Spammers use multiple numbers to send junk messages in bulk. Apart from being irrelevant and annoying, links and information in these texts may be unsafe, and even illegal. Thus it is essential to know how to block such text messages on the iPhone. In this guide, let me tell you multiple ways to address this problem.
- How to Block iMessage and Text Messages on iPhone
- How to Manage Blocked Phone Numbers on iPhone
- How to Filter iMessages from Unknown Senders
- Report Spam or Junk iMessages
- Unsubscribe from Promotional Text Messages
- Hide Alerts for Spam Text Messages on iPhone
- Should I Use Third-Party SMS Filter Apps?
How to Block iMessage and Text Messages on iPhone
- Inside the Messages app, tap on a conversation.
- Tap on the contact picture, email/name/number. Tap on info.
- In iOS 13, tap on the name or number again. You may also tap on the tiny arrow >. In iOS 14, tap on info.
- On the next screen, tap on Block this Caller → Block Contact.
Note: The messages from a blocked contact will never be delivered to you. Also, the person won’t be notified that you have blocked them. Further, you will not receive even regular calls, and FaceTime calls from this blocked contact. However, they can still leave a voicemail, but you might not get its notification.
How to Manage Blocked Phone Numbers on iPhone
After blocking a number, if you change your mind, here is how to unblock it.
- Open the Settings app and tap on Messages.
- Tap on Blocked Contacts.
- Swipe right to left on contact and tap on Unblock. Or, tap on Edit → Red minus (-) button → Unblock.
From this screen, you can also add to the block list. For this, tap on Add New and select a contact.
How to Filter iMessages from Unknown Senders
- Inside the Settings app, tap on Messages.
- Enable the toggle for Filter Unknown Senders.
Note: In iOS 13 (if you have a third-party SMS filtering app like Truecaller installed), and iOS 14 tap on Unknown & Spam. Next, enable Filter Unknown Senders. Further, in iOS 14, ensure that ‘SMS Filter’ is checked.
After this, inside the iOS 13 Messages app, you will see a new tab at the top. Depending on your iPhone language and region, it may be named Unknown Senders, Junk, or Spam. iMessages from unknown senders will appear here. You won’t get a notification for these texts. However, you can open and read them manually.
In iOS 14, this interface has changed a bit. Tap on <Filters from the top-left to see categories like All Messages, Known Senders, Unknown Senders, Transactions, Promotions, Junk.
Report Spam or Junk iMessages
Reporting SMS and iMessage as spam may not produce an immediate effect on you. It will not block the contact from sending you future messages. But it can help Apple, your carrier, or the service you are reporting to build a database and prevent this menace from spreading. If there are enough similar reports, the spam contact may be blocked permanently. It would help other users too.
- Report to Apple: When you receive an iMessage from an unknown person, it says, ‘The sender is not in your contact list. Report Junk.’ Tap on it, if you are being spammed.
- Report to your Carrier: US carriers like AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, Bell, etc. let you report spam messages and robotexts effortlessly. All you have to do is copy the full spam message and send it to 7726 (SPAM). This outgoing text is free. If a carrier receives several such requests, it may take action.
- Report to FTC: You can also report dangerous spam messages to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). To do that, follow this link.
Unsubscribe from Promotional Text Messages
Many retail chains, insurance companies, dealerships send you promotional messages if you ever buy anything from them or contact them. Most of these texts are irrelevant and annoying. If the text message or their website has instructions on how to unsubscribe, follow that. Usually, it asks you to reply “STOP”. You may also contact their customer support via email, call, app, or even Twitter to remove you from promotional messages.
Caution! Follow the above steps only if you are sure that the sender is a reputed, legitimate, and an established company. Many scamsters will send you promotional texts and emails having instructions or links that say something like ‘Reply STOP if you no longer wish to receive these messages.‘ Once you do that, they come to know this number is active, and someone is reading these messages. Soon they may sell your information to more such spam services. Therefore, use your wisdom before replying to an unknown number.
Hide Alerts for Spam Text Messages on iPhone
One other trick that I use to reduce irrelevant text messages’ annoyance is to hide their alerts. For example, my carrier sends me two texts once I consume 50% of my daily cellular data. Similarly, my neighborhood Dominos, Pizza Hut, and grocery store send promotional messages regularly. 95% of these messages are irrelevant. But a few are useful.
To hide alerts for certain chats, open the Messages app, and swipe right to left on a contact name or number. Next, tap on Hide Alerts (or, silent bell icon in iOS 14). Now, you won’t get any notification if this number texts you.
Should I Use Third-Party SMS Filter Apps?
Many sites advise you to use third-party spam-blocking applications. However, it permits these apps to read all your incoming texts. This includes OTP, bank alerts, and pretty much everything. So, I would not recommend that you follow this. However, if your carrier has an SMS filtering app (like Verizon’s Call Filter Plus, or Scam Shield by T-Mobile), you may try it after researching and learning more about them.
This is how you can successfully address the spam text message issue. There is no one hundred percent solution to block all unwanted texts. However, by being a bit observant, you can decrease the number of irrelevant messages.
For example, do not enter up your phone number on every site that asks for it. Instead, try to sign up using email. Ask the cashier at the billing counter not to enroll your number for promotional messages. Little precautions like these work great.