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How to Stop Unwanted Calls By Blocking Them on Your Phone

How to Stop Unwanted Calls By Blocking Them on Your Phone

Let’s face facts; there are numerous reasons why you would want to block a number on your phone. Unfortunately, almost all of these are unpleasant, whether they pertain to persistent ex-partners, scammers or telemarketers who refuse to take your silence as a hint that they are being obtrusive.

While having to block a number is never nice (especially if it belongs to someone that you know), it is relatively easy to achieve this regardless of which mobile service you use. So, here is a breakdown of how to block numbers across multiple device types and operators.

How to Block a Number on iOS, Android and Windows

Before you seek to block numbers on your smartphone, you can look to impose a general ban by adding your number to the National Do Not Call Registry[1]. Ran by the FTC, this registry is updated every 24-hours, while it can lead to the cessation of nuisance calls within a month.

This does not help when looking to block private numbers, however, such as those that relate to former friends, partners or colleagues. This is where the below guide will come in handy, as it will help you to block all unwanted incoming calls to your handset.

iOS

There are various ways to block numbers on Apple’s iOS, whether you are responding directly with a call or browsing your contacts list. You should also note that, when blocking someone from sending texts, making a voice call or selecting FaceTime, the individual in question will automatically be banned from all three channels of communication.

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When responding to a recent all, visit the ‘Phone’ app and select recent. Then locate the number and navigate through the circle next to it. This will bring up a screen with information pertaining to the call (see below), and you need to scroll down before selecting ‘Block this Caller’.

    When blocking an existing contact, you need to navigate through Settings > Phone > Call Blocking & Identification > Block Contact. This will bring up a list of your contacts, enabling you to block one or even multiple numbers as you wish. You can also achieve this goal by clicking through Settings > Messages > Blocked > Add New.

    Android

    When dealing with Android, the course of action that you take will depend on the age of the operating system that you are using (this is not the case with iPhones). So you will need to determine the precise iteration of Android that you are using before blocking numbers, as this will ensure that you make the right choice.

    For Marshmallow or above (Nougat is the most recent version), open Dialer and go to your recent calls list. Then find the offending number and select ‘Block / Report Spam’. You should not that you can block a number without reporting it as spam (when dealing with a person rather than a telemarketing company, for example), but you will need to uncheck the prior to confirming the block.

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    When using Lollipop or below, go to the Phone app and select Call Settings > Call Rejection > Auto Reject List. You then have to manually type in the number and search for it (make a note if it is unknown to you) and then confirm.

    When using Messenger (across all Android operating systems), you will need to directly tap the number that sent you the original message, before selecting Block / Report Slam once again. The same principle applies here as before, so don’t forget to uncheck the box if don’t want to report spam.

    Finally, if you wish to block a number belonging to an existing contact, go directly into Messenger and select Menu > Blocked Contacts > Add a Number. Then enter the number you want to block and confirm, taking care to ensure that you selected the right one of course!

    Windows Phone

    Windows Phones are increasingly popular in the modern age, as along with the Samsung Galaxy S range they provide viable competition for Apple and Android. They also utilise a different operating system, so it is important to recognize this when blocking numbers.

    With Windows Phones, you can block calls and messages from a single number in one fell swoop. Simply head to Settings and navigate through Call > SMS Filter, before accepting the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and switching Blocks Calls to On.

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    Then visit the Phone app, hold down the number that you want to block and select Block Number to confirm. This will prevent all forms of communication with the chosen number, helping you to avoid any unwanted correspondence.

    A Look at the Best Apps for Blocking Numbers

    Of course, we also live in an age where apps can be used to block numbers. The benefit of using these apps is that they tend to work across all iterations of specific operating systems, meaning that users can become familiar with them over time while they also provide a comprehensive and one-stop blocking service. Here are some of the best apps:

    The Hiya App (for iOS): Available to iOS 10 users, Hiya is the single most advanced phone spam protection engine in the mobile market. This not only intuitively detects and blocks robocalls and telemarketers, but it also highlights potential fraudsters who are seeking your personal data. It also provides a personalized block list, helping you to manage your contacts more seamlessly.

    Sync. ME (for iOS) : Apple have clearly made a concerted effort to enhance its call blocking features in iOS 10, and the free app Sync. ME is a prominent example of this. It includes numerous features for blocking unwanted calls, including the identification of unknown numbers (which can prevent you from blocking numbers that may ultimately add value), alerts you to spam communications and adds caller photo’s to your social contacts on Twitter, Facebook and Google +.

    The Safest Call Blocker (for Android): This is Android’s supported call blocker, and one that comes with a premium (paid) version that removes ads. It is quick to access and easy to use, while it also helps you to establish automated settings for blocking calls and managing contacts in real-time.

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    Mr. Number (for Android) : This is an initially free app that immediately offers 20 free caller look-ups, at which point every subsequent look-up is paid. It has a tool that automatically blocks spam messages, however, without the need for you to blacklist specific numbers. This can save time and help you to block numbers more seamlessly.

      Calls Blacklist (for Android) : Then we have Android’s Calls Blacklist, which will ban both voice calls and SMS messages from an offending number in one-feel swoop. This is so long as you use the default SMS app on Android 4.4 or above, however, as otherwise you will need to block communications separately. Regardless, the call blocking feature is fast and efficient, while it also allows you to select suspicious starting digits and intuitively block all related numbers going forward.

      So there you have it; a selection of the best ways to block numbers regardless of whether you use an iOS, Android and Windows device. The modern range of apps also makes this process easier than ever, so look out for the best tools online.

      Reference

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      Last Updated on November 3, 2020

      20 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

      20 Best Mac Apps for Productivity You Need in 2020

      Whether you use your Mac for work or just for your personal projects, you’ve likely found yourself wondering how to improve your productivity. There are only so many hours in a day, and so much mental stamina you can muster before you run out.

      There are dozens of tricks you can use to improve your own productivity and outlook, but if you’re looking for a more objective, comprehensive fix, the best thing to do is equip your Mac with productivity apps designed to help you do more in less time.

      This Lifehack-exclusive list has some of the best productivity apps to help you feel less tired, improve your energy, and ultimately help you get more done every day.

      What Makes For the Best Productivity Apps?

      Beyond productivity tips, there are dozens of productivity apps to choose from too. With that in mind, here are some of the core aspects of ideal productivity apps that have formed this list.

      • Non-intrusive – you want a productivity app to weave seamlessly into your workflow and not cause disruptions. From using the app to the overall display, it shouldn’t cause any interruptions.
      • Good interface – Again, you want to be able to use these apps easily and have them benefit you. The easier you can navigate around these apps, the better.
      • Fair pricing – Many of these have free trials that allow you a good chance to test before you buy. If you do decide to pay for it, the monthly pricing plans should be reasonable for what you are getting.

      1. Todoist

        Available for all iOS devices, Todoist is a note-taking and organization app that can keep you on top of all your projects—both personal and professional.

        Its best features are all free to use, including browser extensions, task creation, and interactive boards you can use to organize all your notes.

        If you want to pay the optional $29 yearly fee, you can get even more advanced features like backups and automatic reminders. Even with the free version, you’ll stay far more organized.

        Download: Todoist

        2. 1Password

          You may not realize it, but you probably spend a ton of time recalling your passwords, especially if and when you forget one to an app you use on a regular basis.

          1Password is an app for Mac that saves and remembers all your passwords for you in one place, so you can access all your favorite sites with a single click.

          You’ll save time and keep all your accounts secure simultaneously. A personal plan is $2.99 per month.

          Download: 1Password

          3. Bear

            Bear is a unique kind of note-taking app designed to make it easier for Mac users to jot down notes on the go. With it, you can create to-do lists, give yourself reminders, and outline concepts for future brainstorming sessions.

            It comes with many different inline styles so you can customize your notes to your personal preferences, and remember the context in which you wrote them. The core version is free, with a $14.99 per year version available as well.

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            Download: Bear

            4. Hazel

              Hazel by noodlesoft is an automated organization tool designed for Mac that will help you automatically organize your files based on any custom rules you want to create.

              For example, you can set it to move untouched items from one folder into another folder labeled “action items” if they haven’t been addressed within a week. It can save you hours of organization over the course of a few weeks. A single license is a flat $32.

              Download: noodlesoft

              5. Alfred

                Alfred is an all-in-one app designed to save you time with Mac shortcuts and convenient custom actions. You can use it in a variety of ways.

                For example, you can access Alfred’s clipboard memory so you don’t copy and paste the same material over and over, or set up custom workflows to automate some of your most repetitive tasks.

                It’s a paid app, with multiple price points based on the features you desire.

                Download: Alfred

                6. TextExpander

                  TextExpander does exactly what the name suggests; it allows you to type a short snippet of text, and expand that text automatically.

                  For example, you can create a custom expansion that allows you to conjure a full paragraph you type repeatedly by simply typing a unique abbreviation. Once you get used to your custom combinations, you’ll spare your fingers from typing thousands of words.

                  An individual account is $3.33 per month.

                  Download: TextExpander

                  7. Backblaze

                    If you’ve ever experienced a crash, or theft of your Mac, you know how much time a system restore can cost you. You’ll spend hours replacing the files you lost, and lose thousands of files that are irreplaceable.

                    Backblaze is an automated, inexpensive way to back up your entire Mac for just $5 a month.

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                    Download: Backblaze

                    8. Keyboard Maestro

                      Keyboard Maestro is an older app that still has the power to make your life easier. With it, you can automate any number of tasks based on a certain trigger (such as a hotkey combination, or an event like connecting to a wireless network). A single license only costs $36.

                      Download: Keyboard Maestro

                      9. Snagit

                        There are many applications for a good screen-capture app, whether you’re trying to illustrate a tech problem you have or just want to make an interesting meme. Snagit makes it easy, with built-in editing for both still images and video. A single license covers two machines, and costs $49.95.

                        Download: TechSmith/Snagit

                        10. Bartender

                          Bartender is the cleverly-named app that helps you clean up and organize all your menu bar icons. You can also access them quickly with keyboard shortcuts.

                          If you’re like most Mac users, those icons get cluttered quickly and stop you from working efficiently. It’s free to try for 4 weeks, after which you’ll need a $15 license.

                          Download: Bartender

                          11. Otter

                          Otter is the Mac app for the note taker who hates typing. It’s an intelligent voice-recognition system and note-taking app that will help you transcribe your conversations, keep notes during meetings, and even take contextual notes to yourself in your own time.

                          Best of all, it’s free to get started!

                          Download: Otter

                          12. Flux

                            Do you often find yourself feeling tired throughout the day, or feeling unable to get to sleep after a day of staring at your computer? That could be because of the unnatural blue light that radiates from your Mac.

                            Flux naturally adapts your display to emit light that matches the time of day, so you can sleep better and feel less tired. It’s also free!

                            Download: Flux

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                            13. PDFpen

                            If you deal with PDFs on a regular basis, you probably find yourself wishing for some kind of tool that can let you mark up those PDFs however you want. Without a dedicated app like PDFpen, this can be difficult.

                            PDFpen lets you edit PDFs in almost any conceivable way, giving you more power and saving you time. A single license is $74.95.

                            Download: Smile Software/PDFpen

                            14. OmniFocus

                              OmniFocus is all about task management. It has a clean interface that allows you to tag your tasks, schedule events, and even automate certain features.

                              It’s one of the most comprehensive solutions on the market, so there’s a bit of a learning curve to get the most out of it.

                              A standard license is $39.99, while the pro version is $79.99.

                              Download: OmniFocus

                              15. Franz

                                It’s tiring to switch between dozens of different chat programs like Facebook Messenger, Slack, and WhatsApp, whenever you want to have a conversation with a different contact.

                                Franz’s solution is simple; offer access to all these apps in one convenient package. And best of all, it’s completely open source.

                                Download: Franz

                                16. MindNode

                                  If you’re the brainstorming type, you need an app like MindNode to help you efficiently organize your thoughts. There are dozens of tools you can use to connect ideas in a mind map, or simply jot down notes for future reference.

                                  The core app is free, with in-app purchases available.

                                  Download: MindNode

                                  17. Focus

                                    The internet is a wonderful thing, but it can be awfully distracting. And if you’re like the majority of us, you’ve interrupted work on a project because of some attention-grabbing site or bad online habit. That’s where Focus comes in.

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                                    This app allows you to block the worst offenders with custom time limits and other constraints, so you can focus on the task at hand. A single license is $19.99.

                                    Download: Focus

                                    18. CleanMyMac

                                      Chances are, your Mac isn’t working as fast as it could, thanks to gigabytes of clutter and unnecessary files on your system. CleanMyMac helps you scan your Mac, monitor its health, and ultimately clean it up—so you can handle all your tasks that extra bit faster. A single license is $39.95.

                                      Download: CleanMyMac

                                      19. Grammarly

                                        A spelling error or grammatical mistake can cost you big time. It could be the source of a worse grade on a big paper, or compromise your credibility in the workplace. Thankfully, Grammarly can help you.

                                        This Mac-integrated writing assistant monitors all your writing and makes live corrections, so you’re alerted to your potential mistakes before they become permanent.

                                        A free version exists, but the premium version will cost you between $11 and $30 a month, depending on how you pay.

                                        Download: Grammarly

                                        Focus To Do

                                          Focus to-do is one of the top productivity apps for your iPhone around. It even has a desktop client that you can connect to effortlessly. The app is built around two things: the Pomodoro technique and task management. It achieves these things with amazing balance. All that you have to do is create a task and then set the timer right within the app itself.

                                          There is also great flexibility with the Pomodoro technique as well. You can choose whether to take a 5 minute break, take a longer one, or even skip it. On the task management side, you can also create reoccurring tasks, reminders, and place a priority on tasks too.

                                          Download: Focus To Do

                                          The Bottom Line

                                          These productivity apps should help you squeeze more productive hours out of every day, but they aren’t the only tools you’ll have to help you find success.

                                          Make the time to learn about and experiment with all the life hacks that can make you more productive. By improving your devices as well as your outlook and focus, you’ll be able to get far more done in a day, and feel better doing it.

                                          More to Boost Productivity

                                          Featured photo credit: Patrick Ward via unsplash.com

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