9/16/219:00 am How To Block Spam Calls On an iPhone There's no perfect way to block all unwanted calls and messages on your iPhone. But you can use some apps, blocking and a built-in feature on your iPhone to reduce the time you have to deal with them to almost nothing. Video Transcript: Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. Today let's talk about about blocking unwanted calls and messages on your iPhone. MacMost is brought to you thanks to a great group of more than 1000 supporters. Go to MacMost.com/patreon. There you could read more about the Patreon Campaign. Join us and get exclusive content and course discounts. So we all get unwanted calls on our iPhone. Getting spam and robocalls, it's just a fact of life for having a phone number. But there are things you could do to alleviate the problem. First, if you search around you'll probably find out that there are apps that you can get that can either block spam calls or at least alert you that the call probably is a junk call. You can use an app like this one that you install on your phone and then you have to activate its settings. So in the Settings app under Phone you want to go to Call Blocking & Identification app and there you could turn these On and Off. So you install them first and then you have to enable them here. Now most apps like this one are going to charge you. It's a third party company. They are building up their product and you need to pay, usually a monthly subscription fee. Sometimes they do have free levels though. Like, for instance, this one here does allow you to do some blocking without having to pay a monthly fee. You just need to pay extra if you go to the Premium level. Now some of these apps actually come directly from the mobile carrier. For instance this one here is from AT&T. So if you're an AT&T customer it makes sense that you would get this AT&T app. It does have a free level that you could use. But it also has a premium level. There's also this one from Verizon and this one from T-Mobile. You won't find them here in Settings once you've installed them because they are going to work with your mobile account to block those calls. Certainly is you're using one of those carriers or if your carrier has an app like this you should get it and at least use the free tier. I personally don't like how the mobile carriers are charging for the premium level for these apps. At least part of the blame for getting all of these spam calls has to go with the mobile carriers. So the least they could do is offer you this blocking service as part of your plan. Now some of these apps will block calls or give you the option of sending them directly to voicemail. Others will just label them when they come in so you would see Spam Risk as the caller ID rather than just the phone number. Now another thing you could do is block the calls when they come in. So, for instance, here's my recent calls and the top three, right there, are definitely spam calls. I can tap the i button next to anyone of those and simply tap -block this caller- and block the content. Now I won't get anything more from them either phone calls or messages. However, this technique really doesn't work because it's just blocking that phone number and most of these calls are coming in with fake caller ID. Caller IDs can be completely faked and usually are if it is not a legitimate phone call. So just blocking some phone number is not going to stop even the exact same spammer from calling you the next time because they are going to be using a different phone number. As a matter of fact one of the techniques they use is to use the same area code and first three digits of your phone number to call you. So if the phone number kind of looks like yours you think maybe somebody calling from my neighborhood. Maybe my kid's school, maybe my work, maybe a neighbor and you're more likely to pick it up. The problem is that there's a one in ten thousand chance that it actually is a phone number from a local phone and by blocking it you just blocked whoever that is. Add a few hundred numbers to your block list and a similar phone number to yours and the chances are pretty high that you may be blocking somebody that maybe is a real person living in your neighborhood that may need to call you one day. Inside the Settings app in the Phone section there is a list of blocked contacts. You could go through these. You can swipe to Unblock in case you've done it by accident. You can even add a new one at the bottom although that involves adding a new contact with that number. So the best way to do this is to simply block the number from your Recents List in your Phone app. Now there is one solution here that is actually built into your phone. It's Silence Unknown Callers option in Settings, Phone. If you go into there and you could turn this on. Now once you've turned this on anybody in your Contacts, anybody you've had a conversation with on Messages, and anybody that appears in emails, that's going to go through. But everybody else, brand new numbers that are nowhere in your Contacts or anything, those will go directly to Voicemail. So this is an excellent way to actually stop your phone from ringing. If it's a legitimate caller they are going to leave a voicemail. If it's a spammer then they probably won't. In my experience they almost never do. Now I know people are hesitant to use this sometimes because they think what if it's an important call. What if it's my doctor calling me and their phone number isn't in the Contacts. One way to take care of that is to add numbers like your doctor's phone number. As a matter of fact if your doctor's office has ever called you before they are probably in the list of recent calls on your phone app. You can go through there and ones you recognize like that add them to your Contacts. When you get new phone calls add them to your contacts as well. But remember the call just goes to voicemail. So if it is really something important that person is going to leave a message. Maybe it's just a quick message to say, this is the doctor's office call me back. Then you could right there add it to your contacts and call back. After all sometimes you need to use voicemail. Sometimes you're indisposed, can't answer the phone, sometimes the phone is in the next room or it's somewhere where you just can't get to it quickly. It goes to voicemail. That's not unusual and you could just immediately see when the voicemail comes in and give them a call back minutes later. Plus if you're waiting for a really important phone call and you don't know what number it's coming from you can temporarily just switch that off and switch it back on again once your receive that call. So, so far we've got third party apps, apps from your mobile carrier. You've got the blocking mechanism in a phone app, and you've got the Silence Unknown Callers option in your iPhone. Another option is to simply ignore calls. Now I know a lot of people watching think this is obvious. But it's a very generational thing. Younger people find it very easy to ignore incoming phone calls. They often ignore incoming phone calls to people they even know. But the older generation think it is rude not to answer the phone. But, of course, it's not rude to not answer a spam call. You don't want to talk to these people. You don't want to get involved in any kind of scam or anything like that because in addition to spam there are lots of scams and we have to be on the watch for those. If you don't answer chances are they are not going to leave a message and they are not going to bother you at all. So it's important to realize it is not rude not to answer the phone if you don't recognize the number. It's what you should do. It's the safe thing to do. If you get a phone call and you don't know who is calling you just don't answer it. Chances are they won't leave a message and that's the end of it. If it is somebody real that you should be talking to they should be leaving you a voicemail. You could check that voicemail and then give them a call right back. Here's a technique that will help with that. When you get a phone call on your iPhone you can use the side button to dismiss the call. One press of the side button will actually silence the call. It's done for you. But the person calling still hears the rings and it gets to voicemail. If you press it quickly twice it immediately sends them to voicemail. So pressing once is indistinguishable from simply not answering the phone. The person doesn't know if you're not there, if you're asleep, if you're not with your phone. It simply goes to voicemail after a few rings. So there is no one great solution for blocking phone calls. But by combining these four method, using call blocking apps, using the block feature on your iPhone, using Silence Unknown Callers on your iPhone, and by just ignoring phone calls if you don't recognize the number you could bring down the amount of time that these spammers steal from you to almost nothing. It almost eliminates the chance that you will be scammed by a phone call. There is one more thing I want to address. That's reporting these spam calls. You may be so angry that you're getting spam calls that you think, I'm going to report this number and get that person in trouble. But the truth is there's not really much that you could do that's effective and worth your time. There is a way to forward a spam text message to the FTC in the United States by texting 7726, which spells spam. But chances are the caller ID is faked anyway. So there's not really much they can do with that. Phone carriers sometimes have places you can report spam to but the same thing applies there. It's not really going to do much. So my advice is just guard your time and ignore those spam calls, spam messages you get and just move on with your day. Hope your found this useful. Thanks for watching.Related Subjects: iPhone (290 videos) Related Video Tutorials: No related posts. Comments: 21 Responses to “How To Block Spam Calls On an iPhone” Jim Benson 2 years ago Great video post. I stopped answering most calls to my phone long ago. Your suggestions are helpful. If everyone would actively fight spammers, they would eventually go away as their profits drop. I agree that the phone companies must share the blame for the problem, as does Congress who let telemarketers call cell phones some years back. Steve Taylor 2 years ago Excellent report, Gary, and I am a longtime viewer and have saved quite a few if your videos. One suggestion: you've gotten so used to/tired of the Patreon blurb at the top that you're really rushing through it in this video. Lot of slurred words. As a retired radio and TV guy, my advice is: read it again next time. Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Steve: Maybe time to mix it up by saying it another way too. Thanks! Robin Oram 2 years ago I find that calls announced as “No Caller ID” calls can be stopped, eventually, by simply answering the call and immediately closing it. The robo-caller will give up after a couple of weeks. That at least is my experience with MEO in Portugal who only want to talk me into changing my inexpensive fixed-line contract as this starts a new contract legally valid for 2 years with onerous “fidelity”clauses that can make them a ton of money if you try to get out. Is this common in the States? Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Robin: I would say it is the opposite. Answering and hanging up would only tell the robocalled that the number goes to a real person. I'll bet the reason they stop isn't because you are doing this, but they just stop that campaign. Liz 2 years ago Is there a hack to make the "silence unknown callers" a toggle? (It should be an option for on/off in Control Center IMHO). I frequently forget to turn it off when I am working with vendors or help desks or banks and they have to call me back. Often the call back is from a different number and it goes right to Vmail. ARGH. Then I have to call back and am on hold etc. Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Liz: No, no shortcut for that. But perhaps try using Do No Disturb instead for those situations. Tom Gonser 2 years ago You've referenced the AT&T free spam block app, which I have. It's not listed in the app library. If I wanted to access it to make changes, where is it found? Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Tom: Shows up when I look for it. It is called "Call Protect." Miles Motture 2 years ago Thank you Gary. I forgot about the side button to stop the ringing. Any idea if that also works for FaceTime on an iPad? I am often on the iPad and have the calls come through there. Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Miles: I think so. Try it next time and report back. Sandra Reynolds 2 years ago In the Nomorobo app under Call Blocking and Identification, you refer to Hiya—1 of 2, Hiya—2 of 3, and Hiya—3 of 3 as "these." What are they? I am a beginner, having just bought my first smartphone. Thank you. Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Sandra: That's showing the Settings app, in Phone, Call Blocking & Identification. Nomorobo and Hiya are two apps that block some calls. On that screen you have to turn them on for them to work once you install the app. I show Nomorobo as off, and the three switches for Hiya as on. Bob Metzger 2 years ago Great video & I learned quite a bit. I find all your videos very useful. Thank you! Charlotte Odom 2 years ago Thank you so much. This video was very helpful for me!!! Jason Gold 2 years ago Outstanding segment Gary. Dozens of your short videos have been useful and valuable. This may be one of the very best! Miles Motture 2 years ago Just tried it and can confirm the side button also works for FaceTime on an iPad! Thank you again for your great work. Ellen Lerner 2 years ago Whether I do not answer a call at all ( which is most of the time) or whether or not I pick it up and hang up, I believe the caller (often a computer) still knows I am real b/c it rings and then voicemail kicks in. I use YOUMAIL on my cell and that does a good job of picking up calls I do not answer, transcribing message and can block them. I use my home no. most of time-not cell- when giving out phone no. Still get more than I want on cell. I don't think this is ever going away. :( Douglas Mattingly 2 years ago I don't know why or how I got it, but on almost any call with an area code other than mine, I get a message that tells me it is likely spam. Do you know anything about this? Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Douglas: You probably have one of the apps installed that I mentioned or your mobile provider is doing that for you. Jim Terrinoni 2 years ago Good job, Gary. THANK YOU. Complete, clear and concise - all the elements of excellent communications. This served to reinforce what I have been doing and prevent me from “overkill” by doing needless more. Remember time is the most precious gift, you can’t get back time. Comments Closed.