3 Free Ways to Block Numbers on Android Smartphones

Photo (cc) by Symic

Last month we covered a way to get free calling, texting and data. But what about the people who contact you that you don’t want to hear from at all?

Despite efforts to stop spam messages, robocalls and collection calls, we sometimes can’t avoid them.

Time researched some help — at least for Android users. They point out that Apple fans will get built-in blocking support in the next version of iOS this fall. People with phones using Google’s operating system can get help now, with three free apps.

The first is PrivacyStar, which alters the screen that pops up when a call is incoming. After you install it, call screens will show the number calling, along with buttons to check history with that number, block the call, or send back a pre-written (and customizable) text message, the magazine says. It has features to block numbers from calling or texting, and options to block entire area codes or any unknown or private number. The free version has ads; there’s a $2.99-a-month version that ditches them and provides extra features.

Next, there’s Mr. Number. “This app doesn’t completely highjack your regular Android call-answer screen” like PrivacyStar does, Time says. It will just add a box with caller name and the last call received from that number. Within the app, you can find a history of calls where you can mark specific numbers as spam or for blocking, Time says. You also get a limited number of free reverse call look-ups — but you can do that in your favorite search engine without running the risk of buying more.

The last app mentioned by the magazine is Calls Blacklist, a no-frills option. It can block manually entered numbers or those pulled from your contact list, call logs or message logs. Blocked callers can still leave voice mail, Time says, and the app still tracks when blocked numbers call you in case you want to know without talking to someone.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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