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What Does Unknown Caller Mean on iPhone? (Must Know)

What Does Unknown Caller Mean on iPhone? (Must Know)

It was a beautiful summer afternoon, and I was out for a walk when my iPhone rang. I glanced at the screen to see who was calling, but to my surprise, the caller ID read “Unknown Caller.”

I hesitated for a moment, wondering who it could be. Should I receive it or let it lend to voicemail? It wasn’t the first time I had received such a call, and I knew I wasn’t alone.

Have you ever experienced the same? Have you ever wondered what it meant when your iPhone displayed “Unknown Caller” as the caller ID? It’s a common dilemma that leaves many iPhone users confused and anxious.

But fear not, as we delve into the mysterious world of “Unknown Caller” on iPhones and explore what it really means. I’ll discuss identifying calls on iPhone, all about unknown caller IDs.

How Calls are Identified on iPhone?

When a call is made, the phone network sends the calling party’s phone number to the receiving party’s network. The receiving party’s phone screen then displays the caller’s phone number using Caller ID technology.

Caller ID retrieves the caller’s name from the CNAM database, which is a database that stores the names and phone numbers of businesses and individuals. This service is usually provided by phone carriers or third-party services.

Phone carriers play a crucial role in identifying callers. They maintain databases of phone numbers, which they use to match incoming calls to subscribers. They also provide CNAM database services to identify callers’ names.

Additionally, they implement various call identification technologies to reduce the number of unwanted and unsolicited calls. Some examples include the SHAKEN/STIR protocol and robocall blocking.

Phone number identification through Caller IDThe phone network shares the caller’s number with the receiver’s network during a call, which displays it on the phone screen using Caller ID technology.
Caller ID and CNAM databaseRole of carrier networks in identifying callers
Role of carrier networks in identifying callersRole of carrier networks in identifying Callers
How calls are identified on iPhone?

What is an Unknown Caller id?

Unknown Caller on an iPhone means the recipient can’t see the caller’s phone number or identity. This can be due to the caller blocking their Caller ID, network issues, or spoofing. It’s important to be cautious when answering such calls, as they may not always be unwanted or fraudulent.

An unknown number will appear with the name “Unknown caller ID” if it isn’t recognizable

Why a caller may appear as unknown

Sometimes, callers may appear as “Unknown” on your iPhone because they have intentionally withheld their number from being displayed. This could be due to privacy concerns or simply because they don’t want you to know who is calling.

Additionally, some phone networks may not be able to display the caller’s information accurately, resulting in the “Unknown” label.

Caller ID blocking

Caller ID blocking is a feature that allows the caller to hide their phone number from being displayed on the recipient’s phone. This is usually done by dialing a code before making the call or by adjusting the phone’s settings.

While this may be helpful in some cases, such as when making anonymous calls for legitimate reasons, it is often associated with telemarketers, scammers, and other unwanted calls.


Spoofing is a technique used by scammers and spammers to manipulate the caller ID information to display a fake number or name. This can be done using various tools and technologies, including VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and robocalling software.

The purpose of spoofing is usually to trick the recipient into answering the call and then scamming them in some way, such as by posing as a representative of a legitimate organization or asking for sensitive information.

How an iPhone Handles Unknown Calls?

When it comes to handling calls from unknown or blocked numbers, iPhones offer several options for managing these calls:

Automatic silence:

This feature allows you to automatically silence all calls from unknown numbers. This means that the call won’t ring and will be sent directly to voicemail without causing any disruption to your day. This feature can be turned on or off in your iPhone settings.

Unknown callers
Sometimes, your iPhone will automatically silent the unknown call

Send unknown callers directly to voicemail:

If you don’t want to completely silence unknown callers, you can choose to send them directly to voicemail. This allows you to screen the call and decide whether or not to respond. You can set this up in your iPhone settings.

Option to allow calls from contacts and repeated calls only:

If you want to receive calls from unknown numbers but only if it’s an emergency, you can choose to allow calls from your contacts or if the same number calls twice within three minutes.

This ensures that you won’t miss any important calls while also filtering out unwanted or spam calls. You can set this up in your iPhone settings under the “Do Not Disturb” section.

Blocking Unknown Callers

If you want to block unknown callers, then the following are some things to know about it:

How does blocking calls work?

Blocking calls is a feature that allows users to prevent specific phone numbers from calling their phones. When a user blocks a phone number, calls and messages from that number are automatically rejected, and the caller is not able to leave a voicemail.

There’re several methods to block unknown callers, including:

  • Call blocking: This feature is built into most modern smartphones, including the iPhone. Users can manually add phone numbers to their block list, or enable settings to automatically block unknown or hidden callers.
  • Carrier call blocking: Some mobile carriers offer call-blocking services to their customers. These services use the carrier’s network to block calls from known spam and scam phone numbers.
  • Third-party call-blocking apps: There are many third-party apps available on the App Store that allow users to block calls and messages from unknown numbers.
Unknown calls
You can block the call by any 3rd party application or directly through your iPhone

Using a third-party app:

Users can download and install third-party apps on their iPhones to block calls from unknown numbers. These apps typically use crowdsourced databases to identify and block spam and scam phone numbers. Some popular third-party call-blocking apps include Truecaller, Hiya, and RoboKiller.

Blocking calls from the Phone app:

The Phone app on the iPhone also has built-in call-blocking features. To block a caller from the Phone app, users can follow these steps:

  1. Open the Phone app.
  2. Go to the Recents tab.
  3. Find the phone number you don’t want to receive calls from and block them and tap the icon of “i” next to it.
  4. Scroll down and tap “Block this Caller”.
  5. Confirm the action by tapping “Block Contact”.

Moreover, you can check out this automatic blocking feature of the iPhone:

How to automatically block unknown calls on iPhone


What is the Difference Between Unknown Caller and No Caller ID on iPhone?

No Caller ID refers to a call where the caller has intentionally blocked their number from being displayed on the recipient’s phone. “Unknown Caller” refers to a call where the phone network is unable to accurately display the caller’s information.

How do you know who an unknown caller is?

One can try using a reverse phone lookup service or search the phone number online to identify an unknown caller on an iPhone. Alternatively, asking the caller to identify themselves during the call is another option, but caution should be exercised and no personal information should be shared.

Can I trace an unknown caller?

It’s generally not possible to trace an unknown caller using traditional methods. However, in some cases, law enforcement may be able to use specialized tools and resources to trace the call. It’s important to note that attempting to trace a call on your own can be dangerous and should not be attempted.


  • “Unknown Caller” on an iPhone refers to a call where the caller’s phone number or identity is not displayed on the recipient’s phone.
  • This can occur due to several reasons, such as the caller blocking their Caller ID, the phone network not being able to display the information accurately, or the caller using spoofing techniques to manipulate their information.
  • Not all calls with an “Unknown Caller” ID are necessarily unwanted or fraudulent, but it’s always important to exercise caution when answering such calls.
  • One way to potentially identify the caller is to use a reverse phone lookup service or search for the phone number online.
  • Another option is to answer the call and ask the caller to identify themselves.
  • The iPhone offers several options for handling unknown calls, such as automatic silence or sending unknown callers directly to voicemail.

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