How to know if someone blocked your number

How to know if someone blocked your number

While it has got easier to keep in contact with people across the world, being able to block someone's number is also one of the fastest ways to shut off communication with them. And when it happens to you it can be a rather uncomfortable and potentially upsetting experience. 

But it can be difficult to tell if someone has blocked your number. So by exploring how you can tell whether that's happened, we hope to demystify some of the reasons why you suddenly might find your conversations being ignored. 

Do be aware that if you have been blocked it may be for a good, or bad reason, but it's best not to press the issue too hard as you risk breaching someone's privacy. 

See how fast you get to voicemail

When you call someone who may have blocked your number you'll find that your call won't get through with no notification about a call in effect. And you won't get a normal ringtone or voicemail functions. 

This is very different to someone not answering your call, whereby your call will ring for sometime before getting to voicemail. Or if the person's phone is off, you'll go straight to voicemail when calling someone who hasn't blocked you. 

When your number is blocked, you'll find that you'll get one ring and then the call will go to voicemail. However, even if you leave a voicemail, it won't go to the recipients inbox. Rather it'll be directed to a location for voicemails from blocked numbers. How this works will depend on the phone the call recipient has, or indeed the phone you have if you're getting voicemails from a blocked number. 

One other thing to keep an ear out for: a prerecorded message that says the number is "unavailable." The exact message will vary depending on the recipient's wireless carrier, but if a number is unavailable — especially if other phones can reach it — your number is almost certainly blocked.

Try sending a text message

Text messages can provide some clues about whether or not a person blocked you, although it's a more reliable method for iOS than it is for Android. On iOS, after you send a text, you'll usually get one of two notifications right underneath your message: "Delivered," or "Read." The former means that your text message went through, but the recipient hasn't read it yet. The latter is self-explanatory.

However, if a person has blocked you, you won't see either notification. Instead, there will just be a blank space beneath your text.

It's worth noting that being blocked is not the only reason why you might not see a notification. If a user has his or her phone on Do Not Disturb mode, you won't get any kind of notification until he or she turns that option off. However, if it's been a few days and you still don't see anything, you can consider blocking the most likely explanation.

If you and/or your intended recipient have Android phones, though, the process is much less straightforward. Some Android phones have this functionality; some don't. Some message receipts work perfectly with iOS; some don't. If you've got an Android phone, your best bet is to just send a text and hope you get a response.

Call from another phone

Sometimes, the simplest solution really is the best one. If you think you've been blocked, try calling the person's number from another phone. Use your work phone, borrow a friend's phone; it doesn't really matter. The point is, if you can't reach a person on your phone, but can reach them on another phone, there's a good chance you've been blocked.

Try this sequence: Pick a time when it's likely the person you're calling will be free. Call on your phone. See what happens. Then, call on another phone immediately thereafter. Remember: You don't need to actually reach the person; you just need to see how long it takes to go to voicemail.

Best-case scenario: You'll be able to talk to the person and find out why they don't want to accept your calls. (If they hang up on you immediately, that's telling as well.) Worst-case scenario: You'll live forever with the mystery of whether or not you've been blocked.

And yet, it's not the worst mystery in the world, when you get right down to it. Whether a person is screening your calls indefinitely or has blocked you outright, the end result is the same: They don't want to talk to you. Your best bet is usually to respect that, and maybe try again in a few months to see if things have calmed down.

Avoid this

We know it can be a nasty feeling knowing you've been blocked by someone, especially if you're not clear on the reasons why; in some cases it can be downright infuriating.

But try not to let it get to you. And do try and resist the urge to purse contacting the person who blocked you as that can be seen as a form of harassment.  

If you are feeling down about the situation, then try and find a friend to talk to about the situation or contact other means of support that's readily available. 

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi. 

With contributions from