free to setup and could make your life more peaceful.

Not all Android devices work the same way and features work differently across manufacturers, but this method for the Samsung Galaxy J8 will serve as decent template for you. (Search “Block Cold Calls + Your Android” to get the version that will work for your specific handset).

  1. Tap the phone icon on your Android, which is usually at the bottom of the home screen.
  2. Tap the three dots at the top of the Phone app screen.
  3. Tap “Settings” in the dropdown menu.
  4. Tap “Block numbers” and then toggle the button beside “Block unknown callers” to green.

Huawei devices will have a screen like this:

The default setting for this feature is Off so that all calls get through to you. That allows important calls from your doctor or plumber or child’s school to reach you. If you get used to the idea of adding the name of those callers to your contacts then using this feature will become a lot easier because they will still get through to you next time they call – even when you have turned the block Strangers feature ‘On’.

Once enabled  all unknown numbers will be sent straight to your voicemail and won’t get through to disturb you. They will appear in your ‘call history’ list for you to make note of. To start with you may well end up listening to more voicemails than you have done for a while. If it was a genuinely useful call then you can add the number to your contacts before you call them back. They will then get straight through in future. You might also be amazed how few of those callers leave a voice message. This might be an indication that they will try again later if it is important – or that there was no real value to you in the call and they will give up and try someone else. We would count that as a win!

A good overview of the options for a wide range of Android handsets can be found here.  The article goes on to introduce a wide ranges of third party call blocking apps from the Play store.

IPS Summary

This capability in your handset has to be worth investigating if unwanted calls are causing you stress. Let us know how you get on in the comment section below.

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