How to block scam callers on your iPhone

Add unknown numbers to a blocked contact

If there is something that really annoys me is getting unsolicited calls from telemarketing people and other types of scam callers. At work I don't want to be distracted with my iPhone, so I keep it in my bag most of the time. I normally take it to check emails, tweets and text messages during a coffee break to make sure there's a healthy productivity and reward balance going on. Although I cannot see my phone, the vibration of someone calling is just too difficult to ignore.

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To deal with this situation I've adopted a couple of tricks from other people and now adapted them to the new block feature in iOS 7. Yes, with the new operating system you can tell your iPhone block any incoming call from an specific number. What I like to do is something a bit more elaborate.

Starting with the method described on Cult of Mac by Rob LeFebvre, which originally appeared as a Macworld hint, you will need to group unwanted numbers in one contact. I call mine Mr. Scam Caller. You can also choose something like "Don't Answer" like the original post suggests. The idea is that every time you get an unsolicited call from this number it will appear with a name instead of a cryptic number you cannot identify.

Straight to voicemail

Since iOS allows you to personalise ringtones to specific contact, Mr. Scam Caller is going to have a silent one. This should avoid any distraction at work. Why don't I block the number straightaway? I want to give them the chance in case they have an actual human calling from the other end and leave a legitimate message. Before I would lookup the number online and see what other people say — it turns out in my case I'm entitled to a lot of injury claims and loan repayments.

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To go full on with iOS 7, collecting all the unwanted caller numbers under one contact name will only make things easier. Select the contact from either the contacts or the recent call list, tap on the 'i' inside a circle and scroll all the way to the bottom. The last option 'Block this Caller' will block all calls, messages and FaceTime requests.

When the blocked contact calls you it will get line and go directly to voicemail. In case the person calling (recruiters!) has no Caller ID or appears as Unknown, this trick won't help at all. What you can do is to double-click the power button to send the call directly to voicemail or click just once to keep it ringing with no sound.