How to Call Directly to Someone’s Voicemail

Posted by Jamie on December 29, 2018

You’re trying to call the boss to take a “sick day” (translation: go-to-the-beach day) or the quasi-girlfriend/boyfriend to cancel a date we didn’t want to agree to in the first place, and we’re hoping and praying, fingers crossed, that they won’t pick up.

You want that call to go to voicemail so you can leave a heart-felt (or a fake-coughing) message with your exigent-circumstance excuses, hang up, turn off your phone and scamper away into the night, free from the social obligation of having to actually talk to the person we’re bailing on.

We hope they’re busy, on another call, having dinner, in the bathroom – anything, so long as they don’t pick up and we can leave our message in safety. Alas, most of the time our hopes are dashed as the person picks up and we have to make our claim about having a cold in mid-June while our coldly skeptical employer listens in grim silence.

It does not have to be that way: There is a way to call directly to voicemail without the risk of the person answering their phone. This article provides a simple tutorial on how to avoid that painful conversation and get straight to a person’s voicemail. Then, your excuse or alibi is complete, with the proof that you tried to get in touch!

One caveat: This only works if you’re calling a cellphone. If you have the choice between your boss’s cell and the landline at the office, call your boss on the cell.

iPhone apps to call directly to voicemail

The most direct and simplest way to make your call go directly to voicemail is by using an app. We review two apps below: Slydial and WhatCall. While Slydial used to be the market leader, it’s since been flooded with poor reviews due to the service not working. WhatCall, however, still consistently performs well – and the reviews reflect that.


Slydial is an app (available for iOS and Android) that you download and install onto your phone. Free accounts are available but they require you to listen to an ad before making your call. There are also two tiers of paid accounts, giving you ad-free access, the ability to “Slydial” multiple people simultaneously, and other premium features. For most people, the free version is perfectly adequate to ditch out on work, avoid the semi-girlfriend or keep from going to a party you really don’t want to go to.

Here’s how to use the service:

  1. Download and install Slydial onto your phone.
  2. Sign up for an account and log into the app.
  3. Dial 267-SLYDIAL from your the phone app on your cell phone to connect to the service.
  4. When prompted, enter the cell number you are trying to reach.
  5. Leave your message as instructed.

Remember, Slydial only works if you’re calling a mobile phone. Even if the landline you are trying to call has digital voicemail, the app will not work. Otherwise, the process automatically bypasses the live line and goes straight to voicemail.


WhatCall works almost exactly the same – only it actually works. Even if you’re just trying to make sure you don’t wake someone up but still want to leave them a voicemail, WhatCall will make sure their phone doesn’t ring. WhatCall imports all of your contacts, so all you have to do is open the app and tap a contact, and you will be directly connected with their voicemail.

How to send a call directly to voicemail

What about if you’re on the other side of things? Your phone rings, you see who’s calling, roll your eyes, and wish that you could send them straight to voicemail. It’s easy to do this for all callers – just set your phone to airplane mode or turn on do not disturb. It’s also easy to do this when the phone rings – just reject the call, and it will go to voicemail. But if you want to single out one person for the voicemail treatment and not have the phone ring when they call you, you’ll have to use a different method

Using an Android (Note: This only works on some Android builds.):

  1. Navigate to your call list and add the number you want to avoid as a contact.
  2. Navigate to “Contacts” and tap the three dot menu icon.
  3. Inside the individual contact, tap the three dots menu icon.
  4. Select “Route to voicemail.”

Unfortunately, you cannot currently send individual calls to voicemail on an iPhone without using a non-native app.

If you want to avoid marketing calls, you can just block them instead. This won’t stop that first call, but it will stop subsequent calls.

  1. Open the phone app and navigate to “Recents”
  2. Find the telemarketer call.
  3. Select the information icon on the right, then scroll down and tap “Block this caller.”
  4. Calls from that number will be blocked in the future.

Calls will still technically be delivered to your phone, but your phone will not alert you to the call. This is a handset block and not a network block. You can put a network block on persistent telemarketers, but you need to contact your network provider for that. To view voicemails from blocked calls, go to Voicemail, then scroll all the way to the bottom and tap “Blocked Messages.”

The advantage of calling directly to voicemail are many. You can pass on bad news, give a message with full inflection and meaning in your voice and give the recipient time to reflect before they have to respond. In some fraught situations, that period of reflection can completely change how that person responds and can turn a difficult situation into something much calmer and more measured. You can also skip out on work without having to answer any questions.

Do you know of any other ways to send a call directly to voicemail? Do you know how to selectively send a call to voicemail on an iPhone? Tell us about it below if you do!

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