8/4/08

MacMost Now 115: How To Block Unwanted iPhone Text Messages

Gary Rosenzweig shows you how to prevent unwanted text messages by turning off the ability for someone to send you a text message via email. You can also request that text messaging be turned off completely.

Video Transcript (Click to Expand)
Hi, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMostNow. Today I'm going to show you how to block some unwanted text messages on your iPhone. So a lot of iPhone users in the US have upgraded to the new plan and have opted not to have any allowance for SMS messages. This means they are not paying the extra 5 dollars to get the 200 text messages they originally got for free every month. Now what this means is they have to pay twenty cents for every text messages. That's both messages they sent and messages they receive. One of the problems with that is, people can send you SMS messages and you have to pay for it. Now, of course, one way to stop this is tell your friend: ""Hey, don't text message me"". But, there is a catch. If somebody knows your phone number, they can figure out your AT&T text message email address and they can actually send you an email that will end up as a text message on your phone. Matter of fact, this is a way that spammers are now sending out their messages, they are sending now to random or a list of cell phone numbers, and you get them as an SMS message, and in that case you are paying 20 cents for every message you get, even if it's spam. Fortunately, there's a way to turn this off, but its not wholly publiced. So the place you need to go is ""mymessages.wirelles.att.com"". Now, you're going to need your phone number and a password. This is a separate account from your standard AT&T account, so you may need to set it up the first time. They're going to send you a text message (you don't have to pay for that, because it comes from AT&T), then you confirm and you have an account at this subsite of AT&T. Once you do that, you can log in and go to ""blocking options"". They have several options. One is you can block all text messages sent to his mail. This is how spammers get to you, so this is the one you want to check off. Another is you can block all Multimedia messages sent to his email, so check those both off, if you'd like. Another option is, you can set up this alias, in another words, set up a different email address, and people can actually send you text messages by emailing that alias. if you do so, then you can just simply block getting text messages via an email using your phone number. now, this is how the spammers, so this might be a good alternative if you need somebody to be abler to text message you through email. set up an alias, and then block everybody else from sending it to you using your phone number as an email address. so once you've set this up, you can also do block lists. So say if, you're still getting some spam from some spammer that's actually sending text messages from a text message device, like another cell phone, you can actually block them or you could also allow certain email addresses to send to you. so you got to a bunch of options there. of course the purpose of allowing a specific email address is if you want to block everybody else, but you want to allow you're spouse or best friend to be able to do it. this way you can turn it on. so this is even useful even if you have an sms messaging plan, but you want to make sure that you're not getting any spam. now if you're having a serious problem with sms spam, or you want to make sure you never have that problem, you can call AT&T and request that they turn sms messaging completely on your account. reports are AT&T is one of the companies that allows you to do this, though I haven't tried it myself. until next time, this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMostNow.

70 Responses to “MacMost Now 115: How To Block Unwanted iPhone Text Messages”

  1. aaronth says:

    You mention that you can block someone sending texts from another device ‘like a cellphone’ – however, in those boxes you can only put email addresses or domains – not individual end-user cell phone numbers. Do you know of any way to block individual phone numbers from sending you texts??

    thanks!

    • rosenz says:

      I believe you have to call AT&T and ask. But I’m not sure what they will be able to do.

    • ray says:

      How do you block specific numbers from texting you

      • You might not be able to. The only way to find out is call your provider and ask.

      • Renee says:

        Hi. Looking for help!!!! I have a business account with AT&T, they do not offer their blocking plans whatsoever w/ a biz account, not even with a charge… I’m also not really into jailbreaking my phone, which appears to be the only other solution to blocking texts from crazy people. Please advise if you’ve heard of an app or site- please!

  2. Bernie says:

    a) Don’t just make this for the WWW and talk about AT&T, talk about it working for ALL iPhones across the world regardless of the plan they have!!
    b) There is no (b)

    • If you think about it, you could see how that would be hard to do. You’d have to do the research for each and every carrier in every country. Would probably need to know a few languages, too. But the basic premise can be used by anyone: call your carrier and ask.

  3. gunit says:

    I keep getting text messages from an international number on my 3g iphone., but every text the last four numbers are different from the previos number. Can I block these?

  4. JT says:

    I called AT&T and the only way for you to block someones phone # is to go in to a store and pay $5 extra a mounth to be able to block up to 50 phone numbers. I’m doing it today. I have a crazy ex-girl friend. Supper crazy!

    • sarah says:

      hahahaa

    • Andrew says:

      I got a crazy ex too. . . Fml

      • Amy says:

        So do I guys…and he is diagnosed psycho too, harrassed me all day today for the last time. This has gone on 11 years, and 21 times taken to court! Dont get involved with these psychos, run as soon as you see the red flags. So anyway talked to At&T today and they blocked his number free for two months, after that its 5.00 a month as said earlier. But I can block I think 5 numbers so I also blocked his new crazy wife too…love this feature!!

        • Christopher says:

          yeah i know tell me about it psyco psyco i had a psyco boyfriend i changed my number now i have the blocking feature i dont have to worry about changing it no more

    • Bruce says:

      just got off phone w/AT&T 5.oo monthly will get rid of my issue. Was told to try app. store first but haven’t found anything of use. Kinda crazy you can’t easily block someone from texting you. .may have to resort to the fee. Any ideas?

      • Can you get them to turn off texting completely? If so, then maybe switch to using a third-party (like Google Voice) for texting with a different phone number.
        A lot of things about SMS messages are crazy — that you can’t block for free, the price they charge per byte, etc.

    • Barry Curtis says:

      Give me her number. I will drive her so crazy she will call you and apologize… Take it from an ex-Chicago policeman…it can be done. There is a book called “Get Even” good reading. I would google that one…LOL!
      I tried the email text stop, but that doesn’t do anything for a friend I have who gets drunk and texts me at 3:30a.m. from a cell. Will have to call AT&T for that one….

  5. Marc says:

    I am getting AIM messages from someone I assume has a spamming virus on their computer. If I reply “block” to the text message, will it block all further messages from that source?

    • I don’t believe there is any “reply with Block” functionality on AT&T SMS — but you can call them and ask. They may have to manually block that source, or you can use the technique described here.

    • Katelyn says:

      If it is a subscriber texting you you can reply back stop and it will unsubscribe you.

  6. Mor3gan says:

    Gary, I think Marc means that if he sent the word “block” in a text message to the other user, who he believes may have been hacked by a virus, if that will mean the virus will leave him alone.

    Try that, also try texting “STOP”. If they are messaging you on your AIM account Marc, you could try blocking them on the AIM website.

    Otherwise you might be stuck with an extra 5 bucks a month.

  7. Mor3gan says:

    Could you use this to block an individual user if you knew their service? Like, say 0000000000@sms.att.net? Or does this only apply to email addresses?

  8. Gus says:

    Is mymessages.wireless.att.com free ?

  9. Samantha says:

    How to block a number from a psycho who text me nasty abusive text???

  10. iPhone user says:

    Use iblacklist from cydia

    • Nick says:

      Finnaly a simple and easy solution, bless your soul for commenting, Now I dont have to look forever for a pain in the ass soultion.

  11. Adam says:

    I have a person/company who located my phone number online and is sending SMS spam Texts through what appears to be AIM. The message always is followed by a second text citing to “text BLOCK to deny receipt of these texts”. I’ve done this but the spammers just move user names every day. I’m 9 days into this spammers blitz and every day they use a new name or AIM account.

    I went to the web site you mentioned and selected to turn off emails being sent to my via texts but I’m not sure that will work. I’ve also NEVER used AIM for any reasons, not on my phone or on a computer.

    Any advice? I use texts daily and cant give that up I just need to stop being sent spam to me via Text.

    Adam

    • Have you called AT&T to talk to them about the problem?

      • Adam says:

        I will call them tomorrow if I get another text from the spammers after I updated my settings on the website you recommended in this post.

        • Katelyn says:

          Have you tried sending STOP I had the same problem and I sent back stop and it stopped.

  12. Paul says:

    I’m having the exact same experience that Adam described. Spammers started sending me multiple SMS text spam messages via AIM (AOL Instant Messenger). The messages are ads for stock picks, viagra web sites, etc. The spammers switch user IDs every day, so using AOL’d “reply with ‘block'” feature is useless and just costs me another text message. There needs to be a way to block all messages coming from AIM. AT&T’s mymessages.wireless.att.com site let’s me block all messages coming from email addresses, but that doesn’t work for this. Its really lame and irritating. Help!

    • Check mymessages.wireless.att.com again to make sure your settings stuck. That should do it. If not, call them. Most (maybe all) spam comes through email since it is difficult and costly for spammers to use SMS directly to do it.

      • Paul says:

        I double checked the settings and unfortunately it didnt help. AIM must send some other way?

  13. Sophie says:

    To: Gary
    Why do u always recommend calling ATANDT do u work for them or something? That seems to be ur answer for every question

    • Why would you think that? I’m telling people to call their mobile phone provider to solve their mobile phone problem. AT&T was the ONLY U.S. iPhone provider at the time of this video. Who else are you going to call to get this problem resolved?

  14. Allan says:

    Usually if I have people(s) whom I do not wish their txt messages, I don’t want their calls either! So, I will change my number. %100 guaranteed that way.

  15. Tiffany says:

    I’ve blocked an email address through Yahoo settings, but today I received an email from that address in my mail on my iphone4.
    How do I block this on my iPhone so that the mail sent from the unwanted address gets bounced back. I want the person to know I’ve blocked them. Thanks

    • The right way to do it is through the server. So if this is Yahoo mail, and you are blocking in the Yahoo mail settings, then you shouldn’t be getting these emails. If you are then check to make sure your blocking is right — are you blocking the exact right email address? Maybe the person is sending “from” another email address.

  16. Neil R says:

    How do you block a spam text message with Verizon that has the number 676801163614 and changes the last 2 digits all the time so that the myverizon spam blocker won’t work?

    Thanks

    • You have to call Verizon and ask them. If they have a service that will do that, then they would be the ones to know and activate it.

      • Neil R says:

        I tried that. They told me I would have to cancel text messaging for a few months or change my number. At the top of the sms message is the 676 number then a wierd message followed by lic_jdm@hotmail.com. Is that an email that is coming in as an sms?

  17. geekzspot says:

    You can Forward the message to AT&T 7726 (SPAM on your keypad)

    Step 1. Copy the offending message
    Step 2. Send it to 7726
    Step 3. AT&T will thank you (via a text message) and ask for the Phone Number of the offending Sender to sent

  18. kate says:

    I just need one person to be blocked from texting me. Drunk texts at 3 am almost every other night is obnoxious.Why can’t blocking a number just be free?! $5 a month ($60 a year!) is too much to drop on this piece of crap that wont leave me alone. Have told him numerous times to leave me alone at that time of night and he stops for like a week and then is at it again. The problem is that I don’t have unlimited texting because I am not a big texter.If it were unlimited then I would just have his text sound be silent and go about my business.

    • Complain to your mobile provider. They are the ones in control. They won’t read your complain here. You should talk to them directly and let them know how you feel. Maybe consider switching your number.

  19. Kay says:

    I have the worst pproblem you can imagine. I dumped a guy and shortly thereafter, I began receiving vulgar unacceptable text msgs. from an unverified sender. VErizon said that w/out an actual number, I cannot have it blocked so I changed my number and gave it to NOONE. I began receiving text msgs. from the unverified sender again and he/she was bragging about having my new number and also has information about my past addresses. SO SCARY!Could this person work for Verizon? What can I do?

    • I’m a tech guy, so this is a bit out of my league. Call Verizon. Call the police (get a restraining order — maybe seek legal advice from a lawyer or specialist first).

  20. Melanie17 says:

    I’m in the uk so any ideas for me? My network can’t do unless I change my number

  21. Hans says:

    I have paid the $5 a month fee, and added the blocked # to ATT online, but the texter still makes it through. I can’t text her back but she can text me even tho I blocked her, even laughing asking me to figure it out. Any idea’s?

  22. Theo says:

    I just spoke with AT&T

    1(888)382-1222
    National Do Not Call Registry

  23. PJ says:

    How can I block number when I’m in uk? I have iPhone 3G and operator told me that the chance is just when I’ll change the #. :(

  24. mike says:

    With AT&T you can now sign up for “smart limits” that enables you to manage a list of up to 30 numbers so block. Just set it up online after speaking to a service rep. We’ll see how this goes…

  25. Cristie says:

    How do I block a person from calling/texting/ etc. on my iphone?

  26. cj says:

    Thanks for the help. Is it possible to text a family member via their alias if their text messaging has been turned off? Sounds like it would be no but just wondering if it slips through.

  27. Courtney says:

    Yes. Go to settings, messages, and turn OFF iMessages. This will stop anyone using an ipod or ipad from being able to email you via text message.

  28. Kim says:

    Do you have instructions to block messages for verizon accounts?

  29. Christopher says:

    all you have to do is call att and they will put whats called parental controls also known as smart limits you can block up to 30 numbers my managing your smart limits on your att account online they will not be able to call or text you

  30. Hank says:

    Q-I have verizon and had text blocked. Was having problem getting notification on voice messages received. Sometimes would not be notified of a message for a week. Verizon said problem was that text was blocked and had to unblock to fix – now I’m going to get charged for unwarranted texts. Does that make sense

Comments Closed.