Install the AT&T 'Call Protect' app on your iPhone to cut way back on spam calls

in iPhone edited May 2017
If you've had an iPhone for a very long time, there is a pretty decent chance that you're also still on AT&T -- and you get battered with spam phone calls. AT&T has an app to help deal with that, and AppleInsider has taken a look at it.

The app, unsurprisingly called "AT&T Call Protect" is free and available from the iOS App Store. It purports to allow users to manage incoming calls granting "more control over nuisance calls."

There are a couple of caveats -- it only works in AT&T's HD Voice coverage areas, won't block "unknown" callers, and will only block a user-selected unwanted call for 30 days at a time. If all those conditions are met, if an incoming caller is on AT&T's block list, its labeled as a "Suspected Spam" both in the phone log, and in the app.

Setup is reasonably simple. After the app is installed, the app asks for a phone number. AT&T sends a PIN through a text message, and users enter the code in the app.

Across a few different devices in three geographical areas, the app alerted us that "We Hit a Snag" and failed to continue to activate -- which seems to have been a wide-spread problem when we initially installed the app. Ultimately, patience was all that was required, here -- in every case we tried to activate the app later in non-peak network times, and it completed the registration without further incident.

The app's settings are straight-forward. There is little that can be configured in the app, with simple toggle switches to activate or disable Automatic Fraud Blocking and Blocked Call Notifications.

The numbers tested with the app have been in continuous service since the iPhone 3g -- as such, the number has been spread far and wide receiving about 7 spam calls during a weekday. The federal "no call" list helps some from the peak of almost 20 per day from seven years ago, but isn't absolute.

In our test cases, the app notified us all but one spam call, and didn't appear to block any calls we actually wanted, such as the local county's central phone system, or call center call-backs from companies like Verizon or CVS.

We spoke with AT&T support regarding the app, and they said that the automatic blocking feature does in fact work but "Suspected Spam" calls are exactly that -- and may not actually be spam. Calls automatically blocked are a very small subset of user-reported numbers, and are investigated by AT&T before they are added to what is in essence caller purgatory, never to be heard from again.


  • Reply 1 of 53
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,564member
    I've been using for a few months now, and it seems to have cut back on the amount of garbage calls dramatically. Once in a while, one gets through and I just add it to the blocked list. A very annoying game of cat and mouse with these robo calls.
  • Reply 2 of 53
    SoliSoli Posts: 6,338member
    We have powerful, internet-connected phones, so why isn't this built into every phone app?
  • Reply 3 of 53
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 3,964member
    Verizon? Hello?
  • Reply 4 of 53
    wonkothesanewonkothesane Posts: 1,129member
    Soli said:
    We have powerful, internet-connected phones, so why isn't this built into every phone app?
    I fully agree.
  • Reply 5 of 53
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,463member
    I tried using the app and, after submitting my phone number and the PIN that was texted to me, it says my line is ineligible. I own an iPhone 6 Plus, purchased at Apple, and have been an AT&T customer for nearly 10 years. No where does it explain why my iPhone is ineligible and I have followed all the links and searched AT&T's web site. FAIL
    edited May 2017 dysamoria
  • Reply 6 of 53
    ziggieziggie Posts: 2member
    If you wont believe in crowdsourcing your contacts, then this is not for you as well. 


    In order to perform the functions of the Service, AT&T may disclose or allow the disclosure to our vendor Hiya of Your personal information, including without limitation mobile number, contacts/address book, and Application usage information, such as which numbers you report and/or manually block within the Application, as factors to determine which callers are suspected fraud and spam.
  • Reply 7 of 53
    fmalloyfmalloy Posts: 94member
    The caveats make it too limiting and a joke.
  • Reply 8 of 53
    zroger73zroger73 Posts: 633member
    Why do we not have whitelisting for phone calls?

    Sometimes I think the robocallers (the illegal scammers) are in cahoots with the phone companies (the legal scammers).
  • Reply 9 of 53
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,463member
    Hopefully iOS 11 has this functionality built in
  • Reply 10 of 53
    I've been using Nomorobo, which while it's not free ($25/year) works with any carrier and eliminates most (but not all) spam calls.
    Nomorobo has been available for several years for digital land lines (the type you get from Comcast or Verizon over cable or fiber) and it has changed my life, eliminating several nuisance calls a day.
  • Reply 11 of 53
    I have been using Nomorobo on land lines for years as well, but AT&T's free product is superior to Nomorobo on iOS in my opinion.
  • Reply 12 of 53
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 233member
    Seems like a lot of trouble (plus the above-mentioned give-away of your privacy), for pretty limited benefits over just not answering unknown numbers. I suppose if you're getting a slew of bogus calls every day it might be worth it, but for averting a lesser frequency of them, maybe not so much.
  • Reply 13 of 53
    volcanvolcan Posts: 1,510member
    I've had the same number on AT&T since the original iPhone. I do not receive any unsolicited spam calls except from companies that I already have a relationship with. I do subscribe to do not call service which doesn't work worth a damn on my business land line but apparently pretty well on my iPhone.
  • Reply 14 of 53
    netlingnetling Posts: 19member
    This is built into the Tmobile Network and you don't need an App for it... It's free but you have to enable it under "Other Services".  Once again, T-mobile did this BEFORE ATT enabled it!
  • Reply 15 of 53
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,248member
    volcan said:
    I've had the same number on AT&T since the original iPhone. I do not receive any unsolicited spam calls except from companies that I already have a relationship with. I do subscribe to do not call service which doesn't work worth a damn on my business land line but apparently pretty well on my iPhone.
    I've also had AT&T and the same number since almost the first iPhone.   I do receive unsolicited SPAM robocalls in spite of being on the Federal "do not call" list and in spite of logging complaints about specific numbers.   Most are of two varieties:  it's either "your business is eligible for a loan" or "because you've stayed with us before, you're eligible for a vacation".   They're getting very smart because some of the calls appear to come from very local phone numbers at least in terms of what the caller ID is showing.  And each time they call, it appears to come from a different phone number.   The audio is very conversational and the first few times it happened, I initially thought there was someone live on the other end until I realized they weren't responding to my screaming at them.

    But it's only a few times a week and while annoying, the AT&T app seems to have too many disadvantages to use.

    I can't believe anyone actually responds to these robocalls, but they wouldn't make them if they didn't ever not work.   I blame the phone companies because they would or should know when thousands (or millions) of calls are emanating from a single source.      
    edited May 2017 zroger73StrangeDaysdysamoria
  • Reply 16 of 53
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 28,616member
    No thanks. I use Google Voice, which is pretty good about filtering out junk, but when I do occasionally get such a call, it's very simple to permanently block the number using Apple's own built in "Block this Caller" feature (find it under the circle "i" button next to the caller's number, then scroll to the bottom of the screen, below "Add to Existing Contact").
  • Reply 17 of 53
    What are the odds of false positives with this? I'd like to give it a shot.
  • Reply 18 of 53
    WHAT!!! If you get a caller you want blocked, simply go into "recent" in the phone app, click on the "i" in the circle on the righthand side - that takes you to a page that, at the bottom, gives you the option to Block Caller! The blocked caller's numbers are saved in a database on your phone. But, it's not surprising that there are a plethora of Apps and services that do this in some convoluted way, or actually make you pay for the service. All I can say is WTF!
  • Reply 19 of 53
    Another dumb lack luster idea from a communication oligarch. Just allow customers to create one or more white lists that can be enabled and disabled. If your not on the white list you go straight to voice mail. If you're not on my whitelist then, I don't want to directly hear from you!!!!! Dumb. I cannot believe the money from my costly cell phone service goes to people that create non-innovative ideas like this app.
    edited May 2017 dysamoriajohn.b
  • Reply 20 of 53
    thisisasjthisisasj Posts: 53member
    jd_in_sb said:
    Hopefully iOS 11 has this functionality built in
    The ability to block unwanted voice calls, FaceTime calls and iMessages is already built into iOS.
    tallest skil
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