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How to Silence Unwanted Callers on iPhone for Free



If you want to stop interruptions from unwanted callers on your iPhone, we have a quick tip on how to silence and essentially block unwanted callers without paying AT&T $5 to block the call.

Why would you need to block unwanted callers? Well, my son got in trouble at school because he left his ringer on and hadn’t read this “How To” on blocking unwanted callers. If you get unwanted calls late at night or at annoying times, you can also benefit from this guide.

My son has an iPhone and just forgot to turn off the ringer. So, he asked me how to block a caller. It turns out the same person is calling him all the time, but he doesn’t know him. His name is Elliot and he asks for Sarah. We don’t know Elliot or Sarah. All his friends are in school and his family knows not to call him during classes. So how can you block callers on the iPhone?

silent ringtone

You can buy a silent ringtone in iTunes on the iPhone for $1.29

AT&T wants $5 for the feature. It is called AT&T Smart Controls. I said just turn off your ringer. If he could remember to do this, then it would not have been an issue in the first place.

I learned of a technique from a friend that many use to block unwanted callers. Assign the number to a special contact that you create in your iOS address book called “blocked contact” and give it a silent ringtone. If you need them, here are the steps:

recent calls

Open Phone and go to Recents to find the offending number

  1. Find the number in the Phone app – look in Recents tab
  2. Tap the blue arrow and choose Create New Contact
  3. Assign it a name like “Blocked Contact”
  4. Edit the Ringtone item and select your silent ringtone – more on this below
  5. Choose save
create contact

From recent calls, tap the blue arrow and create a new contact called "blocked"

From now on, whenever the offending party calls your phone, it will light up and buzz, if you have the vibrate feature turned on, but the phone won’t ring. To get rid of the vibrate go to Settings and look in Sounds. Turn the feature to Off. It won’t buzz on this number or any other so you may just want to put up with the buzzing. For future unwanted callers just add the number to this contact.

How do you get the silent ringtone? There are two ways. First, and free, you can download a silent ringtone from PocketPC Central save the file to the hard drive and import it into iTunes. Do this by double clicking the file. iTunes should open adding it to the list of ringtones. Otherwise go to the File menu and choose Add to Library. Select the file and let it import. Now when you sync go to the iPhone’s page in iTunes and choose the ringtones tab and make sure either all of them or at least the new silent one is selected and then sync the iPhone with iTunes.

You can also buy one, which is what we did. For only $1.29 you have a silent ringtone. In iOS 4.3 there is now a link in the ringtones screen that takes you to the iTunes store on your iPhone. Strangely, we had trouble searching the Mac version of iTunes for ringtones.

buy more tones

The Buy More Tones button is under Sounds and Ringtone in Settings




  1. Roberto

    03/30/2011 at 10:15 pm

    Is it really this complicated to block a call on an I-phone? Call filter on Android. Free. Add the number you want to block. Done.

    • Ma

      01/09/2012 at 12:03 pm

      So he needs to spend hundreds on a new phone because the buck 29 is too much trouble. You are a moron

  2. GoodThings2Life

    03/30/2011 at 11:13 pm

    You really mean to tell me it’s this difficult to silence the phone? I have a “Profile” button right on my home screen of my EVO that I press to toggle between ring, vibrate, and silent. I’ve also used apps (on Android and previous Windows Mobile phones) that allow me to “schedule” those profile modes, though I don’t bother with them very often.

    • Adsa

      09/13/2011 at 11:23 pm

      iPhone is easy silence, there’s a toggle buttton – this article is not referring to that, it’s referring to silencing out certain contacts without having to switch all calls your calls to silent!

  3. Kteal83527

    10/25/2011 at 8:37 pm

    My old samsung flip phone had the ability to list contacts as either “friends” or “business”.  If I was taking a nap, I could silence all “friends” during that hour or two while I was trying to sleep.  They would go straight to voicemail.  Vice Versa, I could silence “business” contacts over the weekend if wanted.  A great simple feature.  My Iphone 4s can’t even do this!   I thought I bought a smartphone!  Do I really want to jailbreak my phone just to have this basic app?   

  4. Kirby

    10/25/2011 at 8:40 pm

    DUDE, Iphone SUCKS.   I traded mine in because I couldn’t silence my girlfriend calling me all through the day while I was working.  I didn’t want to change her ringtone all the time.  If I silenced everything, I missed important work calls.   That was a deal-breaker for me and I went and bought an Android (call-blocker feature).  It was either her or the iphone! 

    • Me

      01/09/2012 at 12:05 pm

      You are an idiot also

  5. bornplaydie

    11/13/2011 at 4:12 pm

    Yes, I have been using iPhone since 2008 and this particular gross lack of functionality drives me up the wall. Cannot assign categories like “friend” or “work” to contacts and then in turn assign global ringtones to those categories. Cannot assign properties to blocked call. Don’t let iPhone-ophiles tell you otherwise. They are in denial and will try to minimize the problem of a severe lack of functionality that I had on my phones back in the early 90’s

  6. cma

    01/08/2012 at 6:38 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this article! It’s too bad that apple doesn’t already have this feature, but your tips were helpful and I just bought the silence ring tone!

  7. Marksplumbing

    02/20/2012 at 4:56 am

    Ok Android users. U win on this one. I had an Evo and yes the silent/block by sending to voice mail is better.. However in many ways I prefer my iPhone. I can’t figure out why Apple doesn’t add toggles for Bluetooth, wifi, sounds etc. Android rules there. Apple users it’s easy. When the number u want to block comes in go to ur log. Press on the rite side of the number. It will ask if u want to make a contact. Add a contact. I call mine Tele short for telemarketers. Assign it a silent tone or crickets like I do. If my blue tooth is on and crickets harmonize my ear then guess what. I don’t push the button.

  8. Juan Ponce

    02/20/2012 at 10:43 pm

    Great tip for the iPhone. Tried it and it is great. A $1.29 is well worth it to silence annoying calls. I do wish Apple had build in his feature but it minor when another solution is thought by others. Thanks Kevin.

  9. Daan

    05/07/2012 at 2:40 am

    Right.. now I am going to jailbreak my phone
    I love my iPhone, but this lack of feature sucks!

  10. Annie

    06/11/2012 at 2:26 pm

    This is brilliant! Thank you so much for posting these instructions. The fax machine that has called my iPhone fourteen times this afternoon (so far) has been silenced with the free silent ringtone.

  11. bomani

    07/01/2012 at 4:31 am

    you all are morons

  12. Butch

    07/13/2012 at 1:37 pm

    Most people don’t even NEED a friggin’ cell phone! I don’t have one and never will! A good land line is all you need. You can wait until you get home to talk to Aunt Martha and such.

  13. Clive

    07/30/2012 at 11:49 am

    No Butch, nobody needs a cellphone. My Gran never had a fridge, so we don’t need them either. My house did not have a phone at all until I was 16 and we went on living, so we didn’t need a phone. When I was 10 there were only 3 cars in our street of 200 houses so they weren’t needed. I think we are talking about progress and needing something that has become commonplace.

    • 4ca

      09/09/2012 at 6:39 pm

      OK, as a soldier serving this progressive country, I need a phone to commo with my kids. I need a silencer to block tele’s. I have the iphone and love it. I don’t use any ringtone for my kids. I use facebook messenger. That’s silent and quick. I can see their pics and help them with homework. I could use a refridge too, it would be nice.

  14. Tukas

    09/17/2012 at 10:20 am

    Kevin loves notebooks, tablets, gadgets and photography. As you can see from his picture to the above left, he loves every flavor they come in, and has eaten many a gadget in his time.

  15. Haroon

    09/22/2012 at 12:06 am

    I want to block few callers in my iphone 4, if anyone knows there is a right software I will buy, I am fade up of someone keep me calling a day over 100 times.. even I dont like to talk to that person. sorry.. if anyone can help.
    Thanks a lot

    • onthe515

      03/22/2013 at 10:15 am

      Haroon, You can block up to 30 specific numbers with a Parental control feature. Maybe that’s just with ATT. It’s not free but they might let you try it for free.

  16. lolgetreal

    11/19/2013 at 3:56 pm

    This isn’t blocking, this is silencing a call. No thanks.

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