Kill Junk Calls on the iPhone

I really hate sales calls, campaign calls, and solicitation calls. Getting them on my regular home phone is bad enough, but getting them on my cell phone really drives me nuts. Out of the box, you can’t block annoying callers on an un-jailbroken iPhone, but you can make them less of a pain. I will show you my method first, and then tell you about a few alternatives.

1. Create a contact named “Blacklist”. We don’t care about all the details of the contact, just that it has a recognizable name and is a place to store number. I make this a company contact with the name of the contact as just “Blacklist”.

2. Give the contact you created the following picture, or any other ugly picture you desire. blacklist

3. Next we want to assign that contact a custom ringtone, but first we have to get that ringtone to your phone. The ringtone I use is one called “silence“. Click to open it with iTunes or download it and put it in iTunes.

4. Now that you have the contact created and the ringtone in iTunes, sync your iPhone.

5. Almost there, just go into your Blacklist contact and set its custom ringtone to be the one you just uploaded.

6. Finally, add any caller you don’t want to talk to or whom you consider a spam caller to the Blacklist contact.

There you have it! That’s right, the phone is basically ringing, but no sound is made. We can’t stop it from vibrating, but no noise will be a clue that you don’t want to talk to this person. The screen will also have the custom picture we assigned above.

In brief, the pros and cons of this method are:
Pros – Free and easy
Cons – the phone will still vibrate, you have to know a number to block it, and you can’t stop them from leaving messages

Now as I said before, there are a few alternatives. In short they are Google Voice, jail breaking your iphone, or AT&T’s Smart Limits Wireless Parental Control.

Truthfully, I like Google Voice, formerly Grand Central, the best. Any caller that I haven’t specifically registered in Google Voice automatically goes to the voice mail and my phone never even rings. The only thing I get is an email or text telling me there is a message – if they left one. This service is free, professional and has lots of other benefits such as call routing. I love it because If I am unsure about giving anybody my number, I give them my Google Voice number.

As for applications to do call blocking on a jail broken iPhone, there are quite a few. I have not jail broken my phone, and won’t be, so I don’t have any real recommendations to make here. From what I have seen though, they don’t work much better than the blacklist contact method described above.

Finally, AT&T does have a service called Smart Limits Parental Control that an additional is $4.95 per month. This service offers parameter setting such as: time of day their phone can and cannot be used, number of text and instant messages per billing cycle, dollar amount for download purchases (ringtones, games, etc.), amount of Web browsing usage allowed per billing cycle, and the ability to block/allow specific numbers that can be called or text messaged (incoming and outgoing). This could be useful for more than parental control, such as in a small business, but I personally don’t want to give AT&T any more money than I already am.

So there you have it, my way and a few other ways to keep annoying callers from bothering you. If you have another method I would love to hear it. Let the information flow!