Whether you find yourself absorbed in the gentle retreat of a radiant sunset, the sound of children laughing, or a heady guitar solo from Trey Anastasio, sooner or later we’re all prompted to think deeply about our lives. Musing profound and penetratingly on life’s big questions…

Or maybe you’re more like me and wondered, “Why does my iPhone let me decline incoming calls only some of the time?”

Why is the Decline Button Missing Sometimes

I’ve traversed space and time (i.e. Google) to help find an answer to this metaphysical inquiry. Turns out the answer is way more attainable than other modern day koans. In short, it has everything to do with whether your iPhone is screen locked at the time of an incoming call.

If your phone screen is locked, then you’ll have these three options:

  • Remind Me
  • Message
  • slide to answer

screenlocked_phone

Whereas, if your phone is not screen-locked at the time of an incoming call, then you’ll have the following options:

  • Remind Me
  • Message
  • Decline
  • Accept

screen_unlocked

Why would Apple make this design choice? Hmm, it seems that with every answer, come even more questions

We are all at this point familiar with what a pocket dial is. However, what about a pocket decline? Because “red buttoning” an incoming caller is now considered rude in regard to today’s smart phone etiquette, Apple’s intentions behind this design choice seems to be on preventing accidental pocket declines.

For example: what happens if your phone is snug in your slim fit jeans when you get a call? Well, if your phone is not screen locked, then the mere act of removing phone from said skinny fit jeans may prove precarious in execution. Have fun explaining to your girlfriend that you didn’t intentionally red button her, but instead just have clumsy, fat fingers that brushed against the Decline button by accident.

We have an idea as to why Apple has removed the decline option for incoming calls on screen locked phones, but this still doesn’t help us figure out ways in which to ignore an incoming call without potentially offending someone. I mean, what if you’re just having one of those days in which you just really don’t want to talk to anyone?  Allow me to offer you an alternate strategy: click on the volume button located on the side of your iPhone. This will effectively silence the ringing and/or vibrating of an incoming call without the need for red buttoning the caller.

Now that we’re all a bit more wise in the ways of phone etiquette, are there any other strategies you’ve employed to prevent unwanted incoming callers from feeling declined?

Related Items:

Join 90k others & subscribe to my weekly, not annoying newsletter for more tech!

* indicates required