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iPhone tool automatically screens calls

(MoneyWatch) Corporate executives have administrative assistants to screen their calls for them. Now you can do the same thing yourself with your iPhone.

Call Bliss is a powerful iPhone app that extends the phone's "do not disturb"feature, which appeared in Apple's (AAPL) latest operating system for its mobile devices, iOS 6. Using iOS 6, it's easy to block all calls at particular times of day. You can also mark "favorite" contacts who can get through the filter, but these must be the same favorites who get a special email inbox in the mail app.

By contrast, Call Bliss lets you set up contact groups -- like "family," "managers" and "clients," for example -- and allow or disallow their calls how you see fit. You can also configure locations and tie the two together, so it's easy to, say, block calls from co-workers when you're relaxing at home

The app is quite flexible. There is also a blackout mode that blocks all calls, as well as an "open door" mode that lets everything through, as long as the call is one of your contacts. And because Call Bliss piggybacks on iOS 6's do not disturb feature, you still get all the cool functionality that tool offers, like the ability to text an incoming call.

That said, Call Bliss can be a little confusing to configure. Its various switches and settings are divided across multiple tabbed pages, all of which you must navigate to get up and running. Also, the app's geo-fencing feature, which lets you block callers based on your location, requires users to physically be at that location to initially set up a spot -- you can't just pick a spot off a map or enter an address. But you can easily perform the one-time set up for your various locations once you are there. 

I've been using Call Bliss for a week and have found that it works great, though the app's reviews in the store are polarizing -- people either love it or can't get it to work at all. A rep for Call Bliss has confirmed that the app has now been updated to solve the problem that recently stymied some users. And that makes this $2.99 app a smart buy.