How to manage call rejecting with your Android smartphone

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Several apps and built-in features can help manage call rejection and auto-responses on Android.

Image: ronstik/Adobe Stock

A friend of mine is a nurse who often works long night shifts. She gets good use out of her phone’s auto reply, which she uses when driving or when sleeping unusual hours. Android phones have a few different options for facilitating blocking and for sending custom text messages when you can’t pick up a phone call.

This article is an updated version of one written for Android 2.2 and older phones. Now, we’ll concentrate on Android 13 and the Samsung Galaxy S10 and later. Many of these features are also available on the Google Pixel line and similar.

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Blocking callers on Android 13

There are a couple of different ways to block callers on Android. When blocked, the person’s calls and text messages will be ignored, and any voicemails they send will be delivered directly to voicemail (Figure A).

Figure A

One method of call blocking. 
Image: Samsung

Here’s one way to do it on the GalaxyS22 or S22 Ultra:

  1. Navigate to the Phone icon at the lower left of the Home screen. If it’s not there, swipe up from the center of the Home screen, then tap Phone.
  2. Use the meatball menu (three dots at the upper right) to get to Settings.
  3. Tap Block Numbers.
  4. Either add a number manually and hit the + icon, or select Recents or Contacts, then the right number or person, and tap Done.

On a slightly older device such as the Galaxy S10, you can block someone from the contacts menu.

  1. Select the Phone icon as above.
  2. Select Contacts.
  3. Tap the name of the person you wish to block.
  4. Tap the Information (i) icon.
  5. Navigate to the More (…) menu on the bottom right.
  6. Choose Block Contact.

Blocking on the Google Pixel 7 includes similar blocking features. You can also activate Call Screen, an automated assistant that will pick up calls and screen them or block when it detects spam.

  1. From the Home screen, tap the phone icon on the lower left.
  2. Tap the menu icon on the upper right.
  3. Navigate to Settings.
  4. Select Block Numbers.
  5. Add a phone number manually or choose it from your contacts.

Quick reply

Quick reply can send a short message like “Can you call back later?” that you can select while someone is calling. When a call comes in, you’ll see a Message option near the Accept/Decline icons. To set this up:

  1. Tap the phone icon.
  2. Tap the menu (…) on the upper right.
  3. Select Settings.
  4. Select Quick Decline Messages.
  5. Add from presets or write your own.

Reject with message

There are several ways to auto-reject a text or call with Android, depending on which carrier you use and whether you want to add apps.

Android Auto, a feature which enabled the user to dictate texts while driving, has now been looped into Google Assistant’s Driving Mode. Keep in mind that Google Assistant won’t send messages on its own; it simply gives the user the option to dictate a text and send it through audio commands.

To use Auto Mode on a Galaxy S10 or later, you can do the following:

  1. Navigate to Google Assistant either through search or voice commands.
  2. Tap Transportation.
  3. Tap Driving mode, the last item on the menu.
  4. Set your preferences regarding when Google Assistant activates, such as when using Google Maps (the default setting), when connected to a car’s Bluetooth or when movement is detected.
  5. Turn on Get Messaging Help while driving .

Driving Mode also activates automatically when you use the Google Maps app (Figure B).

Figure B

Auto reply options on the SMS Auto Reply app.
Image: SMS Auto Reply.

A good option that isn’t specific to a carrier’s messaging app is SMS Auto Reply. This app allows you to set automatic text replies to incoming texts when you are away, busy or otherwise occupied. It also includes the ability to block messages. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Download SMS Auto Reply/Autoresponder from the Google Play Store.
  2. Select Add/Edit.
  3. Craft your message. Add names from your Contacts of people you wish to include or exclude.
  4. Set the time in which you will need the message to automatically send. You can also set it to run when your phone connects to a car speaker via Bluetooth.
  5. Tap Save.
  6. Navigate to the Replies section and turn Auto Reply On. The app will ask for several permissions in order to be able to access your texts and run in the background.

Android provides plenty of options for customizing how your phone looks and responds. Choosing the right auto reply for you is another area in which it offers flexibility — and the chance to either stop hearing from unwanted callers or let your friends and family know you’re working late.

For more Android tips, see our Android 13 cheat sheet, how to configure calendar and task notifications on Android 13, and how to reset your Android screen lock security pattern.