Spam calls have gotten out of control. Previously, you could simply ignore anything with the caller ID “unknown caller” or a distant or toll-free area code. Scammers and spammers can now call you from numbers that appear to be in your neighborhood, thanks to automated systems that spoof phone numbers. Every day, many people receive several spam calls, half of which are about their car’s extended warranty.
Fortunately, your iPhone has a couple of features that can help you deal with this annoyance, and they’re very simple to use.
Unknown Callers Maintain Silence
- To begin, go to Settings. Then select Phone.
- Scroll down and press the Silence Unknown Callers button. On the following page, you’ll find a description of the feature as well as a toggle to enable it.
- When you enable this feature, your iPhone will use “Siri intelligence” to determine whether or not a call is from a known number. If you find a phone number in your Contacts, Messages, Mail, or recent outgoing calls, it will be delivered as usual.
- If it isn’t found there, whether it’s a real phone number or an unlisted number, the call will be routed to voice mail without ever being answered (even silently). In that regard, the setting is not properly named… Calls are more than just “muted.”
- While this reduces unwanted calls, you may find that you miss some calls that you were expecting. You may contact a repair person via the internet only to discover later that they attempted to call you but your phone did not ring, for example. If you don’t want these calls to go straight to voicemail, you can turn the feature off by flipping the switch back off.
You can do more than just leave a message on voicemail. You can effectively eliminate most spam calls with a phone spam filtering app, even if they are from unique spoofed numbers. You’ll need to download an app from the App Store, such as Robo Shield, Truecaller, or Robokiller. These apps typically require a monthly subscription fee, but it may be worth a few dollars to save your sanity.
After you’ve installed such an app, go to Settings and select Phone. A new option will appear: Call Blocking & Identification. After that, enable your call filtering application. It’s worth noting that the app itself may have several setup steps, but it’ll walk you through them when you install it.
Set a number aside
Sometimes you just want to stop a number from coming in at all, and there is a way to do that as well. Simply tap the “I” information button next to the phone number and scroll down to Block this Caller. Then, on the following screen, tap Block Contact. If you want to unblock any numbers you’ve blocked, go to Settings, Phone, and Blocked Contacts. You’ll see all of the numbers you’ve blocked inside. Tap Edit in the upper right corner to remove any number by pressing the red (-) minus button and then Unblock.
Check with your carrier
Whatever phone service you have, your carrier will provide tools that can be easily installed on your iPhone to stop spam and robocalls at the source. They’re all free (with some paid options) and do the same thing: filter out unwanted calls and silence unknown numbers.