Developing Consumer Apps (MyNumberBlocker)

I love writing software and routinely create programs to meet my needs. In many cases my applications are very focused and have a market of one, so I don’t bother polishing them or releasing them. There have been several exceptions to this including ReceiptWallet (now called Paperless and NotifyMail (NotifyMail was not quite consumer friendly, but did well in the enterprise). My latest application, MyNumberBlocker follows in the footsteps of my other apps in that it is very focused. This app is a one trick pony, but it solved my need to block the increasing number of phone calls that look like they come from the same prefix as my phone.

When I started MyNumberBlocker, I was able to get it running very quickly and decided that I could use it as an experiment to see how the current App Store operates. As an individual I’ve only put one app on the Apple App Store and that was many years ago. Making the app user friendly wasn’t difficult, but took me awhile because I like tackling different types of problems and presenting a user interface with instructions was not fun. Another challenge was setting up a website and putting together some instructions.

I know that MyNumberBlocker isn’t going to bring in enough money to change my life so I’ve set a very modest sales goal. The next step is figuring out how to market the app with little to no marketing budget!

9 Replies to “Developing Consumer Apps (MyNumberBlocker)”

  1. Typo: s/add/at/

    Allow access to your contacts. This is so that MyNumberBlocker can look add your contacts that have the same phone prefix as yours to the whitelist. Your contacts are NEVER uploaded to a server or used except to build the whitelist.

    Love the idea of your app. I didn’t know this was allowed in the app store!

    1. Hi Mark,

      Thanks for the correction! Call blocking is part of Apple’s CallKit which has been around for a few OS versions. There are a handful of blocking apps, but I found none to be effective. In addition to my app, I’m using AT&T’s Call Protect which appears to work at the switch level to tag calls as spam or telemarketers.

      If you like the app, spread the word!

  2. Hi, Scott. I just downloaded your MyNumberBlocker app to my iPhone after reading about the app on the indispensable MacInTouch website. I had not heard of your app, but then I also had not tried looking for any such apps for several months. Like you (and countless others, I’m sure), I have been annoyed by receiving those scam or marketing phone calls that always seem to be coming from numbers that share the same area code and 3-digit prefix as my mobile phone number.
    I found it relatively easy to set up the app after initially being tripped up by getting an error until it occurred to me that I should re-enter my mobile phone number with a “1” preceding the area code as I think that is how I have all phone numbers set up in my Contacts.
    I will be curious to see whether I receive fewer of those calls now that I have installed your app. If so, I will certainly spread the word amongst my circle of friends.

    1. Hi Scott,

      Thanks for your support! I’ll have to take a look at the error as I strip all phone numbers and reformat them, so how you enter the number shouldn’t matter. Apple’s error codes aren’t very useful with the blocking APIs, unfortunately. I did see an issue on my wife’s phone where I had to kill the app and launch it again before it showed up as a Blocking option.

      Yes, my marketing department isn’t very good as people don’t know about my app. I think I’ll have to fire them and come up with a new strategy 🙂

  3. Scott, thank you for this. It’s been great!
    Any chance you could add the ability to add additional exchanges to block? I have a couple of google phone numbers that forward to my phone and get spam calls on those too. Would be great to have the ability to block additional calls too.

  4. Installed app, when I granted access to contacts list, got this message, “MyNumberBlocker Error, An error occurred loading the blocker. Please tap the reload button to try again.”

    I deleted app, re-downloaded, denied contact list access, then enabled contact list through settings. Seemed to be ok then. (Then went to settings->phone, and allowed blocker there.)

    Not sure if it is working. I guess if I get any calls from my prefix, then I’ll know!



    iPhone 6s, iOS 10 🙂

    1. Hi Mark,

      Sorry for the installation issues. The errors that the OS gives me are not all that helpful sometimes. If you no longer get the error, you should be good to go. You may want to go back into the app as it will reload the numbers to whitelist.

      Please let me know if you encounter any more problems. Apple has fixed lots of issues with iOS 11 and there may be ones related to number blocking in iOS 10.

      1. I’ll see how it goes. Thanks for the quick response. So many horror stories of iOS 11 (and macOS 13), not happy with Apple right now!

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