How to Block Calls and Texts on iPhone

Only talk to the people you want with this useful feature

block calls on iphone

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 have the ability to block phone calls from these people. If you've got an iPhone running iOS 7 or up, now you can block calls, texts, and FaceTime requests.

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. Rather, this covers how to block calls and texts from specific people, while letting everyone else get through to you.

Here's how you do it:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap on Phone
  3. Tap on Blocked
  4. Tap Add New
  5. Browse or search your contacts list for the person you want to block (this is an important thing to note: you can only block people who are in your address book).
  6. When you find them, tap their name

On the Blocked screen, you'll see all of the things you've 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. 

Blocking Calls in iOS 6

The technique described above requires iOS 7 and, unfortunately, there's really no way to block calls on your iPhone if you're running iOS 6 or earlier. The OS just doesn't have that feature and the apps listed at the App Store for blocking calls are ineffective and suspect.

If you're on iOS 6 and want to block calls, your best bet is to contact your phone company to find out what options they offer. Some let you block a set list of numbers for free, while others charge for the service.

What Is Blocked

The types of communication that are blocked depend 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 that phone number.
  • If you have their email address, they'll be blocked from texting you via iMessage or placing FaceTime calls using an 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 some or all of these features, your iPhone won't be able to block people from contacting you (though those other apps may have their own blocking feature).

Does This Block Email?

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. You can't stop someone from sending you physical mail, but there are some ways to prevent someone from emailing you—just not from the settings in iOS. The Email Expert has some tips for popular email services that you may find helpful:

How to Block Telemarketers and Other Unknown Numbers

Since a number needs to be in your Contacts app in order to be blocked, how do you block telemarketers and other people who have only called once, but who you don't want to speak to again?

It's fairly simple:

  1. Tap the Phone app 
  2. Tap the Recents menu at the bottom
  3. Find the phone number that you want to block
  4. Tap the I icon
  5. Swipe 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 confirm or Cancel.

On iPod touch and iPad

Blocking calls and texts works slightly differently on the iPod touch and iPad. The process for blocking someone is the same, but the result isn't quite identical. This is because neither of these devices has a phone. So, you won't be able to block calls, but blocking a user can still prevent them from texting or FaceTiming you.

What Do Blocked People See?

One of the greatest things about this feature is that the people you've blocked will 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.

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 Blocked
  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.