Automatically Dismiss Calls To Your Android Phone From People/Robocallers You Hate

If you’ve got an Android phone and never want to answer calls from a specific number again, it’s easy to automatically send them to voice mail. The maneuver should come in especially handy in an election year, when phone banks and robocallers will bombard you.

A years-old, but new-to-us tip from Droid Forums walks you through the process. You open up the contact’s phone number, tap the menu key, then hit the “options” button on screen. You can then set the phone to automatically banish the call to voicemail hell without the phone even ringing.

If there are a bunch of problem numbers, you can just add them under the banner of the same contact, eliminating all of the evildoers in one fell swoop.

There doesn’t seem to be a similar way for iPhones to automatically dismiss calls from specific numbers, but when you don’t want to answer a call, double-tapping the power button atop the device will do the trick.

Found an interesting trick: Send a call to voicemail [Droid Forums]


Edit Your Comment

  1. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    Is this available for Windows Phone 7?

    (Is anything available for Windows Phone 7?)

  2. crispyduck13 says:

    What the? So instead of downloading a “block call” app you’d rather do this hackey crap? You’ll just have to go in and delete the voicemails so how much work is this saving you?

    Also: “…double-tapping the power button atop the device will do the trick..” What ever happened to pushing ‘call end’ button. Every single phone I’ve owned has been able to send calls to voice mail by just pressing that. Once.

    Everyone hop on the Philaterade Train to Obvioustown.

    • FacebookAppMaker says:

      On the iPhone, if it’s locked when a call comes in, you get a “slide to answer” option (similar to slide to unlock). To just bypass it and hang up on the call, you hit the power button twice. Once to make it stop ringing or vibrating, and once more to disconnect the call.

      The iPhone is the only phone that I am aware of that will let you stop the phone from ringing or vibrating without disconnecting the call

      • crispyduck13 says:

        Damn. I didn’t know shit was this complicated with certain phones now. I have a top of the line Nokia and it still functions like the older phones that required little thought to do simple things like this. Didn’t think other smart phones were much different.

        I’m making a point to never comment on iPhone related junk again, since I clearly don’t know what the hell is going on with that.

      • chefboyardee says:

        Nope :) All Android phones can do this. You just press the volume rocker. It keeps ringing to the caller, but is silenced on the receiver’s end.

      • Looseneck says:

        My “dumb” phone has a quiet/ignore option – I pick one and the phone stops ringing,

      • qwickone says:

        You can also turn your Android phone face down (assuming it was face up), which stops the ringing. It’s definitely on HTC phones, I think it’s all Android.

      • Black Bellamy says:

        Yeah, my Blackberry has that. I don’t know of any phones that don’t do that. Even my ancient clamshells had a mute ringer button.

      • lee says:

        just press the Vol up or down button that stops the ringing or Vibrating (works norm on Any phone)

    • Karney says:

      I don’t think you know what hacking is.

      Additionally, I think this is the first useful post I have seen from Phill in a while.

    • chefboyardee says:

      You’re completely missing the point. On Android phones, yes, if someone calls, you press the big red button to end the call and send to voicemail. But if a solicitor/spammer/ex is calling you every 2 hours you don’t want to do that every time they call. You want to send them to voicemail without even ringing. This is how you do it, and it’s not hacky, it’s setting an option in your phone book on that caller’s number. It’s as simple as it could possibly be.

      Although I knew about this trick, I agree with Karney when (s)he said this is the most useful Phil post in a while.

  3. demona667 says:

    How can I do this on my Blackberry?

  4. TheUncleBob says:

    A neat idea, but rather useless for robocallers. I can’t remember a time when I got a robocall from the same number twice.

    What we need is a CAPTCHA for phones. Imagine calling a number – the person on the other end doesn’t recognize your number, so they hit a “Dismiss to CAPTCHA” button. You’re taken off to voice-mail like message: “Hi, this is Bob. I don’t recognize your number. To help avoid unwanted calls, please type the answer to this simple math question into your phone. Two plus 12 equals what?”

    If you hit “14”, then my phone will ring again and I’ll answer. If you hit the wrong buttons – or don’t hit anything – then the phone disconnects. No voice mail, no nothing. Goodbye.

    • TheUncleBob says:

      PS: I offer this app idea freely to whomever wants it. Just give me a free download, eh?

      • BrownLeopard says:

        I wonder if this is actually possible in Android. As a developer Android has quite a few limitations, and this means it would have to read phone state, read incoming call numbers, read contacts, etc. Some people would get a little squishish (I would think) having that available to an app.

        That being said, I may tinker around with this idea soon, and you’ll get credit if I can get it working properly and yes, a free download/updates.

        • TheUncleBob says:

          Yeah, the permissions it would need would be a little… troublesome.

          I can’t imagine it’d need access to your contacts though – but I can’t really say much about how Android programming works. I suppose you could set it up where if the number wasn’t already in your contacts, it would automatically go to the puzzle mode, but I was thinking it’d just be another option on the screen (like mute, send, end) whenever you had an incoming call.

    • sufreak says:

      Check out Google Voice. It may have what youre looking for

    • humphrmi says:

      AT&T in Illinois offers something like this, only just on landlines. If a call comes in from a blocked or otherwise unknown number, a voice greets them and asks to give their name. If they don’t, your phone never rings. If they do, it calls you, gives you their name, and gives you the option of taking the call, dropping the call or (here’s where it gets good) playing the caller a recorded “Please remove this phone number from your call list” message and then hanging up.

      Yeah, it’s not as good as what you suggested. And sadly, only available (AFAIK) in Illinois.

      • Joseph S Ragman says:

        That feature is called ‘privacy manager’ … if someone called from a blocked number, it automagically activated.

        Used to have it here in Michigan … got it for free when they first rolled it out, but after six months they started charging $5/month for it … suddenly it was not worth it.

      • Not Given says:

        Google Voice will do the same thing. It will let you pick up, if they leave a name it will tell you that, then you decide to accept or reject. If you reject, the call goes to voicemail. If you want to listen in, you can. If you want to never hear from that number again mark it as spam and it will give them a line disconnected message if they call again.

  5. Real Cheese Flavor says:

    If you want to go one step further Google Voice has a feature so that once a caller is flagged as spam all they’ll hear the next time they call you is an SIT and a “The number you have reached has been disconnected or no longer in service” announcement.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      Now that is clever.

      • The Twilight Clone says:

        So clever that very few people know about google voice. And of the people to whom I’ve advocated GV, even fewer care and ultimately sign up. It’s free and it rocks. Still, people are lazy.

        • CubeRat says:

          I’m getting so irked at Google. Every single thing needs a separate id/logon…

          I like the idea of sending the calls to voicemail, as I haven’t set up my voicemail, and I don’t plan to do so. Everyone that leaves a message will all equally be ignored. You want me, you can try later, send me a text, or send me an e-mail.

          Thanks for playing.

    • IGetsAnOpinion says:

      My GV number is the only number I give out, except for family – they have my real cell number. It is SO handy.

    • Such an Interesting Monster says:

      You beat me to it! Google Voice is the only way to go. Hell, I don’t even know the number for my cell phone. I only give out the GV number. One click is all it takes to banish robocallers into the abyss forever.

  6. Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

    And if robocallers ever used the same caller ID number twice, this would be useful.

    • GoldVRod says:

      Caller ID doesn’t work on cellphones.

      • temporaryerror says:

        Sure it does. Tmobile even has a service that gives you the name, if available, associated with the number.

        • GoldVRod says:

          Ahh – you are correct. However that service was only launched later last year so I guess I could be forgiven for thinking nothing has changed since the 70s.

          So let me correct my post. Cellphones, up until very, very recently, didn’t have Caller ID. :p

          • purpleterrapin says:

            uh yes they have had it for *years*. Maybe not id-ing the company or individual associated with the number but they could ID the number calling. That is caller ID. Those who block their numbers from caller ID…well I hate you.

            • GoldVRod says:

              To me “caller ID” is a service that, you know, IDs the caller.

              It’s not – “Here’s a seemingly random string of circa ten digits. I hope you recognize it as a family member’s phone number. If not – tough!”.

              • scoosdad says:

                OK, let me rephrase Ottto’s original statement for you:

                And if robocallers ever used the same phone number twice, this would be useful.

                There, happy? I get repeated calls from the same source every day but on different random phone numbers. If that happens, blocking the call by comparing it to a previously stored list of numbers to block doesn’t work. I have that feature on my home VOIP phone line, and when they spoof a number, they still get through even though I’ve added all their previous calls to the block list.

  7. aloria says:

    Now if only I could do something similar for SMS…

    • Akuma Matata says:

      ^ this!

    • ScottG says:

      Some SMS android apps can do something similar. I use GoSMS Pro and it as a filter option on it. A filtered message goes into a special “folder” and no notification is given. I have mine set to filter unknown messages (i.e. not in my contact list). Had a few “make $x,000 dollars working from home” type texts go into the filter box

  8. temporaryerror says:

    Gingerbread has a “blacklist” option that does the same thing.

  9. Tegan says:

    On a slightly related note, does anyone know of a free app (or other free method) for Android that will block calls from all unlisted phone numbers? Google Voice would only work for my Google Voice number, not my regular Verizon one. All the apps from the market I’ve checked out so far will only allow blacklisting of specific numbers, like Verizon’s free service.
    Apparently there’s a way to do it with Verizon parental controls, but that’s a paid service and I’d really rather not inflate my cell phone bill any larger than it already is if possible.

    • Akuma Matata says:

      if you use google apps or gmail, you can set up a special contact (I use ‘Spam’) and as each call comes in on your Verizon phone, add it to the Spam contact and set that contact to immediately go to Voicemail.

  10. milty45654 says:


  11. IGetsAnOpinion says:

    Grabbing my Android…oh hey, look at that. Blacklist. Done. I have actually gotten multiple spam calls (in Spanish NTL) from the same number. Not any more…

  12. pararescuejmper says:

    I tried doing this but it didn’t work. I random number with a Chicago area code would randomly call my phone all hours of the night. When I finally answered at 3 a.m. it was some man who was more drunk than not saying this number was in the new phone he “aquired”. I told him to remove my number that I didn’t know him, but he continued to call. I saved him in my phone as Idiot who won’t stop calling and clicked the send to voicemail button. But the next time he called it rang to my phone. Finally a friend of mine used his mean cop voice telling the man to not call.

    Has anyone else tried the send to voicemail and had it work? I use it on my google voice number and it works.

  13. ThinkingBrian says:

    I wish there was a tip like this for my father’s LG800G tracfone, one number that just wouldn’t get the message and stop calling period.

    But this tip does help me on my Android phone if I have the problem. Good to know.

  14. Lyn Torden says:

    “Sorry, but this line has been disconnected JUST FOR YOU”

  15. Willow01 says:

    Or you can just get the app mCleaner for both Android and iPhone, put numbers on a black list, they wont even go to voicemail, they’ll get hung up directly on and get that annoying noise.

  16. yurei avalon says:

    I think some wireless carriers also let you block phone numbers through their website interfaces?

  17. LanMan04 says:

    If you use Cyanogen on your phone, you can long-press any phone number anywhere in the system (contact list, an email, a website, whatever) and it will give you an option to “add to blacklist”.

    Poof, done, I don’t even think it goes to voicemail.

  18. ToddMU03 says:

    Mr. Number will either banish calls to voicemail, or my favorite option, pick up and hang up on them.

  19. davids says:

    This can be disabled by carrier customization of the Android system.

    I can do this on my Android 4.0 phone (Samsung Nexus S) but my GF cannot do it on her AT&T Captivate (Samsung Galaxy S family phone). We tried this just a few weeks ago to force her “ex” to voicemail and were disappointed.

  20. JuneBugApril says:

    Mobile Manager on Android Market will block spam calls and spam text messages. Both are free apps. I also use Call Control which just blocks calls.

  21. Dr.Wang says:

    I would like to be able to use wildcards in my phone caller black list so I can say to my phone: block all callers from area code 213. Or allow all callers from 312-555-*****. Blocking calls should be a feature of the smart phone. And routing unwanted callers to voice mail defeats the purpose. I want to be able to totally block certain callers from contacting me. If I still get their robo voicemail then they still win. But I like the captcha idea too, until the robocallers hire slaves from Vietnam to answer those captchas, hence the plan to block area codes, or only allow calls from certain area codes. Only accept calls from people in my phone directory.

  22. Chiclet says:

    I use the Call Control App. It will allow you to create a black list, use a community black list and block unknown numbers and fake area codes. Seems to work pretty well.

  23. MECmouse says:

    I set up a telemarketer contact in my iPhone and downloaded a ‘loud silent ring’ to my ringtones. If I get an unknown number, unless local, I won’t answer but will hit the dismiss button and when I look later at my recent calls I add it to my telemarketer contact.

    I’ve gotten several calls from several of the same telemarketers over the past two years and now if they repeat call they go straight to voice mail without ringing.

  24. Aking0667 says:

    This feature is pretty much convincing me to go android instead of iOS. Now if only we can get this for commercials on TV.