Sometimes, built-in settings and carrier-level blocking don’t provide the level of customization you desire. That’s where third-party apps come in. Many services sport spam databases and location-based blocking far more versatile than any of iOS’s options, and at the very least should help prevent that out-of-state political campaigner who keeps asking for your Social Security number from ever calling again.
Note: A word of warning before you install one of these call-blocking apps — it’s wise to read up on their privacy policies as it’s not unusual for them to collect data on you and your contacts and share it or sell it to other companies.
Hiya, formerly known as Whitepages ID, has become one of the most popular options for easy, free call blocking — and for good reason. In addition to offering a customizable block list, Hiya also touts “the world’s most advanced phone spam protection engine.” Alerts can warn you about the nature of incoming calls, and reverse number lookup gives you even greater control than iOS’ built-in functionality, as well as most third-party apps. Hiya’s technology is used by carriers and manufacturers like T-Mobile and Samsung.
Call Bliss ($10)
The conceit of Call Bliss is simple: You can block numbers depending on factors like the time of day, location, or activity. If you’re at home, for instance, you can let your wife’s calls through while silencing your co-workers’ numbers. And you can create groups of numbers that you can block with a single tap, such as “friends” or “family.” There’s a master blacklist option and a “Suppress All Callers” mode to send all calls to voicemail.
TrueCaller (free with premium version)
Truecaller is another well-known app among iPhone users and boasts many of the same features. Truecaller automatically identifies and blocks calls it believes to be fraudulent before you pick up. There’s a standard block list, as well as the ability to search the company’s massive database of names and numbers. If you’re using the app for free, there is a limit on how many contacts you can look up, but a Professional subscription — which costs $2 a month or $18 a year — raises that limit and also removes ads.
TrapCall ($5 to $20 per month)
TrapCall, a paid service, takes a different approach to number filtering. Rather than block calls indiscriminately, any number the service identifies as blocked or restricted is automatically “unmasked” when you reject the call; TrapCall collects the name, address, and phone number of callers without caller ID. After doing so, it rings you back with the unblocked number and sends you an SMS with the aforementioned information.