Smartphones

Manage call rejecting with your Android smartphone

Jack Wallen walks you through two methods of blocking unwanted calls on your Android smartphone.

We all get unwanted calls, so it's important to learn the ins and outs of managing incoming calls. The Android platform has plenty of built-in (and third-party) functionality to help make that task a little less painful.

The problem is that features aren't exactly standardized across Android hemispheres. Some releases offer more features than others. With that in mind, let's take a look at how to manage call rejecting on both older Android releases (such as 2.2) and newer Android releases (such as 2.3.4). The phones I'll use for this demonstration are the AT&T-branded Samsung Captivate and the Verizon-branded Droid Bionic.

Samsung Captivate (Android 2.2)

First, let's examine the older Samsung Captivate. Oddly enough, this is the device with the built-in ability to reject calls and black-list callers. The rejection of callers can fall into two categories:

  • Auto reject: Automatically reject calls
  • Reject with message: Send a text message to the caller

The first type effectively places the caller on a block list, whereas the second type informs the caller you cannot take the call (for whatever reason you announce with the text). Here's how each method is taken care of.

In order to use auto reject, do the following:

  1. Tap Menu | Settings | Call Settings
  2. In the new window, tap All calls
  3. Tap Auto Reject
  4. Tap Enable auto reject
  5. Tap Auto reject list
  6. Tap the Menu button | Create
  7. In the new overlay (Figure A), enter the number to auto reject
  8. Tap Save
Figure A

You can also tap the Search button to look through your list of contacts.

That's it! The number you just saved will automatically be rejected. Now, let's reject these calls with texts. This isn't done automatically, so it does require a bit of interaction. Here's how you make sure this is done to best suit your needs.

If you go to Menu | Settings | Call Settings | All Calls, you'll find the entry for "Reject call with message." In this new window (Figure B), you'll see the list of possible messages to be sent upon rejecting a call. You only have five choices, so if one of these do not work for you, tap on it, and edit it to your liking. Figure B

One of these messages is not on the default listing!
Once you have your rejection messages set, you simply have to slide the call screen up (Figure C), and select the text message you want to send to the caller. Figure C

This number has been changed to protect the innocent.

Droid Bionic (Android 2.3.4)

Now, we fall into a bit of a gray area. The 2.3.4 Android iteration lacks the ability to auto reject calls. You can still reject calls with messages, but no more auto reject. There is, of course, an app that can help you out with that. If you download and install TouchPal Contacts, you'll have all you need to set up blocklists on your Android 2.3.4 device.

The installation is simple:

  1. Open the Google Play Store
  2. Search for "touchpal contacts" (no quotes)
  3. Tap Install
  4. Tap Accept & download
Upon installation, you'll find TouchPal Contacts in your App Drawer. Open up the app, and then scroll through your contacts until you find the number you wish to block. Once you've found that number, long press the listing, and you'll notice the bottom icon changes. Swipe the icon bar to the left and then tap "Block" (Figure D). Figure D

Again, my contacts have been blurred for the sake of privacy.

In the new overlay, select from:

  • Add to black-list
  • Add to white-list
  • Redirect to Voicemail

Each option has its obvious advantages. Select the option that best suits the number, and you're good to go. But wait, there's more! You can set up the following block rules:

  • Only black-listed numbers
  • Block none
  • Only allow contacts
  • Only allow contact and white-listed numbers

Here's how to get to this setting:

  1. Open up TouchPal Contacts
  2. Tap the menu button
  3. Tap Settings
  4. Tap Call block
  5. Tap Block rule
  6. Select from the list of options (Figure E)
Figure E

Make sure to select the most logical option for your needs.

Remember that each option functions quite differently. Choose wisely so that you don't accidentally block the wrong calls.

The Android platform is a highly flexible mobile solution. If you need your smartphone to work smarter, you're using the right operating system. Give these two options a try to see if you can successfully block all of those unwanted calls.

About

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.

4 comments
Jack766
Jack766

I'm trying to turn OFF the "Reject" feature of my phone Samsung-SGH-I577 / Android 4.0.4.  When a call comes in, and I reach for my phone (in my pocket), 50% of the time my finger seems to trigger the reject option and I lose 1/2 my calls.  Do you know how to disable this Reject feature so that I can always accept the call.  OR, have the lock screen feature protect against accidentally answering / rejecting the call, until I unlock the screen and can then make my choice.

dprows
dprows

I use YouMail for this. Not only does it have a great VoiceMail application, it enables you to ditch calls. You can also set it up so ditched calls get a message stating the number is no longer in service. I used to get calls almost daily from some mortgage places and no matter how many times I asked, they wouldn't remove me from their lists. After about a week of this application being setup, they quit calling me (for the most part). I still get a ditched call about once a month or so. This application is great!

ashamess
ashamess

Jack: I needed that app, only get the odd call from annoying auto dialers, and could not get off their lists. Thanks for posting, easy to set up with your instructions ( Android) and I love that custom menu for blocking. Great recommend, good write-up, and I chose wisely with your help.