A Better Way To Block Unwanted Calls On Your Android Phone

callblocker5   A Better Way To Block Unwanted Calls On Your Android Phone

Back in November, I wrote a piece entitled How To Block Unwanted Calls On Your Android Phone. There, I offered a way to block calls based on Tasker, which was nice because Tasker can do many other things as well. The only issue with it, as cryptically-named commenter C14517 correctly noted, is that the phone would always emit a single ring before blocking the call. Thus, unwanted calls were still mildly distracting.

Today, I’m here to tell you of an app you can use to block unwanted phone calls and text messages so effectively, you’ll never know someone even tried to call or text you (unless you want to know, that is). The application is called Root Call Blocker, and it’s offered as a free version, as well as a paid version which costs $7 and is worth every penny (in my opinion, at least). I will be reviewing the paid version.

It’s In The Name: Your Phone Must Be Rooted

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Before extolling the virtues of Root Call Blocker, there’s one thing I need to tell you: The app interfaces with the phone in such a hard-core, basic way, that it will only work with a rooted device. Rooting your Android device is not hard, and you can read more about it in our article titled How To Root Your Android Phone With SuperOneClick. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s see what Root Call Blocker can do for you.

Profiles and Settings

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Root Call Blocker recognizes you may not want to block the same set of people all the time. While you’re at work, you probably want to accept calls from colleagues. On the weekend, maybe not so much. To this end, you can configure several separate profiles, each with its own blocked numbers, and even have Root Call Blocker switch between them automatically, according to a schedule.

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Each profile lets you set either a black list (anybody can call you except for the people listed) or a white list (nobody can call you except for the people listed). For each number, you can set whether you want to block calls only, text messages, or both:

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The pixelated part on the left is a list of numbers I am blocking. The first icon lets you control logging options for the call: You can log the call and get a notification it was received, log without a notification, or not log it at all (so it’s just like it never happened). The next icon controls call blocking – as you can see, that’s activated for all of those numbers. The third icon controls texts from those numbers – most of them can text me, but some have bugged me too much, so they may not.

One important entry I did not blur in the list above is Private & withheld numbers. This option alone saves me from numerous telemarketers, survey companies, and other annoyances.

What Happens When Somebody Calls You

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Filtering calls is sometimes considered bad manners, mostly because people know when you’re screening them. Nobody likes to call someone and hear that abrupt click letting them know they’ve just been screened. Thankfully, Root Call Blocker offers a wide array of screening methods. The first is just a standard reject, which definitely sends a hint to the other party (it’s like manual filtering). But my favorite option, “Don’t answer,” does just that. The other party thinks you’re just not around, as the phone keeps ringing indefinitely. Eventually whoever is bugging you will get the hint, or not.

On your side, when a blocked number is calling you, absolutely nothing happens. The phone doesn’t ring, nor does it vibrate, not even for a fraction of a second. If you configured Root Call Blocker to notify you of blocked calls, you will get a discrete notification in the notification bar (at the top of the screen), which you can browse at your leisure. The phone won’t beep for the notification. You can have it vibrate, but you must set that explicitly.

Hidden Mode

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Blocking calls is a sensitive subject, so Root Call Blocker lets you hide the entire app from the phone. Personally, I think if you need to go for such extreme measures just to protect your right to block unwanted phone calls, this indicates a bigger issues you might want to address with your work environment or relationships. Still, the option is there if you want it.

Final Thoughts

After several months of daily use, I couldn’t be happier with Root Call Blocker. People often talk about how smartphones increase the level of stress and obsessive connectedness in our lives – but apps like Root Call Blocker show that they can be used to reclaim our time and right for silence as well.

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35 Comments -

C.W. Juhl

Extreme Call Blocker blocks calls at least as well, has more option, and does not require a rooted phone. It’s $5.99 on Google Play

Erez Zukerman

Interesting recommendation – thank you!

suriya

can you provide the source code for ths?

Tanguy Djokovic

Very good article Erez, however what would have been even awesomer would have been to give a version for non-rooted phones if it’s applicable, if not then nothing too had.
I was a bit septic until I read What Happens When Somebody Calls You, which is the cool part about it :)

if only we could have the same thing for facebook….

Erez Zukerman

True — if this worked for non-rooted phones, it would really be ideal. Android (ICS) does have a function for routing calls directly to voicemail, and it doesn’t require rooting — but then the person feels like he’s being filtered.

Will

Mr. Number is a nice option for blocking calls on Android, you don’t need to root your phone and it’s free, although I recommend turning it off as your main sms service because it puts a stupid link in the bottom of text messages(which many friends have asked if it was spam or not) but I turned that off and everything else works great. so if your phone isn’t rooted definitely check it out. Thanks for the article!

Erez Zukerman

Wow, nice recommendation! When Mr. Number filters a call, what exactly happens? Does the other side get a quick disconnect, or does it keep ringing on their side?

Fik-of-Borg

I refrained from switching from my old Windows Mobile phone to android until I found an app like this (my otherwise much loved friends think that, since they are not busy, I am also not busy).
I found Gang Filter about 9 months ago, which is similar to this Root Call Blocker. Gang Filter also have a sheduling feature (block calls and sms only on certain hours on certain days), but lacks per-contact sms and/or call blocking. Works very well.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.guardroid.m.cbp

Erez Zukerman

That’s a comprehensive-looking schedule they have there! Interesting recommendation, thank you.

Paul

I’ve been using Phone Call Blocker by embware (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=embware.phoneblocker). It works quite well on my Samsung Captivate. It does not require rooting and is 100% free with no ads.

Erez Zukerman

Nice! What happens when the phone is ringing? Does the other side hear they’re being filtered?

Paul

You can configure it to go directly to voice mail or just hang up.

Erez Zukerman

Yeah, that’s less than ideal, at least for me: This way callers know they are being blocked.

Stephen

What about the free call blocking included in Ice Cream Sandwich? My phone had Gingerbread (2.3.4) and with that I had to add the number as a contact and then press block but with ICS 4.0.3 when a call comes in, I have the option to block the number forever. Perhaps that’s just with the version of ICS that my HTC Amaze updated to?

Erez Zukerman

Well, ICS does have built-in blocking, but it’s not tactfully done. First of all (and most importantly), there’s no scheduling or profiles — its just blocking the person forever, which is not ideal. Secondly, when a blocked caller tries to reach you, they are quick-disconnected so they know they’re being blocked (or can make a reasonable guess after trying to reach you for several times).

And finally, AFAIK at least, ICS call blocking does not block text messages — so they can still send you annoying texts. :)

drumrjoe

I have been using youmail.com for a few years now. Great service and it is a free (non-rooted) way to handle unwanted calls through their ditch mail service.

Lucero De La Tierra

I want to root my phone (HTC Droid Incredible) so that I can use apps such as this and also have more control over the size of the application data storage. I tried the procedure set out by CyanogenMod and the wiki they linked to only to find out that my phone has too recent a version of the software :(. I really don’t want to reset my phone to factory so that I may take advantage of the possibility to root, but if it’s performance gets any worse I may have to. Truly I’d like to get a new phone – preferably the Samsung S3 – before Verizon decides to pull the rug out from under us on the Unlimited data plans, but since I’m not in control of that I’m not holding my breath.

Erez Zukerman

That sounds pretty frustrating. :( Did you try SuperOneClick and the other rooting methods? What about asking on MakeUseOf Answers?

Richard Wesley Eby Jr.

Mr. Number is another great app to do this. Its free and works on unrooted phones.

MD

Mr Number made my phone freeze up

shaurya boogie

Mobilemanger is also good one which is free.

Dylan

Very useful. I get way too many marketing calls.

Steven Kahn

Well, you don’t need to root your phone for this. Phone Warrior available for free on Google play – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.visinor.phonewarrior lets you block unwanted calls for free. Moreover, it helps you block text too.

Joe Bloh

“BLOCKER ” from the google play app store
is FREE and it Blocks Texts and Calls from unknown numbers.

Joe Bloh

“BLOCKER” Does Not Need Rooting.
Download from google play.

abiot

stil call blocker not aplicable in my nokia n7ophone.

Gderidet

Blacklist, in Google Play does it very well. Don’t require rooted phone and free!

Carol

When you block a number and it rings normally, then voice mail comes on(like normal) and after the person’s greeting is heard(like normal) then it says”leave a message after the beep” , then it beeps signaling you may begin your message ….but before you can begin your message … immediately it says, “Sorry ,this mailbox is full” and then immediately disconnects. Is this an indication that your number has been blocked but the person calling just thinks the mailbox is full. (but really hard to believe he is not checking and clearing his messages) This keeps happening to my friend and I told her he is blocking your number but does not want to do it the “rude” way. Is this possible on the android?

Erez Zukerman

I would think this would be fairly hard to fake, because the “mailbox full” messages change from carrier to carrier… So it needs to be the right message for the specific carrier the person is using. That said, they could theoretically record the message and play it back — though that would require quite a bit of work.

Keith

I’ve been looking for a good app to do something like this. My problem is that the blocking methods used aren’t clearly defined. I wish all of the methods were explained better.

Erez Zukerman

Is there a specific method you had a question about? I did explain most in the post above, I believe.

mike smith

I’d like an option to leave a message along the lines of “enter your passcode at the beep, and my phone will resume ringing” – to allow family who are trying to call me from an unlisted/private number to be able to get through. Yes, this gives away to unlisted numbers that I’m blocking them, well, tough. I’m the one paying for it.

Wavey

The Best Call Blocking App is Magicall but not available For android wish they made it.. this app for windows phone. will block all calls and text from the number/contact you choose.. your phone will not ring not even for a second once activiated.. im looking for an app that will do the same.. i download a few apps for my Gs3 but its either it will mute ringer and caller id will still show your caller or just ring once and hang up..

i just need something simple eg: some you have blocked can call and your phone will not ring. but the caller hears a ring … its like they are blocked but dont know they are.

Erez Zukerman

That’s what this app does.