Blocking Calls on an iPhone

I took the plunge today and had my AT&T landline disconnected. My daughter and I stopped answering the house phone years ago because anybody we wanted to talk with called us on our cell phones. The only reason we used the home phone was to find a “missing” cell phone lost in the wasteland we call home.


Over the past few months, I’ve begun getting solicitation calls on my iPhone. Not sure how they got the number, but they did. The good news is there’s an easy way to block them. Built into iOS 7 is a Block Callers feature. (If you haven’t upgraded to iOS 7, there’s a workaround. More about that below.)


Not only do their phone calls not go through, you can block their Face time calls, text messages, iMessages and emails as long as you have their email, phone number and Apple ID in their Contacts entry.


So, What happens to their call?

When someone you’ve blocked tries to call, they get redirected to a voicemail box that doesn’t exist. Text messages and emails get dropped into the abyss. There’s no indication on their side that you’ve blocked them!


Make it so!

The process of blocking a caller is simple…


  • Open the phone app on your iPhone and go the “Recents” list.
  • Find the caller you want to block.
    (Note: If they’re not in the Recent list but you have them in your Contacts, select Contacts
    at the bottom of the phone app and find their entry. You won’t find the “Block this Caller” option if you go to their entry via the Contacts application. Then skip to step 4.)


  • Select the info button on the far right of their name.
  • Scroll down to the bottom and select “Block this Caller”
    Block this caller 
  • From the pop-up window, select “Block Contact”.Block Contact


And that’s it! No muss. No fuss. No smelly odors!! Oh, and if you have a change of heart, you can unblock them later.




But What if i’m not on iOS 7?

So, what if you haven’t or can’t upgrade to iOS 7? Well, there’s a solution for you too. We’ll create a “Blocked Calls” entry in your Contacts to handle this.


  • Open the Contacts application and press the “+” button to create a new entry.
  • Name the entry something meaningful like “Blocked Caller List”.
  • Add all the phone numbers you want to ignore into this entry.
  • Set the ringtone to silent. To do this, you’ll need to buy or create a “silent” ringtone. (See Making a Silent Ringtone below. Its easy to make.)
  • Change the default vibration setting to “None”.
  • Change the text tone and vibration settings to “None”. 

Change these




Making a Silent Ring tone…

You can make a silent ring tone in a matter of seconds using QuickTime Player. Here’s how…


  • Launch QuickTime Player.
  • Select “New Audio Recording” from the File menu.
  • Within the “Audio Recording” window, double click on the red record button. This will create an audio recording of 0 seconds in length.
  • Save the file to your desktop. Give it a meaningful name, like “silent”.
  • Find the file on our desktop and rename it to “silent.m4r”. A dialogue box will appear asking if you really want to save the file with the new extension. Yes, you do!
  • Double click on “silent.m4r”. This will import it into iTunes.
  • Connect your iPhone to your computer and select it in iTunes.
  • From the menu, select the Tones menu.
    Select Tone menu 
  • From the Tones menu, check “Sync Tones” if isn’t selected already.
    Select Sync Tones 
  • Then, check “silent” in the list of ringtones and click on the “Apply” button on the bottom right side of iTunes. You now have a new ringtone available which you can assign to your blocked caller entry.

iOS 6: Emailing a photo just got easier…

Prior to iOS 6, the process of emailing a photo required you to start in the Photos application and email the photo from there. You couldn’t do it from within the Mail application. iOS 6 changes this.

When composing an email on your iPhone/iPad/iPod touch, double tap in the body of the message. The familiar option bar (Select | Select All | Paste, etc.) will appear. A new choice has been added – Insert Photo or Video. (On the iPhone/iPod, tap on the arrow on the far right of the option bar to get to this option.)

Insert Photo

Tap on Insert Photo or Video and you’ll be taken to Photos. Select the photo or video you want to attach. Repeat this step if you want to attach more than one photo or video.

Who’s On Your VIP Mail List?

With the release of iOS 6 and Mountain Lion, Apple introduced a new email status called VIP. This is a built-in “smart folder”, a concept that has been a part of OS X for a long time.

When designated a VIP, email from this person will automatically appear in an email folder called…drum roll please…VIP.


 (To find this screen: From within Mail, select the Mailboxes icon in the upper left hand corner.)

Finding all Mailboxes

Next, select VIP and you’ll see the list of folks on your list:

VIP list

 Adding people to your VIP list is simple. Select Add VIP… and you’ll be taken to your contacts list. From there, pick the folks that are near and dear to your heart.

And while you’re here, you can set a unique alert tone which will be used when you get mail from your VIP buddies. Select VIP alerts and it will take you to the screen where you can set a variety of things. (See my previous blog entry for detailed info.)

Customizeable Mail Alerts

I access my four email accounts through Apple’s Mail application on my Mac, iPhone and iPad. Up until iOS 6, all incoming emails were treated equal. By that I mean, the same alert tone was used to announce incoming emails from everybody regardless of the email account. So, without checking, I didn’t know if I was getting an email sent to my personal email account or one of the others.

With the release of iOS 6, we can customize the tone used for incoming mail on an account by account basis. (Plus some other things I’ll get to.)

To customize incoming mail alert tones: Go to Settings > Notifications > Mail. Select an account, then select New Mail Sound to change or turn off the alert tone. If you have more than one email account, consider using a different alert for each. Or even turning off the alert tone. Since these settings are unique per device, I can set them one way on my iPhone and another on my iPad.

Custom Email Alerts 1          Custom Email Alerts 2

Also within the mail account screen, you can customize a variety of other settings…how the alert will display on your screen (Alert Style), whether the App icon will display badges* (Badge App Icon), if a preview of an incoming email will display on your screen (Show Preview) and if that preview will display when your screen is locked (View in Lock Screen).


VIP Treatment

With the release of Mountain Lion for the Mac and iOS 6 for iPhone and iPad, Apple introduced a new email group called VIP. Email from people on your VIP list will go into a special mailbox, making them easy to sort from all your other email. (This is a variation of the Smart Mailbox feature that’s been around a long time on the Mac.)

You can assign a unique alert tone to this group: Go to Settings > Notifications > Mail > VIP. Select an alert tone from the list. Now, without looking, you’ll know if an incoming email is from your VIP group.

Don’t know how to make someone a VIP? Stay iTuned…


*Badge is a fancy name for the icon with the number inside it that appears in the upper right hand corner of an App icon. It denotes the number of something…unread emails, new updates available, etc.

Forwarding a Portion of an Email

Occasionally I want to forward only a portion of an email. This is a simple task when using the OS X Mail application.

1. Highlight the portion of the text you want to forward.

Highligted text

2. Click on the “forward arrow” at the top of the OS X Mail application.

Forwarded text

A new email will open containing only the highlighted portion of the original email.