You might want to block someone from texting or calling you for many reasons. Maybe you've been getting phishing SMS messages, spam marketing texts or annoying phone calls from someone you're trying to avoid. Or perhaps you just need to set boundaries with someone you know or prefer that only close friends or family can contact you on mobile.
Blocking numbers is easy to do – we explain how in this article. But what happens after you've blocked them? Can blocked numbers text you? Discover how blocking works and whether someone you've blocked can still contact you on various mobile channels.
What happens when a blocked number texts you?
A blocked person can't reach you via text. Technically, they can still send an SMS message to your phone number, and they'll see the regular delivery status at their end, just like with any other texts they send. But you won’t receive the message in your phone’s SMS inbox, essentially blocking the contact at your end.
If you and your blocked contact both have iMessage, the chat bubble for the message they send will turn green instead of the usual blue on their phone after blocking. No delivery status will be displayed under the message either – possibly alerting them that they've been blocked.
Can a blocked number still call you?
When you block a number, that person can't call you via a cell network. They might hear a busy dial tone or be directed to voicemail immediately or after a few rings, depending on your device type and carrier. A recorded message may also play for the caller, claiming your phone is busy or out of reach, but your phone won’t ring at all – therefore not disturbing you.
However, blocked callers may still be able to leave you a voicemail. If you want to block those, you’ll need to contact your mobile operator and ask them to block the number completely. The blocked contact won’t know you’ve blocked them unless you tell them yourself, and the contact profile won’t be deleted from your phone either.
Usually, blocked calls are hidden from your phone's call log and added to a separate list, which you can access through your 'Phone' app's settings. However, a blocked call may be listed in your phone's call log with a 🚫 sign or another similar indicator. If it does show up, you can hide it by toggling the ‘Hide blocked calls’ option to 'on' – again, you can do this within the 'Phone' settings.
Note that blocked numbers can still call (or message) you via WiFi using an OTT messaging app such as Viber or WhatsApp or video calling software such as Zoom or Skype – only if these apps are downloaded on your mobile device.
Can blocked contacts FaceTime you?
FaceTime is an audio and video calling app only available for iPhones. A blocked person can't make FaceTime calls. The phone will keep ringing for them, but you won't know about the calls – there'll be no ringing or notification on your end.
If you block a number on your iPhone, that person's email address is also automatically blocked, so they can't email you either using the Apple Email app. (This is only the case if the blocked contact has an email address linked to their profile in your address book.)
What happens if you unblock the contact
If you decide to unblock someone, they can resume texting and calling you like before. They won't get an alert to say they've been unblocked, just like they didn't know you'd blocked them in the first place.
Be aware that any texts, missed calls or voicemails sent to you during the time someone was blocked won't suddenly appear and be visible to you.
How to block numbers on Android
There are a few ways to block numbers if you have an Android phone. These options below will work if you have a recent model with One UI.
1. Via the Phone app (call log)
Click on the 'Recents' tab, tap the number or contact name of the caller you want to block, and click on the little information icon. At the bottom of the screen, you will see an option called 'Block'. Alternatively, you can do the same in the 'Contacts' tab. Just tap the contact you want to block and tap the info icon. At the bottom, you’ll see the ‘Block’ option appear. (It could also be hidden inside the menu at the bottom right corner. Click the three dots to see a ‘Block contact’ option.)
2. Via the Messages app
Find the conversation for the contact you want to block. Long-press it to select the chat, then click the three dots in your screen's top right corner. Then tap 'Block'.
3. Within the Contacts app
Search for the contact you want to block and tap on it to open the profile. Click the dots in the bottom right corner to locate the ‘Block contact’ option.
How to block numbers on iPhone
The process is very similar if you have an iPhone...
1. Via the Phone app (call log)
Under 'Recents', click on the information icon on the right-hand side of the number or name of the person you want to block. At the bottom of the open screen, you'll see an option to 'Block this caller'.
2. Via Settings
Go to your iPhone settings and locate the 'Phone' app. From there, access the option called 'Blocked Contacts' and click on 'Add new' to add a number or contact to the list.
3. Within the Contacts app
Open up your Contacts app and locate the person you want to block. Tap on their name to open their profile details and click the 'Block this caller' option.
Getting curious? How to see blocked messages
There may be times when you want to review blocked texts – those that were sent prior to you blocking a particular number or person. Here's how to do that:
Open your Messages app, click the hamburger menu on the left, and click on the option ‘Spam and blocked’. That’s where you’ll find all the texts from numbers you've blocked. (You can also unblock contacts here if you wish.)
There's no way to see texts from blocked contacts. However, you can try contacting your mobile network carrier to see if you can access your message logs through them. Verizon, for instance, lets you download mobile, text and data usage details for the last 90 days.
Can I text or call a blocked person?
Yes, you can text and call people you’ve blocked from your phone. That is unless those contacts have also blocked your number in retaliation.
How does blocking work with promotional text messages?
Many businesses use SMS APIs to send promotional texts – they can come from long codes (10dlc numbers), short codes or alphanumeric, branded Sender IDs. You can block a short code or sender ID as easily as any other number. However, multiple businesses often share a single short code number, so blocking one company may inadvertently block several others you might want to hear from.
Businesses are legally obliged to obtain your express prior consent to receive marketing messages, which involves you willingly opting in. Likewise, they must also provide an opt-out instruction or unsubscribe link within every marketing text they send. (The opt-out instruction might be wording like: 'Text STOP to opt-out' or 'Reply 'UNSUB' to unsubscribe'.)
Rather than blocking a business if you don't want to receive promotional texts, a better option is to unsubscribe via one of their messages. If the brand doesn’t stop texting you after you unsubscribe – you're within your rights to pursue legal action against them for violating TCPA regulations. As a result, they could receive a hefty fine for breaking the law.
Blocking a number: easy and effective
You can easily block text messages and spam calls. Depending on the device and mobile carrier you're using, you may have to take some extra steps to block voicemails or retrieve blocked messages. If you ever want to unblock a caller, that process is simple too – and texts and calls can resume afterwards.
Worried that you're a victim of SMS phishing? Here's how to spot smishing attacks.