When you get an incoming call to your iPhone, the options that light up your screen aren’t always the same. Sometimes you have the option to decline a call, and sometimes you only see a slider that allows you to answer, without an option to send the caller straight to voicemail. Why the difference?
A while back, Business Insider tracked down the answer to this conundrum of modern communication, and the answer turns out to be fairly simple.
If you get a call while your phone is locked, you’ll see the “slide to answer” button. In order to decline the call, you have to double-tap the power button on the top of the phone.
If your phone is unlocked, however, the screen that appears during an incoming call is different. You’ll see the two buttons, “accept” or “decline.”
Either way, you get the options to set a reminder to call that person back or to immediately send them a text message. (“Dad, stop calling me at work, it’s 9 a.m.!”)
If you still want to decline the call when your iPhone’s screen is locked, simply press the side button twice.
A version of this story ran in 2017; it has been updated for 2023.