Tuesday Tip: How to block a phone number

How to block a phone number

Scammers, telemarketers, robocalls. There are a lot of different reasons why you might want to block certain numbers. Luckily, there are ways to do it on Android and iOS phones. They take a bit of tapping, but it’s worth a few minutes’ trouble to block those annoying calls.

Do not call list
If you’re not already on the National Do Not Call Registry, this is the first step you should take to cut down on unwanted calls. Registrations on the registry don’t expire, so if you’ve registered already, no need to do it again. If you don’t remember whether you’ve registered or not, go to the registry site and you can check to see if you have. You’ll be asked to give an email address to confirm your registration, or you can call 1-888-382-1222 from the phone you want to register.

Your phone number will be added to the registry in 24 hours, but it will take up to 31 days for all sales calls to stop. If calls keep coming after 31 days, you can file a complaint. Even if your number is registered, some organizations may still call you, including charities, political organizations and phone surveyors. For a list of who may still call you, read the registry FAQs.

The method for blocking calls will vary according to your device and the version of Android you’re running. Some versions of Android Lollipop and older Android versions don’t include the call-blocking feature. But stock Android devices running Android 6.0 Marshmallow and subsequent operating systems do let you block numbers from within the Dialer or Phone app.

(Don’t know your phone’s operating system? Open Settings, tap About Phone or About Device, then tap Android Version to display your phone’s version.)

If you’re running Marshmallow or Nougat, open the Dialer, go to your recent calls, find the number you want to block and select Block/Report Spam. (If you don’t want to report the number as spam, you can uncheck that box.) Then tap Block.

If you’re running Lollipop, open the Phone app and select Call Settings > Call Rejection > Auto Reject List. Type in the number or search for it, select it and you’re finished.

If you use Messenger for messaging, tap the name or number that sent you the message on your message list and select Block/Report Spam. To block numbers within Contacts, open Messenger, select Menu > Blocked Contacts > Add a Number and enter the number you want to block.

When you block a number from sending you texts, FaceTime or voice calls, that number will be automatically blocked from doing all three.

To block a number that called you, open the Phone app and select Recent. Find the number you want to block and click the I in the circle next to it. You’ll then see information about the call and actions you can take. Scroll down and select Block this Caller.

If you’re blocking a number in your Contacts list, go to Settings > Phone > Call Blocking & Identification > Block Contact. This will bring up the list. Scroll through and select the numbers you want to block. You can also block a number via Settings > Messages > Blocked > Add New.

If you’re getting texts from a number not in your Contacts list, iOS requires that you add the number to your Contacts list before you can block it. Tap the number/image at the top of the screen, then Create New Contact and follow the steps above. If you have an older version of iOS, tap the I in the circle at the upper right of the screen, then tap Block this Caller > Block Contact.

To block people on FaceTime, open the app, find the most recent FaceTime call you had, then tap the I in the circle next to it. You’ll see information about the call and actions to take. Scroll down to Block this Caller. If it’s a person already in your Contacts, go to Settings > FaceTime > Blocked > Add New and select the name you want to block.

Phone blocking
Many manufacturers include an option to block numbers that is integrated into the phone. Here are brief instructions for several popular manufacturers. These will work with most but not all phones made by these manufacturers.

Open the Phone app and then open the Log. Select the number you want to block, then More > Block. You can select Call Block and Message Block. If the number is in your contacts, open the Phone app, select More > Settings > Call Blocking and add the number to be blocked.

Open the Phone app, select Call History, choose the number, then select Block Contact or Block Caller.

Open the Phone app, select Menu > Settings > Call Reject > Reject Calls From and add the number.

If you prefer video instructions for call blocking, there are many YouTube videos that will show you how. Just search your operating system or your phone model.