Rest assured, there are ways to block those unwanted calls on Android devices. But finding the path to block calls can take some digging. Some manufactures bury black-list features deep in your phone settings. Even worse, some older devices may not even provide native blocking features.
Thankfully, there are several ways to block calls on your Android device. Here’s our guide to blocking phone calls (and text messages) on your Android phone. We’ll take a look at how to do it with your phone’s native features, and then we’ll suggest a couple of call blocking Android apps that are worth considering. Finally, we’ll provide information to block callers by contacting your phone carrier.
The methods for doing this will vary slightly according to your specific device and the version of Android that you are using. Many tutorials exist for your specific device on YouTube and the XDA developers forum.
Block calls on your Android smartphone with native features
Block all calls
There is no universal path for blocking contacts on Androids. Some devices, including the Samsung Galaxy S5, allow users to enable a blocking mode through your phone’s settings. Selecting the phone icon on the homescreen then Call settings > My Device > Blocking Mode > Disable incoming calls. On these devices you can make exceptions for certain contacts by going to the menu titled Blocking mode > Allowed contacts > then selecting the contacts that can contact you even when you’ve disabled all calls.
Block specific callers
One of the most common routes is to pull up your contact list by selecting the phone icon from your home screen. Then tap the three dot menu and choose Settings > Call > Call Rejection > Auto Reject List > Create. At this point, Android phones will have a search box that’ll appear. Insert the phone number or name of the person you want to block, and presto, that name will be added to the Auto Reject List.
From the call log, you can disable incoming calls from specific numbers. Select the number you want to block then hit the 3-dot menu icon in the upper right corner > Add to reject list. This will disable incoming calls from specific numbers.
Some Android phones just won’t block phone calls that easily!
Some devices (for example, the Nexus 4) will only offer native features that allow you to forward calls directly to voicemail. But they won’t totally block your calls. In this case, you’ll need to take a different route.
Using Google Voice to block calls
Google Voice is one of the easiest ways to block calls. Signing up is easy. Simply head over to Google Voice, and follow the sign up instructions. The calling service offers an added component to calling, allowing you to view voice and text messages like you would emails.
This app bills itself as a free alternative text and calling app, with free messaging between members and real-time updates about when your messages have been read. It also happens to be a powerful call and text blocking app for Android. You can block specific numbers or you can block area codes. Thanks to user submitted info on telemarketers and other spam you can create a block list that will protect you from cold calls.
Here’s another Android call blocker with a big list of user submitted spam numbers that you can automatically block. This one also ties in with the FCC Do Not Call registry. You can decide which calls get blocked and exactly how they are handled with this versatile app. You get a free 14-day trial of the full app and then it reverts to a limited “Lite” version, unless you cough up a $8 dollars.
Pay a one-off $6 fee and you’ll get a comprehensive call and text message blocking app that’s password protected and packed with features. You can send calls direct to voicemail, pick up and hang up automatically, or just mute the ringer. You can also use this app to block outgoing calls and it has a stealth mode so the app can be hidden on a phone. This is a solid option that offers good call blocking control and the ability to set up profiles with various parameters.
Contact your carrier
Most major carriers can block calls to your device. Verizon offers this service for free, so does Sprint. There are some limitations, for instance Verizon only allows you to block up to 5 lines. You’ll also have to re-block lines every 90 days. AT&T allows you to block up to 30 numbers for $5 a line/per month. T-Mobile doesn’t offer official services for blocking calls or texts, but you may have some success calling the T-Mobile service center.
Other call blocking options
There are a lot of other Android call blocking apps, but make sure to check the reviews carefully and do your homework before you choose. These don’t tend to play nicely together and can also conflict with anti-virus apps. Speaking of which, if you have avast! Mobile Security already installed there’s a call and SMS filtering option in there for blocking contacts.
If you have any other tips for people looking to block calls on Android then fire away.
Updated on 9/30/2014 by Joe Donovan: This article was originally published on Jan. 15, 2013 and has been updated to reflect software and hardware changes. Simon Hill, Joe Donovan, and Thor Benson contributed to this guide.