[Android] Best free call, SMS (text message), and MMS (picture message) blocker/filterSeptember 2, 2011 9 Email article | Print article
Are you being stalked by a creeper? Being bothered by unknown callers? Or maybe continually being spammed by telemarketers? What you need is a call, SMS, and MMS blocker. If you are indeed looking for a call/SMS/MMS blocker, then you have come to the right place: We have searched Android market, found the best free call/SMS/MMS blocker(s), and listed them below. Keep’on reading if you are interested in stopping the harassment. (Dang, this sounds like an infomercial.)
Note: This article focuses on being able to block calls/messages from 1) Individuals who are harassing you and 2) Unsolicited marketers/scammers/spammers. The difference between the two features is for feature one you must manually add numbers to block; for feature two, numbers are automatically blocked based on a database of numbers. Most of the apps listed below will provide both functionality.
Table of Contents
App Name: aFirewall call and sms blocker
Download Size: 1.005 MB
Version Reviewed: v3.1.10
Requires: Android 1.6 and up
- Blocks calls, SMS (text messages), and MMS (picture messages).
- Blocks calls and messages silently (i.e. without a ring).
- Users can block calls and messages from a number or chose to only block calls or only block messages from that number.
- Sends blocked calls to voicemail.
- Can block private and unknown (non-contact) calls.
- Can use wildcards when entering numbers into blacklist, making it easy to block whole regions/area codes as opposed to just one number.
- Can block SMS by keywords.
- Users can create “rules” that tell aFirewall what to block at what time of the day and on what days.
- Hides blocked calls from the call log.
- Hides blocked messages from the message list.
- In addition to being able to block calls and messages, has the ability to “protect” calls and messages.
- Can export/import data (blacklist, blocked messages, blocked calls, etc.).
- Does not have any sort of “community blacklist” that automatically blocks spammers (telemarketers, scammers, etc.).
- Free version can only send blocked calls to voicemail; no ability to pick up and then hang up.
- Has a slight learning curve.
- Does not support app2sd.
aFirewall call and sms blocker, also known as aFirewall for short, is an app that allows users to block calls, text messages (SMS), and picture messages (MMS). It works via a blacklist, allowing users to add the numbers they want to block. (There is no “anti-spam community blacklist” type feature in aFirewall. You must manually enter in the numbers you want to block, or use wildcard to block a whole region/area code of numbers. If you block whole regions/area codes, you can use the whitelist to allow only specific numbers.) For all numbers on the blacklist, users can select to block both calls and messages or just calls or just messages. All blocked calls and messages are not shown in your phone’s regular call log/message list; rather, there is a “Block calls” and “Block message” tab in aFirewall where you can view all blocked calls, and read all blocked messages.
The cool thing about aFirewall is it blocks silently. In other words, when a call or message comes in from a blocked number, you will not hear any ring nor will your phone vibrate. aFirewall accomplishes this by temporarily putting your phone on silent when a call/message from a blocked number comes in then reverting your phone back to its regular state afterwards. There is a catch, though. Because of this functionality
- aFirewall does not support app2sd. If aFirewall was installed on sd card, it couldn’t perform all its functions as well as it does now.
- You must exclude/ignore aFirewall from your task killer, if you are running one. If you do not do that, don’t expect aFirewall to block silently.
For the most part I found aFirewall easy to use, but it does have a slight learning curve and is not as user friendly as some of the competition.
There are definitely some attractive aspects to aFirewall, such as a rules feature that allows users to tell aFirewall what to block, what time to block it, and on what day. However, what won me over was aFirewall’s ability to block MMS (picture messages).
This may sound surprising, but out of all the call and message blockers I tested, aFirewall is the only one that blocks calls, SMS, and MMS; the rest only block calls and SMS. I find it to be a bit odd that other apps don’t block MMS and am not sure why this is, but it is the truth. That said, though, there is some feedback I would like to provide regarding MMS blocking.
When I tested MMS blocked with aFirewall, I noticed that MMS were only blocked after they were fully downloaded. In other words, MMS would show up in my messages list (the message itself wouldn’t show — just that someone sent me a message) and where only removed by aFirewall after they were fully downloaded onto my phone. Also, once or twice my phone vibrated when aFirewall blocked an MMS but for the most part it blocked them silently. These two points are not deal-breakers by any means but I thought I should mention them.
Overall, because of aFirewall’s ability to block all calls and all messages (text and picture), aFirewall earns first place as dotTech’s best free call, SMS (text message), and MMS (picture message) blocker/filter. However it should be noted aFirewall is only for personal-level blocking, i.e. numbers that are bothering you. If you are looking for more of an anti-spam, community-level blocking app try Call Control or Mr Number.
App Name: Call Control
Developer: Kedlin Company
Download Size: 405 KB
Version Reviewed: v2.2.8
Requires: Android 1.5-2.3.3
Whereas aFirewall focuses on personal-level blocking, Call Control is more on the other side of the spectrum. True, Call Control has a blacklist that allows users to add numbers that they want to block (free version allows users to add up to five numbers), Call Control’s main feature is the community blacklist that blocks numbers known for spamming/unsolicited calls and messages. It should be noted, however, that Call Control’s free version only allows users to update this community blacklist once (i.e. when you install it); after that you can continue to use Call Control but the community blacklist won’t be updated.
Like aFirewall, Call Control also blocks calls and messages silently. However, unlike aFirewall, Call Control only blocks calls and SMS (text messages) — it does not block MMS (picture messages). I am not particularly sure why this is and frankly I was very surprised to find this out.
Call Control is very easy to use (I personally find it to be simpler than aFirewall with a better designed interface), and it blocks calls/messages silently. Blocked calls can be sent to voicemail or picked up then hanged up. Blocked calls and messages are not shown on your phone but you can access them via Call Control. Call Control can be moved/installed on sd card, but if you want Call Control to block silently I suggest you leave it on your phone’s internal memory. (And add Call Control to the ignore list on your task killer.)
App Name: Mr. Number
Developer: Mr. Number
Download Size: 643 KB
Version Reviewed: v1.1.10
Requires: Android 1.6 and up
Out of all the apps discussed in this article, Mr. Number is without a doubt the most popular; and there are some features that merit Mr. Number’s popularity. For example, Mr. Number provides both the personal-level blocking and community-level/spam blocking capabilities; and unlike Call Control, Mr. Number does not limit users to only five numbers on the personal-level blacklist and does not limit users to the number of updates they receive for the community-level/spam blacklist. What knocks Mr. Number down to number three as opposed to number one is two factors.
Firstly, like Call Control, Mr. Number only blocks calls and SMS (text messages). It does not block MMS (picture messages). Why? I don’t know. Secondly, Mr. Number does not always block calls/messages silently. With aFirewall and Call Control as long as you make sure to not install them on sd card and make sure to not kill them with your task killer, both will block silently. Mr. Number, on the other hand, sometimes blocks silently and sometimes does not even when it is not installed on sd card and when it is not being killed by a task killer. If I were to guess a percentage, I would say 50% of the time Mr. Number blocks silently and 50% of the time it does not.
There is no question about if Mr. Number is a good app or not; it is a good app. If you decide to grab Mr. Number, I don’t blame you. However, as you can see with my rankings, I feel there are better apps out there.
- Blacklist Free
- MM Blacklist
- gX Blacklist
- Call Filter
- Advanced Call Filter
- Droid Call Filter
- Super Call Blocker
- Gang Filter – call block