Blocking someone from contacting you is about the last step you can take and being blocked feels terrible. It’s a difficult thing to reconcile.
It’s also not always clear if you’ve been blocked. It could be that you’re trying to get hold of friends or family members, and they’re just not responding. Blocking someone can also be accidental; it’s possible the other party isn’t mad at you at all, and has inadvertently blocked you.
We’ll show you how to tell if someone blocked your number, how to know if someone blocked you on iMessage (and if that means you can still text them), and how to get hold of someone once you’ve been blocked.
Signs that someone has blocked your iPhone number
Someone not responding isn’t an immediate sign you’ve been blocked. It could be that they’re busy, or didn’t get a notification you messaged them. People with messages routing to multiple devices – like iPhones, iPads, and the Mac – often don’t see alerts.
But there are some tell-tale signs you’ve been blocked.
Your calls are never answered
Someone not answering your calls is a sign they’re ignoring you – but not necessarily a full block. A call not connecting is not how to tell if your number is blocked.
- If the call rings several times, then heads to voicemail, your number hasn’t been officially blocked. This is a sign someone is simply choosing to not take your calls, instead letting it naturally go to voicemail.
- The upside here is you’ve not yet been blocked, so the other person doesn’t hate you! The downside: they still may not want to talk to you.
- There’s a bit of a hack to this, though. Some users have Do Not Disturb enabled on their iPhone, which won’t alert them to your calls. Another possibility is they have iPhone’s “Repeated Calls” feature enabled, which lets you bypass Do Not Disturb when you call twice within three minutes, alerting the other person you’ve called.
- Finally, it could be their carrier. Some calls ring on your end, but never alert the other party you’re calling.
How do you know if someone blocked you? Well, the call ringing and heading to voicemail isn’t reliable. If you have been blocked, your voicemails will still go through – but they’ll end up in a “Blocked Messages” queue.
iMessages not delivered
Let’s first discuss iMessage delivery notifications. All delivered iMessages have a “delivered” badge at the end of the conversation thread. If the other person has read receipts turned on, it will change to “read” when the iMessage service confirms they’ve read it. So, a “delivered” badge is not how to know if someone blocked your number.
But if someone blocked you, that ‘delivered’ badge would stop appearing. Because iMessage constantly shuffles the ‘delivered’ or ‘read’ badge to the last message in the conversation that was delivered successfully, any messages sent after you’d been blocked would show up in the chat, but never see the ‘delivered’ badge. Those messages would simply appear in the chat below a ‘delivered’ or ‘read’ badge.
If you were then unblocked, the other person would continue receiving messages – but not those sent when you were blocked. Messages not showing as delivered is how to know if your number is blocked, but not always reliable. The other person could be out of their cellular coverage area and not connected to WiFi; that can cause messages to remain undelivered.
SMS not delivered
Typically, when an iMessage isn’t deliverable, it will instead be sent as an SMS message, which appears as a green bubble in iMessage chats. SMS is what all non-iPhone messaging systems use to deliver texts between contacts. Like the iMessage ‘delivered’ and ‘read’ badges, SMS on iPhone has a few methods to know if your message was delivered properly, or if you’ve been blocked.
SMS shows as either ‘sent’ or ‘delivered’. Because SMS doesn’t operate on the iMessage platform, there’s no way to know if they’ve been read. So how do you know if someone blocked your number with SMS?
Within iMessage, SMS will show as ‘sent’ or ‘delivered’. The ‘sent’ badge simply means the message was sent to the recipient. It’s entirely possible they’re out of their service area and can’t receive messages when you sent one.
‘Sent’ isn’t always a bad thing – but that ‘sent’ badge never changing to ‘delivered’ suggests your number has been blocked. More to the point, if you’re messaging someone via iMessage and your text bubbles suddenly change to green from blue, it’s a sign they have blocked your iPhone number. The ‘sent’ versus ‘delivered’ badge may just be confirmation they’ve blocked you.
If I’m curious about how to know if my number is blocked, the iMessage versus SMS messaging is the best indicator. Like unanswered calls, automated responses are a sort of ‘soft’ block some use to keep people away without formally blocking them.
In the iPhone’s Do Not Disturb mode is an option to auto-reply to contacts. It lets you define your own away message, and the group who receives it.
As you can see, blocked numbers are disallowed, so an automatic response to your messages isn’t a true ‘block.’ If you receive an automatic response, it could be because you’re a favorite!
Phone rings once then goes to voicemail
Like iMessage suddenly becoming SMS, this isn’t necessarily confirmation you’ve been blocked – but it’s a really bad sign.
If you’re blocked by someone, your calls will go straight to voicemail, and your voicemail messages will head to the ‘blocked’ section immediately. The other person won’t receive your calls, won’t be notified you called, and won’t see a badge for your voicemail.
That said, a call ringing once then heading to voicemail is the same behavior you’d see if you called someone who had powered their phone off. If the ‘block’ seems unwarranted, it could be they simply turned their phone off for a bit. But if your calls continue to ring once and head to voicemail, you’ve likely been blocked.
What you can do when someone blocks your number
Calling and sending iMessages are one way to get hold of someone, but by no means the only ways. A word of caution before we proceed: if someone wants you to leave them alone, you should. Being concerned about someone’s wellbeing is fine, but harassment is not.
Here are some other methods for contacting people who may have you blocked:
- Social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat – all have bespoke chat functions you can use to message someone to see if they’re alright. Even if they block your number, it won’t affect these other services.
- Email. If you’ve been blocked by someone, the emails associated with your contact in their iPhone will also be blocked from the Mail app. Try emailing from a different email address.
- Call from a different number. Calls heading straight to voicemail? Try a different number unknown to the person; if the calls still go straight to voicemail, you’ll know it’s probably not a blocking issue. If it rings more than a few times, it’s an indicator your number is blocked.
- Try a video chat. Services like Skype and Zoom are popular options many of us have on our phones and computers and may provide a way to connect with someone. Skype shows you when someone is active, too, and can be a good way to verify someone is well.
Bonus tip: How to boost your iPhone
If being blocked is a result of a relationship gone wrong, we’re guessing you’ll want to delete the photos you have of that person. For iPhone, there’s no better app for this than Gemini.
Gemini is a standalone iOS app that monitors your images and categorizes them for quick and easy bulk deletion. All you have to do is select a section, and tap the ‘delete’ button to make all the images disappear.
Of course, you’re able to keep any of the images you like and delete the rest, a perfect option for selectively removing someone from your Photos archive forever.
Okay, but wait a minute: what if you want to delete the photos from that person from your iPhone, but keep those images somewhere else? Not a problem! AnyTrans is here to help.
With AnyTrans for Mac, you can connect your iPhone directly to your computer to create full backups for safekeeping. There’s even an option for poking through your photos to download the items you’d like to save somewhere, and a section for managing chats in the Messages app.
Simply open AnyTrans on your Mac, connect an iPhone, and the AnyTrans app will present you with all of your options for managing the data on your iPhone. You can download the images you want to save, then delete them from your iPhone for good before creating a full backup!
Being blocked is a terrible feeling, but it’s best to respect the other person’s wishes and move on. This is why you should use Gemini to manage images, and AnyTrans to create full backups of your device (and manage photos if you really want to keep them). Both apps do great work to keep your iPhone tidy, and running its best.
They’re both available for free with a 7-day trial of Setapp, an app subscription service to get powerful tools for Mac and iOS. With Setapp, you'll be able to browse, install and use 240+ apps for a variety of day-to-day tasks from maintaining and customizing your devices to creating texts, multimedia, designs, code and more. Sign up to start your 7-day free trial to try it all out now and without any commitment.
When your week-long trial ends, keeping all those great apps on your Mac starts at only $9.99/month – an incredible deal that’s nearly impossible to turn down, so why hesitate? Try Setapp now!