Caller ID is now a common feature on many home telephones and most mobile phones. It’s extremely convenient in that it allows you to screen certain incoming calls and only speak to the people you want to hear from.
On the other hand, caller ID makes it harder for you to make outgoing calls without revealing your phone number and opening yourself up to annoying marketing or nuisance phone calls. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to easily hide your phone number, so that you show up as a “Private”, “Anonymous”, or “Blocked” caller or “No caller ID” on the recipient’s phone.
It’s worth noting, though, that you can’t block your phone number for everyone. Certain people will always be able to see who’s calling — such as emergency services and freephone numbers — and some people even choose to install a phone app that lets them see who’s behind a blocked phone number. It’s also worth keeping in mind that some people automatically block hidden or private numbers from calling them, which means your call won’t go through if you choose to hide your phone number.
In this article, our main focus is on how to hide your mobile phone number. However, we’ve included a section at the end on blocking landline numbers too.
You can hide your phone number in a variety of ways, including adding *67 or 141 before you dial a phone number and blocking your number by default in your device’s settings.
You can also hide your caller ID by installing a burner app, which allows you to call from a second phone number or by speaking to your phone service provider and asking them to block your number for you.
To find out exactly how to go about hiding your phone number, keep reading.
There are many reasons why you may wish to hide your number — none of which are sinister. Perhaps you’re trying to surprise a loved one. Or it could be that you want to make work-related calls after hours and you don’t want your clients to have access to your personal number. Or maybe it’s a company you need to call, but you don’t want to give them the opportunity to pester you with annoying marketing calls. And sometimes, withholding your number is a safety precaution, especially if you’re calling someone you don’t know, such as a seller from eBay or Gumtree.
There are several “vertical service codes” you can dial to unlock special features on your phone, one of which is *67.
Adding *67 before you dial a phone number allows you to make a call anonymously. It’s quick, easy and free to do, you can use it as many times as you like, and almost all phone service providers support it. This means it’s one of the best ways to temporarily block your caller ID.
You can also use *67 to permanently hide your number from a specific person. All you have to do is save them as a contact in your phone, with *67 at the beginning of their phone number.
As an alternative to blocking your number with *67, you can also dial 141, followed by the number of the person you are calling.
Again, you will need to repeat this process every time you want to conceal your number, or you can save a contact in your phone with the 141 prefix to permanently call a specific person anonymously.
It is possible to show up as a private caller automatically by changing one simple setting on your device. Turning off caller ID in your phone’s settings will not only enable you to call anonymously, but you’ll also be able to send anonymous text messages.
Unfortunately, this isn’t available on all phones or carriers, but if your service provider allows it, here’s how to do it on either an iPhone or Android device:
Blocking your number by default: iOS
To automatically block your number on an iPhone, open the Settings app, scroll down to the Phone option, select Show My Caller ID and use the toggle switch to hide your number.
Blocking your number by default: Android
The way in which you do this on Android phones differs depending on which device you have:
- Option one — Open the Phone app and click on the three dots in the top right, go into Settings, scroll down to Supplementary Services and, depending on your device, select Call followed by Additional. Then tap Show My Caller ID and select Hide Number from the popup menu.
- Option two — Open the phone app and tap menu followed by settings. Then select Calling accounts and, under Settings, tap your carrier name. Choose Additional Settings, then tap Caller ID and select Hide Number.
If, after changing these settings, you wish to temporarily unblock your number and show your caller ID again, you can dial *82 followed by the number of the person you are calling. This can be useful if the person you are calling rejects your number because they’ve chosen to automatically block private numbers.
There are some less conventional ways to hide your phone number — and you don’t need to be particularly tech-savvy to implement them:
Install a burner app
Rather than messing about with your phone’s keypad or settings, you can install a burner app. This type of app allows you to use a second phone number by using your internet data to make calls.
Some of the most popular burner apps include:
- Burner — This app enables you to switch your calls directly to your second number, so you don’t need to worry about how to hide it. You can try it free for seven days, after which it costs $4.99 per line per month.
- Hushed — It may be a little complicated for the casual user, but Hushed is great for those who often make anonymous calls. It allows you to add as many numbers as you like from around 40 countries, as numbers will automatically expire unless you choose otherwise. Plans cost anything from $1.99 to $9.99, depending on the package you require.
- TextMe Up — This is a much more basic app, which is sleek and easy to use. All your contacts are stored in one place, so you can just decide which number to use before making a phone call or sending a text message. It comes with ten free credits, but after that, you’ll have to earn credits by watching videos and ads or buying credit packs, which start from $1.99.
Speak to your carrier
You can hide your phone number permanently by calling your phone service provider and asking them to put a block on your number. Alternatively, you may be able to adjust this setting in your carrier’s own app.
This can be useful if you’re having trouble blocking your number in your call settings or you don’t want the hassle of blocking on a per-call basis.
Bear in mind, though, that you may have to give a reason for wanting to do this, and you might also be charged for doing so.
If you do decide to go ahead with this option, it’s worth knowing that you can still dial *82 before a number if you want your caller ID to show up temporarily.
As with mobile phones, you can make anonymous calls on your house phone by using either the vertical service code *67 or 141 before dialling a phone number.
Some of the other vertical service codes that can be dialled to help control your privacy when using both mobiles and landlines are:
|Enables you to trace the number of the last call you received
|Blocks calls from certain phone numbers and tells callers you’re not accepting calls
|Redials the number of the last call you received
|Forwards your call to a different phone number
|Anonymous call rejection
|Blocks calls from withheld numbers
|Disable call block
|Disables the Call block function (*60)
|Disable anonymous call rejection
|Disables the Anonymous call rejection function (*77)
It could be that someone doesn’t want to answer your calls — whether you’ve hidden your number or not. If you suspect that a particular person has blocked you, you won’t receive a notification of this. However, there are some signs to look out for that indicate that this is what’s happened:
If you try to call someone and you receive a message like “The customer is unavailable” — or something similar — it could be that the person has blocked your number via their service provider. A message like this doesn’t always mean your number has been blocked, but if you receive it continuously, it’s a strong indication that it has been.
Your calls and texts are never answered
If you’re calling and sending messages to someone, but you get no response, it could be because they’ve put a block on your number. Usually, text messages will appear to you as if they’ve gone through as normal, but the person won’t receive them. It’s their radio silence that could indicate you’ve been blocked.
You’re sent to voicemail after just one ring
If, when you call, you’re diverted to voicemail after just one ring, it could be a sign that the person has blocked you. If this has only happened once, it could just be that the person is on another call. However, if it happens multiple times, there’s a good chance it’s because they’ve blocked your number.
Your text messages look different
Whether you have an iPhone or an Android phone, you can sometimes tell whether someone has blocked your text messages by opening your messaging app, sending a message and looking to see whether you get a delivery confirmation. If your previous messages show that they have been delivered, but your most recent ones don’t, it could be a sign that your number has been blocked.
Remember, though, that there are a number of other reasons why your calls aren’t going through. For example, the person could have switched their phone off, their phone’s battery might be dead, or there could be a problem with the network.
If you do believe you’ve been blocked by someone, you may be able to get through to them by hiding your phone number using one of the methods we’ve explained above. But before you do, it’s worth considering the fact that they have a reason for not wanting to talk to you and that respecting their decision could be the best option. Consider reaching out in other ways, for example, by sending a letter or an email or by passing on a message through a mutual connection.
Whether you want to hide your phone number to surprise a loved one, prevent companies from having your contact details or for safety reasons, there are several ways in which you can do this:
- Add *67 or 141 before you dial a phone number
- Block your number by default in your device’s settings
- Install a burner app, which allows you to call from a second phone number
- Ask your phone service provider to block your number for you
If you’ve tried making phone calls to someone and you receive messages saying they’re unavailable, your calls and texts are never answered, you’re diverted to voicemail after just one ring, or your text messages don’t show up as “delivered”, it could be a sign that someone has blocked your number. You may be able to get around this by using one of the methods listed above; however, it might be a better option to respect their decision and get in touch with them in another way instead.