How to send incoming calls directly to voicemail on your iPhone

Can’t take phone calls right now? Zap incoming iPhone calls to voicemail.

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A reader asks: 

“How do I send calls directly to voicemail on my iPhone? Sometimes I’m busy and I want to focus on work so I would like to see who’s calling, so shutting off my phone isn’t the best solution. Is there a better way to send all callers, or just certain callers to voicemail?”

There are a few ways to send calls straight to voicemail. To start, you can quickly switch your iPhone to Silent Mode by toggling the Ring/Silent switch. That’s the switch on the left-hand side of your iPhone, above the volume buttons. You’ll see a small red strip next to the switch to indicate when it’s in Silent mode. That way, depending on your settings, you’ll see a call coming in but you won’t hear your ringtone. By default, your phone vibrates when you receive an incoming call, but you can turn that off if it’s too distracting:

  • Go to Settings > Sounds & Haptics
  • Toggle off the Vibrate on Silent switch 

Alternatively, when a call comes in, tap the Sleep/Wake button to silence the ringer and send the call to voicemail. The Sleep/Wake button is the solitary button on the right-hand side of your iPhone (or on the top of your iPhone if you have an iPhone 5 or earlier).  and it silences the ringer, sending that call to voicemail.

There are a couple of other tricks, too:

Airplane Mode: Put your phone in Airplane Mode to block all cellular activity. Your calls will go directly to voicemail, but you won’t see who’s calling or even that you got a call until you check. However, you won’t be disturbed while working. To turn this on, swipe up from the bottom of your screen and tap the airplane icon.

Do Not Disturb: With Do Not Disturb, your phone will automatically silence all incoming notifications, but they will still pop up on your display. Incoming calls will appear on your screen, but they won’t make a sound and will go to voicemail if left unanswered. If you’d like to allow certain calls to come through while your phone is in Do Not Disturb mode, you can designate this in the feature’s settings:

  • Go to Settings > Do Not Disturb > Allow Calls From
  • Select Everyone, No One, or Favorites; alternatively, select a group

To turn this feature on, swipe up from the bottom of your screen and tap the moon icon. 

Other iOS tips:

This tip was originally published on IDG Answers, a reader-powered help desk for answering tech questions. 

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