If you have an iPhone, it’s simple to block nuisance callers. Do you keep getting annoying automated calls asking if you’ve been in a recent accident? Just hang up, go to the call log and block that caller – that is, as long as they haven’t withheld their number.
But what if the reverse happens? If you can’t get through to a particular person after trying a number of times, is there a way to tell if they have blocked you on their iPhone?
There may be another reason you can’t get through. Maybe they have Do Not Disturb enabled? Or are they simply busy and haven’t had time to respond?
Before we get to the tips, there’s something to take into account: it’s tricky to know for sure if you’ve been blocked. But if you use these methods, you’ll have a better idea.
The most likely scenario is that the person you’re trying to contact hasn’t got around to replying to your message or calling you back just yet. Give it a few hours and try again.
But if it’s not a case of mild social paranoia, here are some signs that you might’ve been blocked on an iPhone. Bear in mind that these are just tips. To be 100 percent certain, you’ll need to ask them in person.
Can you find out if you’ve been blocked by calling?
To test what happens to a blocked call, we blocked a number and monitored the experience on both phones. When calling from the blocked number, the caller hears either one ring, or no rings at all, but the other person’s phone will remain silent. The caller is then informed that the recipient isn’t available, and the call is diverted to voicemail (if it’s been set up by the person you’re calling).
There doesn’t seem to be a reason why the number of rings varies, but if you hear two or more, you can be pretty sure you haven’t been blocked.
It’s possible to leave a message if someone has blocked you, but the snag is that the blocker will never be notified of your message. It will appear at the very bottom of their voicemail list in the Blocked Messenger section (if they’re on a carrier that supports visual voicemail such as O2 or EE), but most people are unlikely to check there.
Can you find out if you’ve been blocked by texting?
Texting someone who’s blocked you works as you’d expect. The message will send as normal, and you won’t get an error message. So, there’s no point looking there for clues.
Nor are iMessages any help. If you have an iPhone and try to send an iMessage to someone who’s blocked you, it will remain blue (which means it’s still an iMessage). However, the person who has blocked you won’t receive that message. It’s true that you won’t get a ‘Delivered’ notification as you usually would, but this alone isn’t proof that you’ve been blocked. The person you’re trying to reach could simply not have any signal, or an active internet connection, at the time you sent the message.
Could Do Not Disturb/Focus mode be confusing the situation?
Apple’s Do Not Disturb tech, which has blossomed into multi-use Focus tech, gives users complete control over incoming notifications, calls and messages, essentially dictating who and what they want to be notified about when a focus is active. If you’re at work, for example, you may choose to block all incoming texts, calls and notifications from all but work colleagues to help keep you free from distractions.
Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry
This could explain why you haven’t been able to get through to a friend or family member. Apple does give users the ability to share their Do Not Disturb status via the Messages app, so you could take a look at the message thread to see if Do Not Disturb is enabled on the recipient’s phone, but status sharing isn’t enabled by default, so not everyone will use it.
If your calls and texts are being blocked via a Focus/Do Not Disturb mode, give it a few hours before you try to contact them again.
Okay, so have I been blocked or not?
The call is the best way to determine whether or not you’ve been blocked by an iPhone user. The key is that you will always be diverted to voicemail after exactly one ring. If the person you’re trying to reach is just declining your call because they’re busy, the number of rings will vary each time, and if the phone is switched off, it wouldn’t ring at all.
But, you should keep in mind that Do Not Disturb will also cut you off after exactly one ring, so don’t get too worried if your calls aren’t going through at 3am. There is a Do Not Disturb setting that allows the user to specify that repeated calls are allowed through, so you could always try again right away – just make sure your call is urgent, or they may really block you this time!
Finally, we would like to repeat that this isn’t an exact science, so don’t overthink it until you know for sure. And if they’ve blocked your number, hey, who needs them?
(If you have the opposite problem and you have an iPhone and want to stop an annoying caller ringing or texting you, here’s how to block a number.)