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iPhone: Time to block unwanted calls


Commenting in this morning’s Times on BT’s new phone that blocks unwanted calls, Janice Turner has some strong words for the poor old neglected landline. Why do we need it any more?

Now landlines are used only by the the same folk who still send Christmas cards: the elderly and techno-reluctant. A home phone usually requires you to look up a number and dial the digits. Like Alexander Graham Bell. And who knows anyone’s number by heart now that they’re stored on your mobile?

She’s right. I seldom use the landline and keep it mainly for emergency use. I get sufficient free mobile minutes to cope with all my calls and there is always Skype or Tango for international transactions. I tend to get a bit irritated when the landline rings.

BT’s new phone automatically directs anonymouse blocked calls straight to the answering machine. If you’ve missed something important you can call back, but an anonymous call gets short shrift. As a canny person I keep my number ex-directory and I do register the number with the Telephone Preference Service.

This works quite well and makes it an offence for commercial organisations to call my number without my specific permission. Often, though, cold calls come from abroad where people don’t care about TPS rules, so BT’s phone allows you to block all international calls as a further protection.

All this is useful and I believe it would be a great addition to future iPhone software if we were able to elect to stop calls without caller ID or calls from abroad.

by Mike Evans, 9 February 2013