Preventing unwanted calls (spam, unknown, telemarketers) on android and apple cell phones

I don’t tend to freely give my cell number out (or if I do, I give out my google voice number).  However, I still get annoying calls from vendors who legitimately do have my contact information (Dish, TimeWarner, etc) as well as random telemarketer or recruiter calls at mostly inconvenient times.

I decided this week that it’s time to take a page from Alice Cooper’s book, and I now repeat the mantra “No more Mr Nice Guy”!

There are a lot of apps out there for both Android and IOS phones which do caller blacklisting and the like, but I really didn’t want that.  What I wanted to do was to block any incoming calls from callers who are not on my contact list.  My presumption is that if I bothered to make a contact list entry for them, then they have some significance in my life and I may want to receive a call from them.

If somebody I know calls me now my phone rings, but anybody else goes right to voicemail.  So, when somebody new calls me, I don’t lose the call forever, but have a chance to review the voicemail and perhaps add them to my contacts if I want to continue communication with that individual.

Blocking on your iPhone

Let’s deal with IOS first.  This requires NO APP at all and simply uses the built in “do not disturb” functionality.  Tap Settings, then Do Not Disturb, and you will see this screen:

What I did here is to manually turn on the feature (though you can schedule it if you want), and I also selected “always” at the bottom as I really want blocking to occur even if I have the phone unlocked.  I set “Allow Calls From” to “All Contacts”. That’s all there is to it! 

Blocking on your Android

Android requires an app to accomplish this goal.  The one I chose is called aFirewall.  This app is a bit obscure in it’s usage, but it’s quite a versatile program. I’m only using a small portion of it’s functionality to restore my sanity and support my new mantra. I installed the program, then went to the “Scheduled Rules” tab.  I modified the default rule (the first one listed) to “Accept Contacts”.  Done!

If you are curious about some of the other interesting things this program can do, please see the author’s FAQ here.