How to Block Calls and Texts on iPhone

Only Talk to the People You Want With This Useful Feature

block calls illustration
image credit: manopjk/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Virtually everyone has some people in their lives they'd rather not talk to. Whether that's an ex, a former co-worker, or a persistent telemarketer, we'd all like to be able to block phone calls from these people. Luckily, if you've got an iPhone running iOS 7 or up, you can block calls, texts, and FaceTime.

In iOS 6, Apple introduced Do Not Disturb, a feature that lets you block all calls, alerts, and other bothers during defined time periods of time. This article isn't about that. Instead, it shows you how to block calls and texts from specific people, while letting everyone else get through to you.

How to Block Calls From Telemarketers and Others 

Whether the person you want not to hear from is in your Contacts app or is just a one-off call like a telemarketer, blocking a call is super easy. Just follow these steps:

  1. Tap the Phone app to open it.
  2. Tap the Recents menu at the bottom.
  3. Find the phone number that you want to block.
  4. Tap the I icon at the right.
  5. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and tap Block This Caller
  6. A menu pops up asking you to confirm the blocking. Either tap Block Contact to block the number or Cancel if you change your mind.

If you want to block a person that you haven't heard from recently, but who is listed in your Address Book or Contacts app, block them by following these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Phone.
  3. Tap Call Blocking & Identification.
  4. Scroll down to the bottom and tap Block Contact...
  5. Browse or search your contacts list for the person you want to block (remember, with these steps you can only block people who are in your address book).
  6. When you find them, tap their name.

On the Call Blocking & Identification screen, you'll see all of the things you've just blocked for this person: phone, email, etc. If you're happy with that setting, there's nothing else to do, nothing to save. That person is blocked.

NOTE: These steps also work to block calls and texts on the iPod touch and iPad. It's also possible for calls coming into your iPhone to show up on those devices. You can disable calls on those devices without blocking calls. Learn how in How to Stop Other Devices Ringing When You Get an iPhone Call.

Can You Block Calls in Older Versions of the iOS?

The instructions above only work if you're running iOS 7 and up. Unfortunately, there's no good way to block calls on your iPhone if you're running iOS 6 or earlier. Those versions of the OS don't have the feature built-in and third-party apps for blocking calls are ineffective. If you're on iOS 6 and want to block calls, your best bet is to contact your phone company to find out what call-blocking services they offer.

What Is Blocked

What types of communication are blocked depends on what information you have for this person in your address book.

  • If you have their phone number, they'll be blocked from calling you, placing FaceTime calls, or sending you texts from the phone number saved on your phone.
  • If you have their email address, they'll be blocked from texting you via iMessage or placing FaceTime calls using the blocked email address.

Whatever you block, the setting only applies to people using the built-in Phone, Messages, and FaceTime apps that come with the iPhone. If you use third-party apps for calling or texting, these settings won't block people from contacting you. Many calling and texting apps offer their own blocking features, so you may be able to block people in those apps with a little research.

Can You Block Email on Your iPhone?

If you really don't want to hear from someone at all, it's important to understand that blocking their calls and texts doesn't prevent them from emailing you. The call-blocking feature can't prevent emails, but there are some ways to prevent someone from emailing you—they're just not in the iOS. Check out these email-blocking tips for popular email services:

What Do Blocked People See?

One of the greatest things about this feature is that the people you've blocked have no idea you've done it. That's because when they call you, their call will go to voicemail. The same with their texts: they won't see any indication that their text didn't go through. To them, everything will seem normal. Even better? You can still call or text them if you want, without changing your block settings.

Don't get too complacent, though. While there's no way to know for sure, there are a few ways to figure out if it's likely someone blocked you, so if the person you've blocked gets suspicious, they might be able to figure it out.

How to Unblock Calls and Texts

If you change your mind about blocking someone, removing them from your blocked list is simple:

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Phone.
  3. Tap Call Blocking & Identification.
  4. Tap Edit.
  5. Tap on the red circle next to the name of the person you want to unblock.
  6. Tap Unblock and that phone number or email address will disappear from your list.