How many times have you been told to place your phone in Airplane mode. It's a simple, no-brainer of a switch that suspends the device signal transmitting functions. With this mode, it's all or none, which makes it simply not an option for many users. However, what if you wanted to selectively turn off specific transmitting functions? With the introduction of the Samsung Galaxy S3 and S4, a new setting called Blocking mode was introduced that addresses that exact question. Blocking mode allows you to hand-pick what you want to disable and which (if any) contacts you want to whitelist to allow through.
Blocking mode is incredibly easy to set up and is so much more useful than Airplane mode. Let's walk through the set up and usage of the Samsung Galaxy Blocking mode feature.
Enable Blocking mode
The Blocking mode ships with the Galaxy S3 and S4, so you don't have to install it. To enable Blocking mode, follow these steps:
- Drag the Notification bar down
- Tap the Settings icon
- Tap My device
- Scroll down and tap Blocking mode
- Tap the ON/OFF slider until it is in the ON position (Figure A)
Blocking mode on a Verizon-branded Samsung Galaxy S4.
That's it. Blocking mode is enabled. It's now time to configure this feature to meet your needs.
Configure Blocking mode
The configuration of Blocking mode is simple. Let's say you want to set Blocking mode for the following:
- Block all incoming calls except for, say, your spouse
- Turn off notifications
- Turn off alarm and timer
- Leave LED indicator on
- Have Blocking mode set to Always
- Enable calls from a specified user
Here's how this is done. Once you've enabled Blocking mode, scroll down and leave everything enabled, sans Turn off LED indicator (Figure B).
Setting up Blocking mode on a Galaxy S4.
The next step is to configure Blocking mode to allow incoming calls from a specified contact. You can set up Blocking mode to allow:
- All contacts
We're going to set up Custom (to only allow specific users). To do this, follow these steps:
- Open Blocking mode
- Scroll down and tap Allowed contacts
- Tap Custom
- Tap Add
- Locate and tap the contact you wish to allow
- Tap Done
Back in the Allowed contact list screen (Figure C), your contact should now appear. You can repeat the above steps to allow as many custom contacts as you want, or just select all the contacts you want to add before you tap Done. The only limitation is that the person/number must be already listed in your device's Contacts app.
Add contacts that are allowed through Blocking mode here.
If you want to remove a contact from the “whitelist,” you can go back to the Allowed contact list, long-press a contact, and tap Delete.
You may be thinking, “But you set Blocking mode to 'Always.' How do we get around this?” This is a good question, and it has a simple answer. If you drag down your Notification bar, you should see an icon in the upper right corner that looks like three squares and two arrows. If you tap that, a number of new features/services will appear. Listed in this group of enable/disable buttons, you'll find one for Blocking mode (Figure D). With this button, you can quickly enable or disable Blocking mode on your device. This way, you don't have to worry about going back through Settings.
Quick enable/disable for Blocking mode.
Although Airplane mode is still an option, you'll probably find Blocking mode far more useful. With the ability to configure it exactly as you need -- and have it at the ready with the tap of a button -- Blocking mode is far more in tune with today's needs than is its predecessor.
Do you use Blocking mode on your device? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.