How to decline and mute calls with iPhone | Cult of Mac

How to decline and mute calls with iPhone


Sweet, sweet silence is just a couple button-taps away when you know how to decline iPhone calls.
Sweet, sweet silence.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Phone calls are so 20th century. Apart from a knock at the door, when else can another person decide to bug you, and then bug you right away, at their own convenience, without getting your permission first?

In the 21st century, we have a name for these people: entitled. Fortunately, it’s easy to bump their presumptuous invasions, and let them know who’s the boss1.

Here’s how to decline iPhone calls (or mute them if you’re feeling particularly passive-aggressive).

How to decline an iPhone call

Who does this Vera Sun think she is? This is why you need to learn how to decline iPhone calls.
Who does this Vera Sun think she is?
Photo: Apple

Apple has made it really, really easy to ignore calls on the iPhone. You can do it with a simple squeeze. It’s so easy that you can do it without even removing your iPhone from your pocket (depending on how tight your pocket is, I guess).

Just double-press the sleep/wake button on the side of the iPhone, and the call will be sent straight to voicemail. In some countries, or if you have no voicemail account set up, this will just cut the call. What better way to teach your loving mother that she should text before calling you? My god, mother, didn’t you even think I might be in the middle of instagramming? Didn’t you?

If you’re already holding the iPhone in your hand when it goes off, you can just tap the on-screen Decline button. If you’re listening on EarPods, press and hold the center button (the play/pause button) until you hear two beeps. You may now fist-pump the air to show the world who’s the boss. The big, big boss.

How to mute a call on the iPhone

But what if you don’t want to take a call, but you’re too chicken to own the situation? Maybe you’d rather let the call ring out, and pretend later that you were in the shower or out jogging (as if). Well, Apple has your meek ass covered.

Muting a call on the iPhone is twice as easy as just bumping it, in that it’s exactly the same, only you only have to hit the sleep/wake button once, not twice. Do this, and the ringer will be silenced, while your caller gets to keep listening to the ringtone. I guess this could be considered a power game of sorts. A weak one, but maybe that’s all you can manage.

You also can simply press one of the volume buttons, depending on your iPhone model.

Stop those darn calls from happening in the first place

Learning to decline iPhone calls is one thing. But it’s also possible to block any number from ever being able to call you. To do this, check out our previous post: How to block calls on your iPhone.

Plus, if you’re running iOS 13, you also can tell the iPhone to block calls from unknown numbers. This fantastic new feature protects you from spam calls, as well as calls from your boss or spouse when they think they’re being clever, and using an alternate phone, or a hiding their caller ID. Those morons.

  1. It’s you. You’re the boss of you. You you you you. YOU.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.