Phones

How do I withhold my mobile number?

withhold mobile number
Secret caller: you don't have to give away your identity

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There are times when making calls from your mobile phone that you may not want the recipient to see your number. Anonymously reporting something to the authorities, ringing a business that you’re worried may harvest the number for marketing purposes, or even making a prank call to someone who will already have your number stored. So how do you withhold your mobile number when making a call?

How to withhold your mobile number before making a call

If you don’t want to withhold your number permanently, but only before making a particular call, it’s dead easy to do (assuming you’re in the UK).

Simply type the numbers 141 before the phone number you plan to call.

Yes, this is the same system used on landlines, first introduced to stop people getting your number when they dialled 1471. You can do the same on a mobile.

How to withhold your mobile number permanently on Android

If you don’t want anyone to see your number when you call, you can tweak your Android phone’s settings to stop this happening.

The instructions on how to do this may vary depending on your manufacturer and version of Android, but it should be broadly similar. On a Samsung Galaxy S9 running Android 9, you change the setting as follows:

  1. Click on the Phone app
  2. Press the three-dots menu button in the top-right of the screen and choose Settings
  3. Click on Supplementary Services
  4. Click on Show My Caller ID and select Hide number

How to withhold your mobile number permanently on an iPhone

The drill is a tad simpler on an iPhone:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Choose Phone
  3. Untick Show My Caller ID

Reasons not to withhold your mobile number

Most obviously, people who have your mobile number saved in their handsets will no longer be able to tell who you are before they decide to accept the call.

That might be a problem as hidden caller IDs are often associated with spam callers these days, and some people choose not to answer calls unless the caller is identified. You can even set your phone to automatically reject anonymous calls and send them to voicemail, letting you sort the wheat from the non-wheaty bits.

If you’re suddenly finding nobody is picking up, this could be the reason why.

NOW READ THIS: BT Mobile Wi-Fi calling – how do I set it up?


About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at barry@bigtechquestion.com.

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