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How to mute (but not block) calls from unknown numbers

BobXS

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May 12, 2023
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I have a Galaxy A03s.

I don't answer calls from unknown numbers. I know how to block calls, but I limit that function to calls from unknown numbers that call more than once without leaving a voicemail message.

What I'd like to do in the case of all other unknown callers is simply mute them automatically. I figure that if a caller is legitimate, he'll leave a message and I can then call back. If the caller doesn't leave a message, then I'm content to consider the call unimportant. (I don't want to "block" all unknown numbers, because my understanding is that that stops such calls from coming through altogether, so the callers can't leave voicemail messages.)

But I can't find an automatic mute setting on my phone, and Googling the issue keeps turning up instructions on how to block calls, and not how to mute or silence them. The one site that I found that did talk about "silencing" instead of blocking calls directed me to a setting that I don't have on my phone -- it said to open the phone app and go to Settings | Call | Call Rejection, but I don't have a "Call" option in my phone settings.

Is it possible to automatically mute unknown callers? If so, how is it done?

Thanks.
 
Not aware if there is such a service that allows one to selectively allow some phone calls to go through and some to go straight to voicemail. Only encountered the ability to individually Block a phone number, or an overall setting for all calls to automatically go to voicemail, or not allow phone calls from numbers not in Contacts.
Hopefully someone will chime in about something that does provide the level of granular control you're seeking.
Different carriers have a lot of different features and there could be something useful for you that's not so obvious -- try logging into your account with your chosen carrier using its web interface and see if there's anything there, or go into your phone's Settings menu and open up the option for your mobile account service there. Keep in mind there are likely to be submenus buried within the main menu.
 
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on my z fold 4 with t-mobile i have this:
Screenshot_20230512_125846_Call_settings.jpg

i have not toggled it on because i have some clients who blocks their numbers.
 
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Do you mean "unknown numbers" in the sense of numbers you don't know or callers who withhold their numbers? Any settings related to unknown numbers will be referring to the latter.

You could probably set the default ringtone to silent, then set individual ringtones (which could all be the same) for everyone in your phonebook, but that would add up to a lot of work.

Maybe you could do an experiment, just to make sure that the block function doesn't do what you want: if you have another number you can call yourself from you could add that to the "block" list, call your phone and see whether you get completely blocked or diverted to voicemail? Or if you want to block withheld numbers activate that setting and then try calling from another phone while withholding the number. And if you do get sent to voicemail, leave a message and check that it does notify you (it would be dumb to fill your voicemail inbox without telling you, but I am very much of the "test rather than assume" camp).
 
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Thanks all for the replies.

By "unknown callers" I was referring to calls where I don't recognize the numbers. Over the years, every time I've received a legitimate call I've added it to my contacts, to the point that, these days, the odds of a call from an unknown number being legitimate must be pretty astronomical against. This of course has resulted in my having hundreds of contacts, which I don't mind – but which certainly does rule out now taking the time to set up a unique ring tone for existing contacts.

I wasn't thinking about callers who withhold their numbers. I suppose I'd want to treat them the same as unknown numbers, although since withheld numbers occur so rarely (it's been more than 5 years ago in my case, and in that case it was a legit caller who left a voicemail message) that it's really not that much of a hassle to infrequently look at the phone, see that a number has been withheld and then turn the phone face down to mute the call. That's what I do now in the case of unknown numbers.

But what prompted my original message to this forum is that apparently a recent breach somewhere must have resulted in my unlisted phone number getting out in the world much more than it already was. Over the last week telemarketers (or unknown callers, at least) have been calling me at a rate three or five times a day. I rarely get as many as two legit calls a day, often times none, so it's gotten really tedious to have to start looking at the phone several times a days just to mute it on each occasion.

I've been assuming, without having confirmed, that "blocking" calls prevents such calls from reaching my phone at all. Somewhere on the Verizon site, I think it was, I read that a blocked caller merely hears a couple "rings" on his end before the call simply times out, with no ability on the caller's part to leave a voicemail. As a result, I simply never even know that such a call was attempted. Pretty useful, especially since some of those fake "car warranty" calls sometimes used to go through to voicemail, and having to listen to such tripe is even more tedious than having to look at the phone and mute it every time a unknown number calls. In any case, since I started using blocking, I haven't received a single telemarketing call in my voicemail. But tonight, just to confirm that this is how blocking works, I'll test it with a friend I'm meeting for dinner. I'll temporarily block her number, then ask her call me and see what happens.

And thanks for the suggestion about google's call lurking. Before I'd consider that, however, I'd prefer to be simply unaware of any calls from unknown numbers, until such time, if ever, that the callers deign to leave voicemail messages.

I'm actually a little surprised that what I'm looking for wouldn't exist. Considering all the techy things that apps can do these days, it doesn't seem that what I want would be all that difficult to accomplish.

Anyway, thanks again all the replies.
 
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Actually your post has given me another idea. There is a way of only ringing for call from contacts: Do Not Disturb mode can do this! You can also do the same for message notifications (or allow all), you can let it play alarms, calendar notifications in DnD mode, you can even tell it to allow all apps to post notifications. So you could change your DnD settings to allow everything except calls from numbers that aren't in your contacts, and leave it permanently in DnD mode.

The drawback is that if you use DnD mode for other things then doing this will mean that its settings are wrong. But if just using a ring/vibrate/silent toggle works for other purposes (e.g. silencing in a meeting) then it may still be possible to use DnD mode to achieve what you want.
 
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on my z fold 4 with t-mobile i have this:
Screenshot_20230512_125846_Call_settings.jpg

i have not toggled it on because i have some clients who blocks their numbers.
This feature has never worked. I still get 'missed call' notifications from unknown numbers (numbers I've never heard of, mainly spammers fishing for a response) and if not in DND, it rings like a normal phone call. Doesn't matter if the feature is toggled on or off. It worked fine on iPhone, but never has worked on Samsung. I've even toggled it off/on multiple times to rule out some server-side issue.

I just use DND during the hours that I'd get those calls (usually when I'm at work anyway). Another way is to turn on Do Not Disturb on 24/7 and excempt calls and messages from your contacts only. Then it only rings for those you know. You won't get sound for email or other notifications though (although I mute those anyway since they're annoying)

Still would be nice to hide the 'missed call notification' entirely, as I don't need it, and it clutters my status bar (I still wish Android would just ditch the stupid icon clutter and use a system like iOS uses, where only the important stuff like signal strength and battery level is up there, and have a dedicated notification centre instead)
 
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This feature has never worked. I still get 'missed call' notifications from unknown numbers (numbers I've never heard of, mainly spammers fishing for a response) and if not in DND, it rings like a normal phone call.
That's because it blocks calls which withold their number, not calls where the number isn't in your contacts. Apple use the same wording to describe a different function, so theirs does something different.
 
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By "unknown callers" I was referring to calls where I don't recognize the numbers.
This can be easily done with MacroDroid.
  1. Create a macro that triggers on an Incoming Call from anyone unknown
  2. Set action to change volume while ringing, wait for ringing to end, then set Ring volume back to normal (75% in the example below)
 

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This can be easily done with MacroDroid.
  1. Create a macro that triggers on an Incoming Call from anyone unknown
  2. Set action to change volume while ringing, wait for ringing to end, then set Ring volume back to normal (75% in the example below)
Thanks for the suggestion. It sounds perfect for what I want.

I installed the app. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a user guide on the MacroDroid website, and I'm not good at figuring out these things on my own. I spent over half an hour trying to set up the macro you suggested, and got nowhere. I couldn't even get to the first step of establishing the trigger.

Would you indulge me with explicit steps on how to do this?

Thanks again.
 
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Would you indulge me with explicit steps on how to do this?
Sure, no problem.
  1. From main menu, select "Add Macro"
  2. Press the '+' sign in the Triggers window, to create your trigger
  3. From the "Add Trigger" window that resulted from step 2, select Call/SMS
  4. Press Call Incoming and then "Select Contact(s)", press OK
  5. Select the checkboxes for [Non Contact] and [Unknown Caller], ensure "Include" is selected then press OK. Your trigger is created and now you're back to the tri-color create macro screen.
  6. Press the '+' sign in the Action window to to tell MacroDroid what to do when the trigger criteria is met
  7. From the "Add Action" window that resulted from step 6, select Volume
  8. Press Volume Change and tick the checkbox for Ringer (it should already be at 0%), press OK. Your first action is created and you're now back at the tri-color screen.
  9. Press '+' in the Action window to create your 2nd action, then press "Wait Before Next Action"
  10. Select the time you want to wait. You probably want to also select the "Use alarm" checkbox for timer accuracy (you don't want ringing to resume before the call is diverted to voice mail); press OK.
  11. Repeat steps 7 and 8 to set the action for returning volume to normal - DONE!

Pro tips:
  • From the +Trigger, +Actions, +Constraints window press the magnifying glass icon to search for the function you're trying to perform.
  • From the Add Trigger, Add Action, Add constraint window, long pressing one of the selections after picking a category will generate a pop-up explaining what the function does.
  • There is also an active user forum, accessible from the app or a web browser.
 
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Sure, no problem.
  1. From main menu, select "Add Macro"
  2. Press the '+' sign in the Triggers window, to create your trigger
  3. From the "Add Trigger" window that resulted from step 2, select Call/SMS
  4. Press Call Incoming and then "Select Contact(s), press OK
  5. Select the checkboxes for [Non Contact] and [Unknown Caller], ensure "Include" is selected then press OK. Your trigger is created and now you're back to the tri-color create macro screen.
  6. Press the '+' sign in the Action window to to tell MacroDroid what to do when the trigger criteria is met
  7. From the "Add Action" window that resulted from step 6, select Volume
  8. Press Volume Change and tick the checkbox for Ringer (it should already be at 0%), press OK. Your first action is created and you're now back at the tri-color screen.
  9. Press '+' in the Action window to create your 2nd action, then press "Wait Before Next Action"
  10. Select the time you want to wait. You probably want to also select the "Use alarm" checkbox for timer accuracy (you don't want ringing to resume before the call is diverted to voice mail); press OK.
  11. Repeat steps 7 and 8 to set the action for returning volume to normal - DONE!

Pro tips:
  • From the +Trigger, +Actions, +Constraints window press the magnifying glass icon to search for the function you're trying to perform.
  • From the Add Trigger, Add Action, Add constraint window, long pressing one of the selections after picking a category will generate a pop-up explaining what the function does.
  • There is also an active user forum, accessible from the app or a web browser.
That was very easy to follow.

Thanks very much.
 
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I used Do Not Disturb and set the exceptions to contacts only. That also has an added side effect of silencing all the other crap notifications a phone does today. So I only hear sound for texts, emails, and phone calls from people I know. Some modern phones have routines to make even more control possible.

But I've also noticed if you suddenly get an influx of phone calls from scammers, texts from unknown people, this can be a sign that your data might have been compromised. I'd recommend getting some form of identity cleaner like LifeLock that can get your data off those sites. Doing that the amount of times I get calls or texts from strangers have ceased. I've also ramped up my privacy settings to ensure it doesn't happen again. There is literally zero reason for anyone from India or Portugal to have my phone number, as I never give it out online.
 
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I have a Galaxy A03s.

I don't answer calls from unknown numbers. I know how to block calls, but I limit that function to calls from unknown numbers that call more than once without leaving a voicemail message.

What I'd like to do in the case of all other unknown callers is simply mute them automatically. I figure that if a caller is legitimate, he'll leave a message and I can then call back. If the caller doesn't leave a message, then I'm content to consider the call unimportant. (I don't want to "block" all unknown numbers, because my understanding is that that stops such calls from coming through altogether, so the callers can't leave voicemail messages.)

But I can't find an automatic mute setting on my phone, and Googling the issue keeps turning up instructions on how to block calls, and not how to mute or silence them. The one site that I found that did talk about "silencing" instead of blocking calls directed me to a setting that I don't have on my phone -- it said to open the phone app and go to Settings | Call | Call Rejection, but I don't have a "Call" option in my phone settings.

Is it possible to automatically mute unknown callers? If so, how is it done?

Thanks.
So I went to the specific contact clicked on it then clicked the three dots and it gave me the option to route to voicemail maybe that'll help
 
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