Thanks to iOS 6, the new handset software for the iPhone, there are now (by my count, anyway) at least four ways to send an untimely call to voicemail.
Some of them are fairly considerate, others are downright rude. The good news, though, is that each method is relatively easy, even when you’ve got your iPhone in one hand and your keys in another.
So, ready to hang up your iPhone?
Here we go…
1. Send the caller instantly to voicemail
Here’s the most abrupt way to zap your caller to voicemail purgatory: when a call comes in, just double-click the “sleep/wake” button along the top of your iPhone. Either that, or tap the red “Decline” button on the touchscreen.
The moment you do, your iPhone will stop ringing, and your caller will hear the dulcet, prerecorded tones of your voicemail greeting—a telltale sign that you’re either a) out of wireless range, or b) dodging their calls.
2. Let your caller (eventually) roll to voicemail
So, your iPhone starts ringing, you see the caller ID, and you just don’t want to take the call—but you don’t want your caller thinking that you’re blowing them off, either.
If that’s the case, try this: instead of double-clicking the sleep/wake button, just single-click it instead.
Or, here’s another option: single-click one of the volume buttons.
Doing so will silence your iPhone’s ringer, but your caller will still hear your phone ringing.
Eventually, the call will roll to voicemail, and your caller will (fingers crossed) simply figure that you couldn’t get to your phone, or perhaps that you were taking a much-needed midday nap.
3. Decline the call with a text message
Thanks to the latest iOS update for the iPhone, you can now send a text message—such as, say, “Can’t talk right now, call later?”—at the same time as you decline a call, perfect for letting a spurned caller down easy.
It’s a feature that’s long been available on Android phones, and it’s relatively easy to use, once you know where to swipe.
Note: You’ll need iOS 6 installed on your iPhone before you can start declining calls with text messages.
Here’s what you do:
- When your iPhone starts ringing, you’ll see the standard “slide to answer” slider at the bottom of the screen. If you’ve upgraded your iPhone software to iOS 6, though, you’ll also see a little handset icon just to the right of the slider. Swipe the handset icon up.
- You’ll now see a few new options: Decline, Answer, Reply with message, and Remind me later. Tap the “Reply with message” button.
- Next, you’ll get to choose between a series of canned text messages, including “I’ll call you later,” “I’m on my way,” and “What’s up?” Tap a message, and it’ll be sent instantly to your caller, just as they’re hearing your voicemail message.
- You can tap “Custom…” to compose a custom message on the fly, or you can create your own pre-written messages by tapping Settings, Phone, Reply with Message.
4. Decline the call, then get a reminder
So, let’s say a call comes in that you really do want to answer—just not right this second. One option is to decline with a text message, as we just saw. Another is to decline the call but remind yourself to call back.
When the call comes in, swipe the handset icon up again, then tap the “Remind me later” button.
Doing so will send your caller to voicemail, and you’ll get a choice: Get a reminder about the missed call in an hour, or when you leave your current location. (Your iPhone’s GPS circuitry will trigger the reminder once you wander far enough from wherever you were when you took the call.)
Want to change the time of your reminder? Just open the Reminders app on your iPhone, find the missed-call reminder that your iPhone just created (tap one of the reminder lists, or use the search box), tap it, then tap any of the reminder settings (such as the time or the location) that you’d like to change.
Looking for more iPhone tips? Click here!