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How to block phone calls on your Android phone

Updated on 12-5-2013 by Thor Benson: This article has been updated since it was originally published to reflect software and hardware changes.

Whether you are sick of cold calls from telemarketers, or you have an ex you never want to hear from again: fear not, there are ways to block those unwanted calls on Android. First of all we’ll take a look at how to do it without an app, and then we’ll suggest a couple of call blocking Android apps that are worth considering. Screening your calls can free from you from spammers forever so it’s well worth setting something up.

Related: How to root your Android phone or tablet, how to block calls on an iPhone.

Block calls on your Android smartphone

The methods for doing this will differ slightly according to your specific device and the version of Android that you are using. We’ll start with step-by-step instructions on how to block unwanted calls on a Samsung Galaxy S4 and then we’ll look at a workaround method that should do the trick on any Android phone.

You can follow the screenshots below. Start by hitting Call settings > My Device>Blocking Mode>Whatever You Need. From here you can disable income calls, notifications, alarms, etc. You can set it to stay that way or set a time frame that it does this.

samsung block

If you want to send callers straight to voicemail on stock Android the process is pretty simple. Go to the contact in question and hit Menu > Options and then check Incoming calls (Send calls directly to voicemail).

All Android smartphones should have some variation of this option to auto reject calls from specific contacts. Unfortunately sometimes carriers mess around with it because they want to offer services of their own. You’ll generally find call blocking options in Parental Controls for all the major carriers, but they might charge you for the privilege.

Using Google Voice to block calls

If you use Google Voice then you’ll be glad to learn it supports spam filters and actually has a database of known spam numbers which can be automatically blocked. It also offers a solution that allows you to completely block the caller instead of sending them to voicemail.

Go to Contacts in Google Voice, tick the checkbox next to the one you want to block and choose Edit Google Voice Settings > When this contact calls you: and choose Sent to voicemail, Treat as spam or Block caller. The nice thing about the “treat as spam” option is that it keeps ringing for them, but not you, and then once they leave a voicemail it’s marked as spam.

To turn on the automatic spam filter go to Voice Settings > Call and tick Global Spam Filtering.

Using Android apps to block calls

If none of the other options suits you or you just want a more user friendly way of blocking calls on your Android smartphone then a dedicated app might be your best bet. Here are three solid options.

Mr. Number Text, Call & Block (Free)

This app bills itself as a free alternative text and calling app, with free messaging between members and real-time updates on 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.

Call Control – Call Blocker (Free)

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 few dollars ($8).

Extreme Call Blocker ($6)

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.

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. They don’t tend to play nicely together and they 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 there’s a specific call blocking app for Android that you’d like to suggest then please post a comment and tell us about it.

If you have any other tips for people looking to block calls on Android then fire away.

Article originally published on 1-15-2013.

[Header image courtesy of Shutterstock]