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
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
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.
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:
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
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.
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.
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.