How do I withhold my mobile number?

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

There are times when making calls from your mobile phone that you may want to hide 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 in the UK?

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.

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

So, if you were calling 07834 343434, you would enter the following number into your handset: 14107834343434.

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 permanently hide your mobile number 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 handset, 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 permanently hide your mobile number 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 want to block all calls from withheld numbers in Android, open the Phone app, click Settings > Block numbers and then flick on the option to “Block unknown/private numbers”.

The final reason not to hide your number is that someone won’t be able to call you back if the line drops. That could be critical if you’re calling someone in an emergency situation, so definitely think twice before putting a block on your number.

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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


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    • iDmobile say that on their phones you have to use the prefix #31# instead. I’ve yet to find out whether it works for calls (it doesn’t for text messages).

    • Whether 141 works depends on your mobile provider in the UK. I have the same issue as you so have to use the prefix #31# instead of 141

  • There does not seem to be any legal requirement to honour a request to withhold a number. On several occasions, I have found companies that can still see my number when it is supposedly ‘withheld’.