Hi! Thanks for reading. This post looks better in our award-winning app, Tips & Tricks for iPhone.


No time to drop into the Apple Store and ask the Genius Bar for help with your iPhone or iPad? Maybe one of our resident experts can help!

As Apple nerds, we get asked a lot of tech support questions — and some of those questions crop up time and time again. Here’s a recent query that we think will be familiar to many of you.

“How do I send a call to voicemail without alerting the caller?”

Sometimes a call will come in that you don’t want to answer — and yet you also don’t want to let the person at the other end know. Hit the Decline button and they’ll go straight to voicemail and realize something’s up; but let the phone ring on and you’ll drive everyone in the vicinity bonkers. The alternative is to silence the call.

To do this when a call comes in, press the side button, sleep/wake button, or either volume button. Or if faced with the new compact call banner in iOS 14, swipe the banner upward. The call will ring on in silence until voicemail kicks in; and if you’re hit with a pang of guilt, it’s possible to answer the call before that happens. (If using the compact display, you’ll need to tap the phone icon in the top-left corner.)

If you’re less fussed about hurting someone’s feelings, tap Decline to send someone immediately to voicemail. Apple also provides Remind Me and Message options to, respectively, give you a nudge to call the person back at a time of your choosing, or send them a text message instead. Probably don’t go for: “Sorry, can’t talk right now — in hour eight of a 24h YouTube marathon!”