Why Your iPhone Doesn’t Always Let You Decline Phone Calls

Ever wanted to decline a call but all you can do is "slide to answer"? Here's why.

If you have an iPhone, you may have encountered the awkward situation of not being able to “decline” a phone call from someone you don’t want to talk to. When you get a call, sometimes all you can do is “slide to answer.” Other times, you can either “accept” or “decline.” So what gives?

The mystery behind why this happens is fairly simple—and it’s actually in your best interest, even if you’d rather just let the call go to voicemail, well aware that your inbox is full. This is why iPhones don’t let you record calls.

Why don’t iPhones always let you decline phone calls?

The secret behind this iPhone phenomena is the lock feature. When your iPhone is locked and a call comes in, you only have the option to “slide to answer.” However, when the phone is unlocked, you can either accept or decline the call.

Apple actually created this feature with the user in mind. The idea is that if your phone is unlocked, you may already be preoccupied with a text, email, social media, etc., so you have the option to decline the call and get back to what you were doing. If your phone is locked, you need to slide in order to unlock the phone and answer the call.

What’s the point of this feature?

The reason for this is, essentially, reverse butt-dialing. Apple assumed that if your phone is locked, it’s probably in your pocket or bag and you’re not really paying attention to it. If the “accept” and “decline” buttons were available while in lock screen mode, it would be much easier to accidentally pick up or ignore calls by hitting one of the buttons, rather than holding the button and sliding with your finger.

But, a little known iPhone insider tip reveals that there actually is a way to decline the call while your phone is locked. Most people know that clicking the power button at the top of your phone will silence the call, but double clicking this button allows you to decline any calls that come your way when your phone is locked. Problem solved! Now, learn about some other hidden iPhone hacks you never knew about.