How to Block Unwanted Phone Calls

block calls
Spam and telemarketing calls are super annoying. But you can block them from your phone. Flashpop/Getty Images

Getting unwanted phone calls can totally disrupt your day. And answering repeated calls from telemarketers or robocallers is a waste of time. While you can certainly stop answering the phone, or download call-blocking apps such as Nomorobo, there's another way to handle the problem.

One way you can cut down on these unwanted calls is to block the offending phone numbers from calling you again. Most phones include a call-blocking feature. How you block a number depends on the type of phone you have.


To help you figure out how to block a number with your phone, we've broken it down by the most common phone systems in use today.


Blocking a number on an iPhone is fairly straightforward. And you can block incoming voice calls, or via FaceTime or the Messages app. Here's how:

After a call comes in, tap the "i" icon next to the phone number (or contact) you wish to block. Scroll all the way down and select "Block this Caller" to complete the process.


If you prefer to just avoid unwanted calls outright, you can also silence calls from unknown callers. To do this, go to "Settings" and select "Phone" and turn on "Silence Unknown Callers." This option will send calls from phone numbers that aren't in your contacts directly to voicemail.


Considering how Android is open to customization, blocking a number can vary depending on the device and manufacturer. In general, devices running the most current version of Android can block numbers by selecting a phone number from a contact's page.

When selecting a phone number, hold down on the selection to bring up a drop-down menu. From here, select "Block/report spam" to block the number.


From a contact's page, just click on the ellipsis icon at the top of the page. Then, select "Block Number" from the drop-down menu.


Since landlines don't have all the features of smartphones, the process for blocking phone numbers is dependent on third parties. That means you can either go through your phone provider or buy a call-blocking device.

However, provider offers can vary greatly. Some providers may have services for blocking calls, while others may send suspicious calls directly to voicemail. Your best bet is to discuss the options with your phone company to find out what they offer.


If you'd prefer not to go through your phone provider, installing a call-blocking device might be worth considering. These small devices use a directory of scam numbers to determine calls to block. If spam calls do get through, you can add the offending numbers to the directory. In addition to adding numbers, these devices allow you to create lists of approved numbers and set up "do not disturb" hours, where all calls go to voicemail.

National Do Not Call Registry

Of course, adding and blocking every single spam call can be tedious. If you want to avoid that altogether, why not just let the people making those unwanted calls know they can't? That's where the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)'s National Do Not Call Registry has you covered. According to the FTC, the Do Not Call Registry is "a list that tells telemarketers what numbers not to call." Registering your number is free and all you need to do is visit the website or call 888-382-1222 to sign up. Although it only takes 24 hours for your number to be added, it can take up to 31 days for the unwanted calls to stop. Your number will stay on the Registry as long as it's active or until you request it be removed.

Since the FTC has no power to block your number, you may receive calls from those who ignore the list. If you still get spam calls and you're on the Do Not Call Registry, you can file a complaint with the FTC.