Blocking a specific phone number should be easy. Cell carriers and smart phones certainly have the technology to do just that, yet it often seems to be a more difficult task than it should be. Here are some ways to block a specific number on your cell phone.
Why Block a Number?
There are various reasons why you may want to block a phone number. Sometimes it’s your stalker ex who keeps hounding you, or perhaps you have a telemarketer who continues to call. Few annoyances beat the unwanted call of a telemarketer at an inopportune time. Below I’ve given a few techniques for blocking numbers on your cell phone which may help reduce unwanted calls.
Forward to Google Voice or Skype
If you have a phone number assigned to your Google Voice or Skype accounts, you can forward your phone to that line at night or while you’re at your computer. Calls that come to these services can be blocked easily. The calling number will show up on Skype’s caller ID, even when forwarded from your cell. This makes it easy to block these numbers. Skype also allows you to only accept calls from people in your contacts. I experimented with this feature to see what callers on the other end experience when blocked. They don’t get a message or my voice mail – they get a busy signal. Even though I have to turn this feature off when I’m not at my computer, in my case I’m at my computer most of the day, so I’ve found this to be a very good solution.
There are many apps out there designed for the sole purpose of blocking numbers. Most of those end up just sending them to voice mail, which means you still have to deal with annoying messages. The better block apps also blocked text messages. Check out the app marketplace and see if you can find one that works for you.
I’ve found that a call blocking app is good, except in the cases where the annoying callers leaves a message, which these do not typically block. Mr. Number is a good call blocking app, although there are many good choices available.
Use your smart phone’s blocking features
Some smart phones allow you to add numbers to a block list. This seem to vary by manufacturer. In some cases, “blocking” a number merely sends it to voice mail. This may be acceptable to some, but to me it is only moderately acceptable. I found that using this feature along with Gmail’s contacts was slightly more palatable. In Gmail, I set up a contact with all of the phone numbers I wanted to block. Then in my smart phone, I added that single contact to my block list. I assigned a big “BLOCKED” graphic with a circle and a line through it so I could easily see blocked calls in my call log.
An added bonus with my Nokia handset is that it allows me to block unknown numbers, which has greatly reduced the number of solicitors I’ve received. It does not, however, eliminate voice mails, but only a small handful of salesmen bother to leave a message.
Call your carrier
Different carriers have different policies on blocking numbers. AT&T, for example, offers a paid service for $5 a month that allows you to block up to 30 numbers. It has been reported that some carriers will block numbers for free. If you’re looking to block many numbers, this isn’t a practical option. In the case of AT&T, I do use this service (known as “Smart Limits”) but I’ve found that 30 numbers isn’t nearly as much as I need. I’ve had to keep a spreadsheet of the numbers I’m blocking with Smart Limits, and rotate out the old ones as I add new ones.
Silent Ring Tone
Creating a silent ring tone and assigning it to a contact containing all of your blocked numbers is another way to avoid hearing them call, although you’re still forced to deal with voice mail.
There are several ways to block numbers, and these vary by the handset you’re using and your carrier. The most effective way is to use multiple methods above in order to achieve blissful silence on your cell phone.
What ways do you use to block numbers on your cell phone?