When you get a call from an unknown number, do you answer it? I don’t. It’s usually someone trying to sell me something or scamming for personal information. This is also called a restricted number – where the caller hides any caller ID.
It can be really annoying but today I’m going to share with you easy ways to block restricted calls – calls from unknown numbers.
I’ll cover how this all works and then go step by step through the process for blocking restricted calls on Android phones and the iPhone.
The best part is that blocking these numbers won’t affect your regular contact list! It’s easy to do when you know how.
So Let’s get started.
What Are Restricted Calls?
Restricted calls are essentially unknown calls that you cannot identify. These calls are difficult to trace and tend to be marked as Unknown Number whenever you receive the call. Basically this just means that the caller has chosen to hide their caller ID for whatever reason.
In many cases, these restricted calls can be a bit dangerous to pick up or they might simply be businesses trying to sell you a product or service. Don’t we all love unsolicited calls?
In some cases, however, these restricted calls can be harmless as well. The person calling you may have hidden their information simply because they want to protect their privacy without letting too many of their details out into the open.
It is also possible that the callers belong to bigger companies who do not want or need you to call them back. This kind of communication is meant to be one-way and might therefore make it necessary to have the call restricted. Sensitive information can also lead to this kind of step.
There are several ways people can restrict their calls or hide their contact information and identities from their calls. For instance, they might simply use a *67 code each time they make a call. This hides their caller display ID.
This is called a USSD phone code – I have a guide about them and their uses here – worth a look.
Similarly, they could also select the settings in their own device that can allow them to hide their information. This can give them the flexibility to turn it on or off whenever they need to.
Some service providers might also grant this kind of requirement. Alternately, people might opt for temporary phones or apps that hide their IDs from the calls.
Either way, this can be frustrating for the receiver since it is something worth being cautious about. Restricted numbers can be used in various cyber attacks including Smishing and Vishing – both variations of Phishing scams you might be aware of.
Luckily, there are solutions that you can try out to block such restricted calls in the first place.
These solutions can work for both iPhones and Android devices with a few minor differences.
How to Block Restricted Calls on Android
There are a couple of ways you can block restricted calls on Android devices. Let’s look into these in further detail:
Block All Unknown Numbers
One way you can block restricted calls on your Android device is by simply blocking all unknown callers at once. This option should work across most Android devices. Go through the following steps to do this:
- Click on your phone icon on your home screen on your Android phone. This could also be your contacts section depending on the Android version and kind of device that you own.
- You will then have to locate three dots next to the search bar or at the top right of your screen. Click on these dots and then tap on the ‘Settings’ option.
- Under the ‘General’ heading, you will be able to see an option that says ‘Blocked numbers’.
- Once you do this, you will see an ‘Unknown’ option that you will need to toggle to turn on. This will now block all unknown numbers while receiving the call.
Block Individual Calls
You can also block individual unknown or restricted callers if you do not want to opt for a universal blocking option for unknown callers. This can help if there are some important unknown calls that you might receive.
If an individual or company has been calling you constantly and you only wish to block them, then you can go through the following steps:
- Go to the phone icon and then make your way to your recent calls or call history.
- Scroll down through this call history and find the individual number that you want to block.
- Once you find it, you can either press on the number for a few seconds or click on a question mark or dots next to the number (if available).
- Once this is done, you can click on the ‘Block number’ option to stop receiving any more calls or messages from them.
Blocking Restricted Calls on iPhone
The ways to block restricted calls on an iPhone are similar. You can follow these steps below:
Individual Unknown Numbers in Call History
Go through the following steps to block a restricted call on an iPhone.
- You will first need to go to the phone or contacts icon on your home screen.
- You can then go to your call log or history to see all your recent callers.
- You can scroll down and find the individual number that you want to block.
- Click on the question mark or dots next to the number. You might also need to long press on the number itself, depending on the version of your operating system.
- You can then click on the ‘Block the caller’ option to stop receiving any calls or messages from the number.
Do Not Disturb
You can also make use of the ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature on your iPhone to block restricted calls on your iPhone. You can go through the following steps to figure out how to do this.
- Go to the ‘General’ option in your iPhone Settings.
- You can then find the ‘Do Not Disturb’ option in these settings.
- Click on it and then scroll a bit until you find the ‘Allow Calls From’ option.
- You can then manually select who can call you when the ‘Do Not Disturb’ setting is turned on. The numbers that you do not select will not be able to contact you.
- You will then need to turn on the ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature to put this into effect.
It is important to note that this will no longer be effective once you turn off this feature.
There are several other options for both Android devices and iPhones that you can look into.
There are several service providers that have additional options that allow you to block restricted calls either before or during the call (while it is ringing). There might be other options as well, such as reporting, marking as spam and more. See how to view Sprint call and text logs in this guide – it can help identify problem numbers you might want to block or report.
There are several third-party apps that you can easily download from your app stores, such as Hiya, Call Blocker, RoboKiller, Calls Blacklist and lots more that you can choose and start using. This can be convenient to get rid of the issue once and for all.
Many of these apps, however, are paid. Make sure you go through their reviews before you download one.
Your government might have national registries that require you to register your numbers to prevent some companies or marketers from calling you. This might not, however, apply to all restricted calls.
You can also report unwanted calls through this kind of registry so that you can stop receiving such restricted calls. These can be used if you suspect call fraud scams such as Vishing – see that article if you haven’t heard of this.
There is a dark side to people using restricted numbers to hide their identity. Most scams and frauds will not have their own numbers for all to see and trace. Of course they use many methods to cover their tracks.
I have a whole section of this website covering various security issues – you should have a good look around. One that might interest you is – how to stop someone using your phone number. Sounds crazy but this can happen.
Through this guide, I have shown you the different ways you can block restricted calls on any Android phone and on an iPhone. You may also have tools from your service provider to help with this. I’ve also mentioned a few apps to block calls from unknown numbers.
Now that you know the methods, you can try them out and figure out which ones work best for you. Thanks for reading and good luck blocking!