Beginner tip: How to ignore or reject a call when your iPhone is locked

Have you ever wondered how to quickly reject a call when your iPhone is locked? This can be especially important when you are in an meeting and have forgotten to turn off your iPhone beforehand. Yes, this is a basic how to, but for those who do not already know, it can prove invaluable.

When you receive a call on your locked iPhone, “slide to unlock” will change to “slide to answer”, with no “reject” or "ignore" option in sight, but you can still do it:

  • To ignore/silence an incoming call, just press the sleep/wake button once (that's the button which is at the very top of your iPhone)
  • To reject/send an incoming call to voicemail, press the sleep/wake button twice.

Let us know how it works for you and if you have any questions, ask in the comments!

Tips of the day will range from beginner-level 101 to advanced-level ninjary. If you already know this tip, keep the link handy as a quick way to help a friend. If you have a tip of your own you'd like to suggest, add them to the comments or send them in to dailytips@tipb.com. (If it's especially awesome and previously unknown to us, we'll even give ya a reward...)

George Lim

Writer for iMore, YouTube Vlogger, and Host for [TEChBrits]

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There are 54 comments. Add yours.

jiden77 says:

Thanks, always wondered how to do this on my iPhone...(coming from a MyTouch3G with Android).

BrindawithanI says:

I'm a relative newb so I love this kind of info! TiPb ROCKS!

TotallyBrit says:

Pressing the Volume rocker kills the sound... should've added in your tip, very useful, related ;-)

Peter says:

Another way to silence (not reject) is to hit either of the volume control buttons. I find that especially helpful when it's ringing in my pocket and need a quick silencer.

SciTeach3 says:

I get very annoyed by people whose phone goes off when it is not supposed to and they then scramble to run out of the room with the phone still ringing because they do not know how to turn it off. This should be pointed out and taught at the time of purchase for every new phone.

jt says:

Here's an unrelated tip: if you want to play videos in the bg, first play the vid then hit the home button, then double tap and swipe to go left and hit play :). Ugly work around to allow you to hear music in the bg. Pretty useful in the mobile youtube page :D.

rj5570 says:

Also, you can just hit the volume buttons (at least on the iPhone 4) and this will silence it. Sometimes its easier to grab the sides than the top with one hand.
just an fyi

Garysturn says:

Another tip when typing:
To enter one item like a comma from the numbers screen without switching to the other screen and switching back. Hold your finger on the numbers shift key and slide it to the desired item and let up. It will insert a comma or other item and auto return to the alpha menu without having to push the alpha shift key to return.

India says:

I've had an iPhone since December and I never knew how to reject calls when locked. Thanks for this! I always knew about silencing it by just pressing volume rocker. I guess we learn something new every day!

ShevonJames says:

Whoa I feel smart right now considering how new this is to you all. But ya been using for years it works great

greidel says:

Tips like this are much appreciated. More so than news about jailbreaking, IMO.

Rv says:

good info
i had this on my blog last yr itselfhttp://igraffiti.wordpress.com/

Garysturn says:

Another tip for typing: Many keys have multiple alternatives. Hold your finger on a key and if it has multiple alternatives a small list will pop up after about 2 seconds, slide your finger to the item you want and let up. Example: Push and hold the period key on the Alpha menu to get .com .edu .net, etc. Lots of keys have alternate options, try them all to learn what is available.

Matt Hall says:

Where did you get that background?

AZMerf says:

Thanks for the tip on rejecting. I didn't know that one. The iPad has a nice feature when you hold the volume down button for more than a second, it mutes it. It would be nice if the iPhone had this as well.

Corinne says:

If you're jailbroken, you can install EZDecline which adds the Reject/Accept buttons to your lock screen.

Garysturn says:

Caps: Instead of touching the Caps key then hitting the letter you want then hitting the Caps key again to go back to lower case, touch and hold the Caps key then slide your finger to the key you want and let go, it gives you the capital letter but stays in the lower case mode.

BSmith4832 says:

I can't believe how many of you didn't already know this. Oh well - at least it helped someone.

Ravendos says:

Well now at least I don't have to be scared to touch the phone for fear of hitting a wrong button and accidently answering the call when I am trying to ignore people LOL! Thanks for the Tip.

Kevinq says:

I would like to know where you got the wallpaper on that screenshot - I need that on my device! =)

@Gerry says:

At least news about jailbreaking is not one to two years old.

just_jeepin says:

I've been an iPhone user for over 3 years, jailbroken and very tech savvy but never knew about the reject. Thanks!

Robert says:

Silencing a call by pressing either volume button has been on every mobile phone I've ever owned since my Qualcom on the late '90s. Please pass that info on to anyone with a mobile phone. I can't stand people that let there phone ring in the middle of a public place and just ignore the ringing. I feel like walking over and pressing a volume button for them.

isuquinndog says:

Hold down the period key on the standard keyboard and you get ... as a choice.

Tim Lutz says:

Been using this trick for longtime found out by accident.

Dennis says:

is there anyway to reject the call but still have the phone ringing for the person calling? lol i want to keep using my phone and reject the call but not have the person calling know i rejected it..
i forgot which phone i had before in the past that did this.. it was probably my MDA?
anyone know if this is possible on iphone 4? or any iphone?

laraleigh says:

Download the $1.29 ringtone Ignore this call from I tunes.. then just set all calls that you don't want to answer to this ringtone..
the silence is VERY NICE if you have unwanted calls daily from the
same number.

sknoerns says:

I was curious about the background too, so I decided to put Google Goggles to the test again and, sure enough, it tracked it down. http://blog.craftzine.com/feltplanetiphonewallpaper.jpg
Not high-res, but it still looks nice.

InfinityX says:

Dennis, try reading before posting. No fewer than 5 people said that pressing either volume button will silence the ringtone without rejecting the call.

Edie says:

This has been around since the first generation iPhone. and i just barely got an iPhone. My first one too!
Wow!

61Butte says:

Love how many tards have to tell us all that "they already knew this"
Do us ALL a favor and fight the temptation to prove yourselves assholes in public?

David says:

I wish that Apple could make iOS as intuitive as Android. On my old G1 phone there was a choice to accept or reject the call.

RodneyJ725 says:

I found same as Peter: just hit volume button (I typically use the "-" button)

Joolie says:

Excellent tip, thanks for posting this.

Dennis says:

@ Infinity x: I did read the article. you did not read my post.
i want to be able to use the phone after silencing the call instead of waiting for their call to go to voicemail (and just looking at their caller ID picture and number). in other words i want to be able to use the ipod while the phone is still ringing.
i was not looking for the ability just to silence the call but to reject the call and be able to use the other apps but on the other end the phone is still ringing for the caller.

Brian Borup says:

Great tip! Yesterday morning I got a call and I realized I didn't know to reject it. A few hours later this tip shows up on Twitter. Awesome timing!

Scott says:

THANK YOU! This is something that's been bugging me since I got my phone, but I always forget to go research it.
And I agree with the earlier poster that this is MUCH more useful than the endless posts about jailbreaking (which I don't think should even be included on this site).

veronica says:

can anyone also advise how to reject a call, but instead of forwarding to the voice mail, forwarding to a designated phone number?

Bert B. says:

Thanks, you are a life saver. I am very new to this iPhone thing and I have been looking for weeks on how to do this. Keep the tips coming.

Janet says:

OMG never realized I didn't have a reject button until 2:30 this morning when someone I didn't know rang. Thank you for this!

dre17 says:

is there a way to reject the call without actually forwarding it to the voicemail ? coz tapping the lock button will automatically fwd the caller to the voicemail. and i end up paying for that

Eepjr says:

HOw to disable the "slide to answer" feature? When driving it can be distracting and dangerious to look and slide to answer.

Necxe1726412 says:

Maybe you can avoid this by not using your phone while driving.

Brianmovie says:

How do I access my voice mail on my iphone from a landline?

Ffff says:

Lose the landline lol it doesn't work like that anymore

riwri says:

How can I have my phone automatically not ring after a certain time each night and then come back on at a certain time in the morning?

Foxy says:

Turn it off as you go to bed then...erm, when you get up in the morning, turn it on! BINGO.

Palmprepalmpre says:

umm...dude you might want to answer that - shes hot! :P

AmirAbbas says:

At least I found the way of raject my iPhone on this page. Thanks for helping me learn it. I wish you the best, my friend

Nilesh says:

iPhone as good as it is .. it lacks some basic things about it and it lagging behind its competitor Android on many fronts. Yes, it works g8 .. very very responsive unlike the Android phones. But once you have touched iphone there you miss. Like whats up home screen having only the icons. I wish I can put twitter updates on my homescreen like I did on my android. Whats up with this strange way of rejecting calls? Why is there no option to choose only 3G network? Somehow it feels like a closed box to me...

Mr. Friendly says:

Thanks for the tip. The UI on the iPhone is just awful for actually getting things done.

Shari says:

Thank you so much for this tip! I've often wondered how to do this. But today - it was really embarrassing when my iphone rang it's butt off as I was working with the external auditors. I decided (after they left) to find the solution immediately. I can't believe how stupidly unuser-friendly some of iphone's features (or lack of) are. Like not being able to reply to the sender only (or the one person of your choice) when you've received a group text. Sheesh. Again, thanks a million!

Miss_ST says:

Thanks a lot for the useful info :)