Over the past several months, I've become increasingly familiar with how to block phone numbers in Google's Phone app: reject a suspicious call, go into my call history, long-press the dubious number, then tap "Block/report spam." This process is simple enough, but it's still just a reactionary, case-by-case measure. Android P may improve this call-blocking experience by giving users a smarter, preemptive way to block types of phone numbers — that is, so long as your carrier doesn't get in the way

The set of commits to the AOSP gerrit, spotted by XDA Developers, would add these contextual call-blocking features to the Google Phone app. Users would be able to block phone numbers that are:

  • not in their contacts list
  • private or not disclosed by the caller
  • associated with a pay phone
  • unknown or unidentified

It's worth noting that this preventive call blocking would be automatically disabled when a user makes an emergency call, which would allow emergency responders to contact the user in distress. A persistent notification would be displayed to let the user know this is happening.

XDA also points out that it appears carriers could disable this new call-blocking feature. They may do this to sell you their add-on monthly services instead. So, there's that.

These commits aren't merged with AOSP yet, though a software engineer at Google commented: "I'm very much in favor of this change as a whole; its a nice improvement to call blocking, especially being able to block unknown numbers."

While this doesn't address the maddening rise in spoofing, this preemptive call blocking would be a welcome feature in Android P for most users.