Android's Contact application allows you to set up auto-reject of incoming calls on a per-contact basis. But that's the extent of the built-in abilities. For users who want a bit more incoming call control, there are apps on the Google Play Store that handle call blocking. One such tool is Call Blocker by NQ Mobile Security.
Call Blocker is a free app that offers enough features to satisfy nearly any user:
- Block unwanted calls (reject, forward, or reply with an auto-SMS)
- Block spam SMS (accept phonebook only or simply block blacklist)
- Back up contacts to a server
- Transfer data to new phone (Symbian, Android, or BlackBerry devices)
- Quickly and easily erase the call history and delete SMS messages between your phone and individual contacts permanently
- Auto-detect of one-ring malicious calls
The above features are available on the free version, but it includes an unobtrusive ad bar. There's also a premium version of this app with additional features, but it costs $1.99 for one month, $6.99 for six months, or $12.99 for one year. Here are some of the premium features:
- Removal of ad bar
- Private space (hide specific messages and call logs to a private space)
- Conceal private space icon
- Create “fake” private space
- Hide calls from private contacts
Let's go ahead and install of this app and then walk through its usage.
Follow these steps to install Call Blocker.
- Open the Google Play Store
- Search for “call blocker” (no quotes)
- Locate the entry for Call Blocker (by NQ Mobile Security)
- Tap the three vertical dots
- Select Install (Figure A)
- Tap Accept
- Allow the installation to complete.
A new, faster method of installing apps.
Once it's installed, you'll find the launcher for the app in you app drawer and/or on your home screen. Tap that launcher to open Call Blocker.
From the Call Blocker main screen (Figure B), the first thing you'll want to do is configure how Call Blocker works. To do this, tap the menu button, and then tap Settings.
Call Blocker running on a Verizon-branded Motorola Moto X.
From the Settings window (Figure C), set up the Call Blocking Rule (indicating which contacts will be blocked). You can block by: Blacklist, non-contacts, non-whitelist, all, or none.
The Settings window for Call Blocker.
The most effective way to block calls is by using the Blacklist. Of course, this means you have to actually create a blacklist of numbers. To create a blacklist, do the following:
- From the main window, tap Blacklist
- Tap Add number
- Select from the options (Figure D)
- Either manually input the number or locate the number from Contacts or call/SMS logs
- Tap Save
Adding a number to your blacklist.
When that newly added number calls in, you'll receive a notification of the call, but the caller will be treated with either an immediate pickup/hangup or close ringtone. The close ringtone will allow the call to go through, but you won't hear the ringtone (no matter what the volume is set to). The close ringtone option will also allow you to answer the phone call -- so, for a true blocking option, select Pickup/Hangup from within the How to block calls option in the Settings window.
Finally, you might want to set up a response to callers. The response will come in the form of an immediate text once the call is blocked. To set the response, follow these steps:
- Go to the Settings window
- Tap to enable Response to caller
- Tap the Choose a message option
- Either select the auto-response message or create your own by tapping Create new reply message (Figure E)
Select from one of the built-in auto responses or create your own.
The ability to block unwanted incoming calls and SMS messages has become more of a necessity than a bell and/or whistle. Even though the Android platform allows you to block unwanted calls, it doesn't offer enough features for everyone. Give Call Blocker a try, and see if it doesn't take care of blocking those pesky calls and SMS messages.
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.