How to Block Unknown Calls on iPhone (2023)

These days, it's very common to receive numerous calls with no caller ID. Learn how to block unknown callers on iPhone.

Receiving repeated calls from unknown callers is just plain irritating. The FCC mandates that phone companies make it freely available to keep your number private, but also that telemarketers are not allowed to hide their numbers. Fortunately, you can easily block a number on your iPhone, block unknown callers, block no caller ID, and even stop calls from hidden numbers. Let's get started learning how to block nuisance calls on the iPhone.

Related: How to Check Voicemails from Blocked Numbers on iPhone

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How to Block a Number on iPhone

To begin our journey of stopping nuisance calls, let's learn how to block a number. Remember, you can add your own phone number to the National Do Not Call registry. Once your number has been listed for 31 days, if you receive an unwanted call, you can report it. The offending company will receive a penalty. Not every nuisance caller is a telemarketer, though. Sometimes you get calls over and over again from the same number, so you might need to block a phone number just to keep yourself sane. Here's how to block someone on your iPhone:

  1. Open the Phone app.

    open settings on iphone to block callers
  2. Tap Recents at the bottom of the screen.

    block unknown calls on iphone
  3. Find the number you want to block and tap the “i”.

    block calls on iphone
  4. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and tap Block This Caller.

    block contact on iphone

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How to Silence Unknown Callers & Those with No Caller ID

This feature, introduced with iOS 13, will block unknown calls by sending all calls from unknown numbers straight to voicemail. If you don't have iOS 13, find out how to update your iOS, or skip down to the next section for an alternative method. With this feature you could miss important calls from numbers that you haven't listed in your Contacts, like your doctor or pharmacy. However, it's very useful for weeding out robo-calls, scammers, spoofers, and telemarketers. This method also silences phone calls made using this common trick to hide your Caller ID, even those made by people in your Contacts list. Here's how to enable Silence Unknown Callers to block unknown calls on your iPhone:

  1. Open the Settings app.

    open settings to block caller
  2. Select Phone.

    go to phone in settings
  3. Tap Silence Unknown Callers.

    block caller on iphone
  4. Toggle Silence Unknown Callers to On. It will be green when enabled.

    block unknown calls on iphone

You've done it! Enjoy the sweet, sweet silence. But remember that when your bank or doctor offers to call you back, you'll have to ask them what number they'll be calling from and make sure to add it to your contacts, or else you'll likely miss the call. There is a caveat to this approach: it doesn't silence calls from numbers which Siri identifies as suggested contacts. If a number repeatedly calls you, for example a political operative trying to talk up their candidate, then Siri may identify them as a possible friend, and then their calls will start getting through again. 

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How to Block All Unknown Numbers Using Do Not Disturb

If you can't or don't want to update to iOS 13 or later, you can still block unknown callers. Simply set Do Not Disturb to a 24-hour schedule and allow calls only from your contacts. Keep in mind that if you receive an important call from someone who isn't in your contacts, you'll miss it. You can, however, check for voicemails even from blocked calls. There's also an option to allow a second call from the same person within three minutes to go through, so you can be reached in an emergency. Like the Silence Unknown Callers method, the Do Not Disturb method will block all calls labeled "No Caller ID," even if the call is being made by someone in your contacts. Here’s how to block calls from all unknown numbers:

  1. Open Settings.

    Open settings
  2. Tap Focus

    go to focus
  3. Tap Do Not Disturb.

    tap do not disturb
  4. Tap People.

    tap people
  5. Tap Calls From at the bottom.

    turn on specific contacts to call
  6. From here you can select who you'd like to receive calls from.

    disable unknown calls during do not disturb
  7. Tap back twice to return to the Do Not Disturb menu and tap Add Schedule or Automation.

    set up schedule for do not disturb
  8. From here, you can customize when Do Not Disturb will activate.

    customize schedule for do not disturb in focus
  9. If you want it to be on all the time, you can set it to, for example, 9:00 AM to 8:59 AM and to repeat every day.

    Set schedule for Do Not Disturb
  10. Tap Done to confirm your chosen schedule.

    Tap Done
  11. Make sure Do Not Disturb is toggled on.

    Toggle on

Now, your Do Not Disturb function will automatically stay on and only calls from your contacts will make a sound.

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How to Unblock a Number on iPhone

If you've gotten overzealous with your call blocking, don't worry, it happens. Here's how to unblock a number that you blocked:

  1. Open the Settings app.

    open settings on iphone
  2. Tap Phone.

    open phone settings
  3. Tap Blocked Contacts, and you'll see a list of all the numbers you've blocked.

    unblock unknown calls in settings
  4. Tap Edit in the top right corner.

    unblock numbers on iphone
  5. Tap the red circled minus sign to remove a number from the list.

    unblock contacts on iphone
  6. Then, tap Unblock.

    remove blocked number

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Use a Blocking App to Stop Nuisance & Anonymous Calls 

If your phone company can't offer you a way to stop nuisance calls, there are several third-party apps that can help. Here are two of my top picks.

1. RoboKiller 
Robokiller app icon

Use third party app robokiller to block unknown calls

RoboKiller is an app is designed to identify robocalls and spam, as well as unmasking unknown numbers with "Super Caller ID." Winning the FTC's anti-robocall competition gives RoboKiller a lot of credibility as one of the best nuisance blockers out there. RoboKiller's developers offer a one-week free trial, followed by a monthly charge. If you're enthusiastic about RoboKiller and find it's the solution you've been looking for, you can purchase a one-year membership for $29.99.

2. Hiya Caller ID and Block 
Hiya app icon

Use third party app hiya to block unknown calls
Hiya is a call-blocking, spam-filtering app that reveals the phone numbers of blocked callers, uses a call protection database to safeguard customers, and allows individuals to customize their own block list. Named a Time Magazine Top Ten App, Hiya is free, and can even be shared by up to six people on a Family Sharing plan.

How to Enable a Call Detector App on Your iPhone

If you decide to install a third-party app to filter out unwanted calls, you'll need to change a few settings to get started.

  1. Open the Settings app.

    open settings iphone ipad
  2. Scroll down to Phone and tap on it.

    go to phone
  3. Tap on Call Blocking & Identification. Note that this option may only appear once a call blocking app is downloaded and installed from the App Store, as above.

    enable third party ad blocker app
  4. Under Call Identification Apps, turn your call-blocking on.

    turn on third party ad blocker

I hope this article has helped to solve your problem with nuisance calls to your iPhone. While these methods won't block Emergency Alerts on the iPhone, taking these steps will definitely reduce the daily interruptions. Please let me know what worked best for you, and if you have any favorite spam-blocking apps in the comments.

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Author Details

Cullen Thomas's picture

Author Details

Cullen Thomas

Cullen Thomas is a senior instructor at iPhone Life, creating tips and guides to help users unlock the full potential of their iOS and iPhone. In addition to writing countless tip-of-the-day articles and many detailed guides, Cullen has spent ten years as an instructor in media and communications at Maharishi University, lecturing on technical and artistic subjects ranging from camera and audio hardware to story-plotting to how to manage a film crew. Cullen answers questions daily about iPhones and iOS as part of the Ask an Editor insider service, and designs curricula for iPhone Life’s online classes. As a frequent contributor to iPhone Life magazine and occasional guest on the iPhone Life podcast, Cullen likes to talk about security and privacy news, tech, gadgets, and apps, even if nobody asked.

Cullen holds a master’s degree in Cinematic Arts from the David Lynch School of Cinematic Arts. Cullen also holds two Bachelor’s degrees from Maharishi University, one in literature with an emphasis in writing and the other in Communications and Media. Cullen’s short fiction has been featured in anthologies from Amphibian Press and TANSTAAFL, and Cullen co-owns a game design company, Thoughtspike games, which builds thought-provoking puzzle games. Cullen is a sci-fi author, a coffee connoisseur, and an iPhone expert.