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“Blocking” Calls on iPhone (Silent Ringtone Method)

Apr 11, 2013   //   by David   //   Blog, iOS Tips and Tricks  //  48 Comments

No Jail-breaking and no additional app needed.

Do you constantly get calls from a telemarketing number that’s driving you crazy? Wouldn’t it be great to be able to block? Definitely, but since that’s not a built in option on the iPhone a great workaround is to give the number a silent ringtone. All you have to do is create a contact from the number and set the ringtone to Silent. Once again, they missed the mark and a silent ringtone doesn’t come with your phone, however, there are lots of simple silent ringtones available. Here’s a small 8K file SilentRing.m4r

Here’s how to add the Silent Ringtone to your phone:

  1. Download a silent ringtone to your computer. SilentRing.m4r
  2. Open iTunes. Under LIBRARY on the left-hand menu in iTunes click TONES.
  3. Copy the silent ringtone into TONES.
  4. Connect your iPhone to the computer and sync (make sure Sync Tones is checked). The silent ringtone should now appear in your list of ringtones and you can assign this ringtone to specific contacts

Here’s how you assign the ringtone to the number you want to “Block”:

  1. Open Phone App.
  2. Go to RECENTS on your call list and click on the arrow to the right of the number for more options.
  3. Select Create New Contact.*
  4. Fill in the name field, I usually put SCAM or TELEMARKETER so I know at a quick glance in the future.
  5. Select on the ringtone currently shown as Default.
  6. Choose the SilentRing ringtone from the list.
  7. Press the SAVE button.
  8. Depending on your default settings you may also need to set Vibration to NONE.
  9. Press the DONE button in the upper right hand corner of the screen.
  10. Now when that number calls again you’ll see the call as SCAM (or whatever you entered) but it won’t ring.


*Another option is to create a single SCAM contact and add the new number to it using “Add to Existing Contact”. That way you only need to set the ringtone and vibration on a single contact. However, if you are syncing contacts with other services you may need to look into the limits on phone numbers per contact.

Admittedly, it’s not really blocking a call but it does make them silent and that’s all we really want isn’t it? This is a fairly simple solution that doesn’t require a 3rd party app and can be used on any contacts you want. Hope it helps and feel free to comment or share to show your appreciation.


  • This is a good explanation of how to accomplish adding a “silent” ring tone to the iPhone and then tying it to various numbers.

    The problem is other cel phone manufacturers are making tasks like this MUCH easier. The fact that the phone must first be plugged into a computer to make these changes is something that’s not required by other manufacturers.

    I LOVE Apple, own an iMac, Mac Book Pro, iPad, etc….even hold stock in the company, but Apple’s need to do EVERYTHING the “APPLE WAY” is gonna kill the brand. Many of the Apple products and software seem to be getting LESS intuitive, rather than easier to use. jmho

  • […] because that feature isn’t possible unless a user jailbreaks his iPhone. (For a free call blocking equivalent, however, one technique involves storing an offending number for your address book, labeling it as […]

  • Thanks for the guide!

  • I couldn’t make this work. When I opened iTunes and clicked on Library, Tones wasn’t an option.

    • Tom, it may be that Tones aren’t active in your Library so go to Preferences –> General and make sure that Tones is checked as a Source.

      • Will this work on iPhone with “blocked, no caller ID”, etc., when there isn’t a phone number associated with the call?


        • No, blocked and no caller id won’t work.

  • Simple fix huh ? Download this save this click that had a droid for 4 painful years but at least they were smart enough to have an option for silent ring and a straight to voicemail option with a simple click verses the eight step process of get a cord wave your hands in the air take two steps forward download this and select that and print out this recipe so you don’t have to google it next time and and I hope you don’t try all that bs while youre in your car or wanna do this while your at the mall ….someone said its the apple way I never thought stupidity was the apple way

    • Agreed, it’s frustrating. iOS7 does have call blocking built in which will be nice, finally.

  • David, thanks for the elegant workaround and for posting the no-sound file. It saved me a lot of time and frustration and it worked like a charm.

    • You’re welcome, Bill. Glad it helped.

  • Thanks a lot, David. It work and very easy to do. Again, thank you very much.

    • Thanks for the feedback. Considering the thousands of people that have download the silent ringtone, it’s nice when someone takes the time to say “thanks”.

  • Thanks so much for posting this information and the silent ringtone link.

    After using Android for years, I was stunned that my iPhone 5 did not have a silent ringtone option and I refuse to may $2 for one!

    Really do appreciate the time you put into the tutorial!

  • Unable to copy and paste into Tones. Frustrating! Drag and drop didn’t work either. When I tried “import” it would only go to Music, not Tones.

    • Can you see “Tones” in your iTunes library? If not, it may be that Tones aren’t active in your Library so go to Preferences –> General and make sure that Tones is checked as a Source.

      Also, make sure to click “Sync Tones” on your iPhone (Devices) section of iTunes.

      On PC, you may be able to just double click the silent tone in Windows Explorer — just make sure you’ve deleted the file everywhere else — to have it automatically install it into the Tones folder.

      • I am also unable to drag or paste into Tones in iTunes. Tones is there. Itunes won’t allow it.

        • I have a Mac Book and unable to have an option to download. I click on your link and it opens and plays silent of course. I have tones checked and active.

  • Works well, doesn’t ring and that’s what I wanted. Thank you. Two thumbs up. Instructions were great.

    • Block him with a silent

  • I too agree with everyone about the fact apple is making it harder not to look at other brands! But thank you for the sound file! Saved so many of us the $1.29 minimum download 😉

  • Great solution for continuous spam calls. Thanks very much!

  • Thanks for making this ringtone! It saved me the time of creating my own. Universal Survey Center calls me 2x a day, and won’t remove my number from their database.

    For the people having problems installing this ringtone:
    1) One way to download the file is to context click (press option while clicking) on the linked file above (in blue) and select Download Linked File.
    2) Once the file is downloaded, make certain the name is correct:
    SilentRing.m4r. When my Mac downloaded it, it changed the name to SilentRIng.m4r.mp4, so I had to remove the .mp4 extension.
    3) Then, just double click the file, and it should install itself in Tones in iTunes. Everything works as per David’s description, at least in Mountain Lion and using the latest version of iTunes.

    • Oops, I meant that control-click is context clicking on a Mac. I’ve used my trackpad for so long for this function, I’d forgotten the keys.

  • THANK YOU! I have been looking for a simple, easy solution for a relentless telemarketer.

  • Thanks for the easy to follow instructions.

    Worked like a charm!

  • Works Great! THANKS A BUNCH!

  • Thanks David! Works great.

  • Thanks! Process was less than 3 minutes and iCloud synced it directed to my phone w/o having to plug it into my desktop;

  • Thank you for the step by step guide. It was very easy to follow and convenient that you supplied the silent tone. With junk calls now silenced, you probably save me (and especially my wife) hours of sleep.

  • What about calls that come through as “No Caller ID” or “UNKNOWN”?

  • I have been saving these numbers for years in my phone and setting them to the go directly to the voice mail option I have over 600 of these numbers saved and it seems like every day these as of the last 6 months these ass hats call me from another new number.

  • Thank you so much David. It was so useful and easy. I still cant figure out why Apple does not provide option to silence annoying callers.

  • Hi –

    I think I am not doing something right, I was able to download and sync the Silent tone file on to my iPhone. However when I try to create a contact using Phone app > Recent calls , I do not see any arrow to the right of “No Caller ID” calls. All I see is an “i” information icon in a small circle clicking on which does not give me the option to create a contact. I manually created a contact with contact name and phone as “No Caller ID” which did not trigger the silent tone either.

    I have iOS 7.0.3 on iPhone 4S. Can you please advice.

    Go to RECENTS on your call list and click on the arrow to the right of the number for more options.
    Select Create New Contact.*
    Fill in the name field, I usually put SCAM or TELEMARKETER so I know at a quick glance in the future.

  • May be your solution is good only when a phone number is displayed. In case the caller calls as a private call, iPhone displays “No Caller ID”. Not sure if create contact would work in that case?

  • I get two to three calls a day from “Unknown,” who is smart enough to block his number so I can’t use your method. Any suggestions (other than a loud whistle)?

  • Thank you.. A very easy and simple step by step to follow and this silent ringtone made my life easier!

  • Worked like a charm. iPhone 4s with IOS 8.0.2

  • I’ve been doing that for over a year. But I still get 10 of these daily. They keep changing the phone numbers.

  • The iPhone 5s allows you to block callers or texters. Just go to your settings, messages, blocked. Voila. Follow the directions and good to go.

  • I downloaded the ringtone to my tones list with my Iphone synched to ITunes. However I cannot find the SilentRing tone anywhere in my list of available ringtones. I can’t even find it in the settings menu.

    • Make sure tones are selected to be synced in iTunes

  • I downloaded your silentring and got into my iTunes Library. I cannot, however, get it into Tones. Can you help? Thank you very much!

    • Are you having trouble getting it into Tones on iTunes or in the ringtone section of the phone?

      For iTunes, see some of the previous replies to match your problem.

      For the phone, make sure tones are selected to be synced in iTunes and then sync your phone.

  • Worked brilliantly. Perfect solution for ‘blocking’ calls from my dad who thinks it’s ok for him to call me at any time during my working day if he wants me to do something for him, and who will call back repeatedly (3, 4, 5 times) if I don’t pick up…! I am most grateful for the help.

  • […] phone number by number “blocking” technique has been around for a while and I’ve used both on my Palm phones (Samsung i500, Treo […]

  • Thank you, I’ve just sorted this out on my soon to-be-replaced 3GS. I knew how to do it anyway, but the downloadable silent ringtone sure helps, and saved me time creating it, and is now assigned to my contact called “Cold Callers”.

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