I’d Rather Not Talk to You

Over in the twitterverse I recently saw the question posed:

Any iPhone users know of anyway to block a specific number from your phone?

After a quick cursory search of the internet I was unable to find anything better than the solution I’ve been using, so I thought I’d share.The iPhone has the ability to choose what ringtone you use, and to pick specific ringtones for individual callers.  For my kids I use the alarm sound; the loudest ringtone I could find pre-configured on the iPhone.  Not because it’s an annoying sound, but because if my kids are calling I want to be sure I hear it ringing… it might be important.  (Just leave me with that fantasy will ya?)

For other callers though, I really didn’t want to know they’re calling at all.  I was very surprised that the iPhone didn’t come with a setting to mute specific callers, so I created one.

The “Silent Ringtone”.  A sound file with no sound, converted into an iPhone ringtone.  Rather than guiding you through making a silent ringtone yourself, I’ll let you use mine.  Let me just walk you through how to install it, then how to use it:

  1. Download SilentRingtone
  2. Find where you downloaded the file and change its name from “SilentRingtone.doc” to “SilentRingtone.m4r”
    (WordPress doesn’t allow m4r files to be uploaded, so I had to change its name so that you could download it.)
  3. If your system warns you about changing the extension of the file, select “Use .m4r”, or the equivalent on a PC.
  4. Double-click the file.  iTunes will automatically add it to your ringtones folder in the iTunes library.
  5. Sync your phone to iTunes
  6. Create a new contact with a company name of “Nobody I Wanna Talk To”
  7. Here’s the important step:
    Assign all the numbers of callers who you really don’t want to talk to, to the new contact entry.  All the numbers:  solicitors, tele-marketers, and the numbers of your ex who you no longer want to hear from.

iPhone ScreenshotBy grouping all these numbers together under the single contact you will have no idea which of them is calling; just that it’s someone, or something, that you don’t want to talk to.  You can even assign a custom image to the contact entry if you like.

This will work for texting too, but not as well.  The default text-alert tone will still play no matter what ringtone you choose, and there is no way that I’ve found to change that behaviour…yet.  On the plus side, you won’t be able to tell who’s sending the text message — unless they say who they are — but you could just delete them without reading them.

I know this isn’t a perfect solution, but until AT&T and/or Apple come up with something better, or someone on the internet finds another hack better than this, it’s the best I’ve got for now.

The other use for the Silent Ringtone, and the one that I use much more often, is assigning it to individual contact entries; individual people.  I’ve found this to be especially nice for when I really don’t want to hear the phone ringing just for that person.  If I’m out meeting Jane for the first time, I don’t want to hear my phone ringing for Julie who I’m meeting tomorrow.  Since I still want to hear it when my kids call, the Silent Ringtone is a perfect solution.

I really don’t understand why Apple didn’t include a silent ringtone along with their standard selections of marimba, alarm, bark, crickets, and more, but now you have a way to silent those specific calls.

If you’re interested in making your own ringtones there are many sites available that will step you through the process.  I’ve used the information at eHow, which you can use as a starting point.


About Fresh Start Dad
Early forties, divorced dad of two teenagers, surviving back in the single world. Here to share stories and any survival skills I pick-up a

3 Responses to I’d Rather Not Talk to You

  1. Beth says:

    Oooh…. look at my question making your blog! WOOO HOOOO!!!

    The silliest part about this is that I have a friend who has a $50 boost mobile phone and it can block calls, immediately ignore them essentially. But my fancy dancy iphone cant do it. Just irritating.

    Thanks for these suggestions…. this should work.

    • What happens to the calls on Boost Mobile? From what I found, you can send it straight to voicemail, which is pretty much the same thing as I have here.

      Either way, glad if it helps!

      • Beth says:

        Yeah, the phone doesnt ring just goes right to vm. Which is a great feature. But, not getting rid of my iphone because of this one little thing…

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