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Sadly, most of us have probably sent a couple of truly regrettable phone calls, texts, or e-mails in our lifetime. And unsurprisingly, they often have something to do with having one too many Gin & Tonics. While we love the ubiquitous connectivity our iPhone offers, there are certainly times when the ability to contact anyone, from anywhere, is more liability than awesome technological gift. And for those times, The Bad Decision Blocker can help you avoid iPhone-induced shame by preventing you from communicating with certain people in your Contacts.
The BDB works by temporarily removing contact data from your iPhone. After installing the app, launching it brings up a list of all your contacts, similar to the Contacts app. You can select contacts by searching, or simply by scrolling down a list. Selecting one or more contacts will allow you to block your selected contacts for a custom time-frame ranging from one hour to seven days. When you hit the Block button, Bad Decision Blocker will overwrite those contacts’ email addresses and phone numbers, preventing you from emailing, calling or texting anyone on your Blocked list until after the time limit expires. For better or worse, there’s no way to undo the block before that time limit. And you should note that blocking someone doesn’t prevent you from manually inputting their number or email address—nor does it prevent them from contacting you while they are blocked.
We appreciated the ability to assign different time limits to different blocked contacts concurrently, although since there’s no way to block by existing groups you can’t block out everyone in your Work group before heading out for the weekend, for example. This limitation is somewhat mitigated by a Recents list showing your most recently-blocked contacts, but the app is still more useful for individual people (your ex, or your boss) than it is for larger groups. In our tests, blocked contacts didn’t create any problems on our iPhone, or with MobileMe syncing. Once a time limit expires, your contact’s information is restored the next time you launch the app. Still, we were a little bit worried leaving our contact data at the mercy of a third-party application, and the developer’s site doesn’t have any information about what to do if BDB manages to permanently bork your data. We’d recommend a good backup strategy, just in case.
If you have poor impulse control The Bad Decision Blocker might help avoid embarrassing drunk dials, but if you really need it, you might have bigger problems than a $.99 iPhone app can solve.