Pro tip: Block calls with this little-known iOS 7 feature

Find out how to get a little slice of silence by blocking telemarketers and other unwanted callers right from within iOS 7.

Block calls in iOS

Silence is golden, or so it's said. With the call blocking feature in iOS 7, you can getting even more silence from unwanted phone calls, FaceTime calls, and iMessages or text messages. When contacts are blocked, you won't receive any notification if they call or leave a message. It works very similarly to the way that Do Not Disturb mode works, except that you can choose only certain contacts to be blocked instead of all callers. Blocking contacts is something that can be easily done in iOS, so let's take a look at how this feature works.

Block contacts

In order to block contacts, you must have either called or received a call from the number you wish to block, or have that contact in your Contacts app (or Phone app).

To block a caller that you've received a call from or called yourself, navigate to Phone | Recents | i button. Scroll down to the bottom of the Info view and find the button labeled Block this Caller. Tapping this button will change the title to Unblock this caller, and the caller will be blocked.

To block a caller that you have in your Contacts list, navigate to Phone | Contacts | {the contact name} (Figure A). Scroll down to the bottom of the Contact view, and tap on the Block this Caller button. This will block notifications when that contact tries calling, messaging, or FaceTiming your device.

Figure A

Figure A
Blocking callers or contacts is as easy as tapping a button.

View blocked contacts

If you accidentally block a contact that you didn't want to block, you can easily view which numbers are blocked and remove them from the blacklisted section in iOS. To view blocked numbers, navigate to Settings | Phone | Blocked (Figure B). From here, you can see all of the numbers and FaceTime/iMessage addresses that you have blocked.

Figure B

Figure B
View blocked callers from time to time to make sure that legitimate callers can still get through to your phone.

Remove blocks

There are two ways to remove blocked contacts. The first and easiest way, especially if each contact has multiple numbers, is to go to navigate back to Info view that belongs to the contact.

Go to Phone | Contacts | {Contact to Unblock}. Tap Unblock this Caller (Figure C) to have all of the numbers belonging to the contact unblocked from your device.

Figure C

Figure C
Unblocking a contact can be just as easy as blocking them by going back to the contact info view.

You can also unblock contacts in Settings | Phone | Blocked. Simply swipe from right to left on the number that you wish to unblock, and tap the Unblock button (Figure D).

Figure D

Figure D
For finer-grain control over which of the numbers belonging to contacts gets unblocked, visit the Settings.

A little tip

If you get repeat calls from telemarketers and don't want to create a contact card for each one that you wish to block, you can create a single contact called "Telemarketers." Place the phone numbers for each of the telemarketer calls that you get inside that contact card. Then, block that one and only contact card to have all of the numbers contained inside of it blocked as well.

Last words

As you can see, with iOS 7, it is very easy to block and unblock callers if you need a little silence on your iOS devices from a particular contact. However, because this only keeps the incoming call notification from appearing on your device, callers can still leave voice messages. That being said, this feature can be invaluable for users who receive repeat notifications from unwanted callers, FaceTime, and iMessage users.

Have you used this feature in iOS 7, or do you currently subscribe to call blocking features with your wireless provider? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.

By Cory Bohon

Cory Bohon is an indie developer specializing in iOS and OS X development. He runs a software company called Cocoa App and is also a developer at MartianCraft. He was introduced to technology at an early age and has been writing about his favorite te...