Overwhelmed by spam calls and unwanted messages? We show you how to block calls on iPhone, Android and WhatsApp
Unwanted PPI, injury claim or PC virus phone calls seem to be out of control, and with all of our personal details being logged, sold on and probably stolen by nefarious hackers, there seems to be no way out when it comes to spam calls. If you’re getting repeated calls from an unwanted number, be it someone you know who you don’t want to talk to, or an over-the-phone fraudster, all three of the major smartphone operating system providers have solutions. We’ll take you through how to block phone calls on your iPhone and Android phones.
Block calls through your mobile network
The solutions we outline below won’t stop people from being able to leave you messages via your answerphone/voicemail. It also won’t prevent people from contacting you via other means, such as WhatsApp. We’ll go through that below.
If you are getting repeated calls from a phone number, Ofcom advises you contact your provider and report it to them. Different providers will handle this differently. You can see the policies of each of the major phone network providers via the links below. Using a phone’s call blocking function just prevents you from being notified about the call and the call being added to your call history log. None of the UK’s networks are able to block a specific number from calling your phone; they will simply let you change your phone number, sometimes for a fee.
Most importantly: if you are receiving calls you consider to be threatening, don’t simply block the caller, report it to the police. If you’re receiving calls from withheld numbers that are threatening, the police may be able to work with your mobile phone network to trace the call.
Three’s advice on malicious calls: Call the police if the caller makes a direct threat, otherwise call the non-emergency 101. Wait for the caller to speak first, and if it’s an automated message don’t make any number selections. Don’t share personal information, and don’t leave your name or number on your voicemail.
Vodafone’s advice: Register your number with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), which creates a central record of your preference not to receive unsolicited marketing calls. Text them your email address for free on 85095. Text CALL for free on 7726 to report nuisance calls. For abusive calls, fill out a pdf and send it to the Nuisance Call Bureau.
O2’s advice: Similar to Vodafone: Register your number with the TPS by texting your email address to 85095. For nuisance calls, text CALL to 7726.
EE’s advice: As above. Additionally, register complaints with the Information Commissioners Office, or report silent/recorded message calls to Ofcom by calling them on 0300 123 3333.
GiffGaff’s advice: Use number-blocking apps or change your phone number. If appropriate, report malicious calls to the police.
Tesco Mobile’s advice: For scam calls, get in touch with Action Fraud, and for nuisance calls phone 4455.
How to block calls and SMS on iPhone
It’s easy to block phone calls on your iOS-powered iPhone. Tap on the Phone app (the green handset icon) and tap the ‘Recents’ tab (see picture 1). Here you’ll see a list of all your recent inbound and outbound calls. Each call has an ‘i’ in a circle next to it. Find the call that you didn’t want to receive and tap the ‘i’ for that call. Now scroll down to the bottom of the page and tap ‘Block this caller’ (see picture 2).
You can also block people who haven’t called you yet. Go to Settings and scroll down to Phone. Tap on the ‘Blocked’ button (see picture 3) and you’ll see a list of all the numbers you’ve blocked. This will also prevent you from receiving FaceTime and SMS messages.
To unblock any number on this list, tap the ‘Edit’ button the top-right and then tap the red symbol next to the number you want to unblock and then tap Unblock. You can also unblock a number by finding it the Recents menu and tapping the ‘i’ icon as before and scrolling down to ‘Unblock’.
How to use Do Not Disturb for iPhone to silence unwanted nuisance calls
Blocking calls from nuisance numbers isn’t completely reliable as scammers tend to change numbers fairly often. A better method is to silence calls from numbers not in your contacts list, using Do Not Disturb. Go to Settings and select ‘Do Not Disturb’. Toggle ‘Manual’ mode to on and ensure ‘Allow Calls From’ is enabled for your contacts. You’ll still receive calls from everyone, but only calls from contacts will vibrate the phone and activate the ringer.
The Repeated Calls function is a handy one; scammers don’t tend to call multiple times in quick succession so if someone who isn’t in your contacts is trying to call you in an emergency you’ll get a proper call notification if they call twice or more in succession.
How to block calls on an Android phone
This can differ on a phone-by-phone basis but on the stock Android Oreo OS it’s a fairly simple process. Simply go to your phone’s dialler app (the phone icon). When faced with the list of incoming and outgoing calls simply tap the ‘i’ icon (image 1) next to the particular phone number you want to block. From there, click the three dots icon and select ‘Add to blacklist’ (image 2) to block the number. You can view your blocklist by going back to the ingoing/outgoing list, tapping the three dots icon, and selecting ‘Blocked’ (image 3).
How to block someone in WhatsApp
On both iPhone and Android, go to your list of chats, tap the person you want to block and then select the ‘i’ button to go to their profile. From there, scroll down and select ‘Block’. Simple enough, really.