How to reject a call on your iPhone

“No Tim, this is how you reject a call you don’t want to take…’

Do you know how to reject an incoming call on your iPhone? Had you noticed that it works a little differently when your iOS smartphone is locked? Has this meant you’ve sat there listening to the dial tone and not known what to do? Help is at hand:

How to reject a call on your iPhone

When your iPhone is locked this is what happens:

  • A call comes in.
  • It rings and rings and you want to silence it but you can’t see how to do so. All you see is the Slide to Answer button.
  • Wracked with guilt, you wait till the ringing stops and then feel kind of distracted. “Wouldn’t it be better if there was some way I could reject that call, send it to answer machine or otherwise get rid of it?”

There is —

  • To silence the call: Just press the Sleep/Wake button once. That’s the Side Button on iPhone X and above, the top button at the top on older iPhones.
  • To reject the call and send it to voicemail: Just press the Sleep/Wake button twice.

Once to silence the call, twice to reject it. Once to silence, twice to reject. Got that?

When your iPhone is not locked this is what happens:

When the call comes in and your iPhone is not locked you’ll see two buttons;

  • Accept: Take the call
  • Decline: Reject the call. You can then set a Reminder to call that person back, or send them a text message with a canned response. You can create your own responses in Settings>Phone>Respond with Text.

Problem solved!!

What about Apple Watch?

If you get a call you want to reject, take a look at your Apple Watch – can you see that big red decline button you’re your watch face? Press it to decline the call. Easy-peasy.

What about headphones?

There is another option. If you are using official wired Apple or supported third-party headphones you can decline the call by pressing the microphone button for about two seconds, until you hear a beep to let you know the call has been rejected.

What about AirPods?

For reasons that make no sense to me, you can’t tell Siri to decline the call. Which is a little frustrating. Perhaps one day that might change.

Why does it work this way?

When your iPhone is unlocked you are probably using it and should have the option to dismiss the distraction. When it is locked, you aren’t using it but your device may not be near you, or may be in your pocket. The idea is that this behaviour helps prevent you from picking up your iPhone when it rings and then accidentally pressing the wrong button as you scramble to use the device, or try to grab it out of your pocket.

Here’s a short collection of other iPhone call handling secrets.

Jonny Evans

Watching Apple since 1999. I don't say what they should do. I say what they might do. They sometimes do.

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