How to block and filter phone numbers on your iPhone with the tools in iOS



  • Reply 21 of 28
    Also all those apps and services that you need to update database are ineffective because of abuse of numbers and identity for telemarketers. On top of that I still cannot understand why during installation they ask dumb question for permission to access my contacts. For Pete's sake I am installing this to block callers - not to give you knowledge who my contacts are. They should ask for acces to blocked numbers in the first place to extend database. What kind of solution is this?
    Boonmee udomjit(รวมพล)beninu
  • Reply 22 of 28
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    JohnDee said:
    What I would really like, and fairly simple for Apple to do, is a recorded message when somebody who withholds their number rings me :
    "this telephone does not accept anonymous calls" 
    I’d rather it send the standard message for “this number does not exist” so that they take it off their list and don’t share it with their buddies.
  • Reply 23 of 28
    felix01felix01 Posts: 272member
    If Apple would give me the option of blocking any inbound “unknown caller,” I’d be a happy customer. I’m not interested in taking calls from organizations who intentionally hide their phone number. Most of the time that means spam.
  • Reply 24 of 28
    Why haven’t you dealt with the huge inconvenience that stems from Apples ignorant approach? That to block people, you have to make a contact for them, thus filling your contact page with randoms you don’t want or know anything about?

    i get over 1000 spam every 3 days, and half a dozen or more iMessages and FaceTimes from randoms who are ‘finding’ me because they’re too stupid to know they’re calling the wrong person.

    yet Apple makes me add each one as a contact in order to block it, but I’m still left with them in my bloated contacts list.
    That is a very strange way to deal with it. Why don't you just have ONE - yes ONE SINGLE - contact called "SCAM", and when a new number you haven't seen before calls you
    just choose "Add to existing contact". I have a contact called "_SCAMMER" and it contains about 100 numbers so far.*

    *The underscore in the name is to put it at the bottom of my list so it don't appear under "S" (I don't want it to appear between "Scalpel Assassin" and "Secret Mistress" ... Just kiddn')

    Except from that this method is very ineffective as these scammers often have a range of thousands of numbers, and as others have pointed out it would be easier if the carriers took their responsibility in this problem seriously. What I also find ridiculous is that Apple hasn't made it possible to use Wildcards in the blocking so I could say that I don't want any calls from 33* and thereby effectively block anything starting with 33. That would have helped a lot as many of these scammers have a series of numbers but the range usually start with the same 2-3 digits. That would make it a bit easier.

    My carrier at least have a solution to people calling with blocked numbers. When a blocked number calls my number they don't get through but they are informed to press # to let their number through to the recipient. I don't know how they do it but it works like a charm. This is free of charge from my carrier, and I have an iPhone app where I can change all these settings from my carrier (along with all the other services, such as voicemail, international voicemail, caller specific voicemail, etc.), and all these services are included even in the cheapest subscription.
  • Reply 25 of 28
    Apple really didn't put much effort into this. It works for me, but fills up my contacts with hundreds of numbers. I'm not paying for a service that should be included with my cellular plan. 25 years ago this problem was solved by several software companies. The company I worked for blocked not just numbers, but area codes, prefixes and Unknown Callers. It played a message for the caller that the number was blocked and was able to simply hang up on them, send them to voicemail, or send them to another number.

    I don't know why this has changed for cellular phones. It would be easy to implement, but AT&T wants you to pay for it every month.
    What do you mean "... but it fills up my contacts with hundreds of numbers"??? I have one number in my contact and when a new scammer calls I just don't reply or or decline the call on my iPhone, and then I add the number to the ONE AND SAME SINGLE CONTACT that I have made in my contacts called "_SCAMMER" (the "_" is just to make it appear at the bottom of the list so it doesn't appear among the contacts starting with an "S")

    But it is still a troublesome way of having to deal with it as these companies often have a thousand numbers in a series. But I have noticed though, that they often begin with the same 2-3 digits, so it would also have been easily solvable if Apple just made an option to block with wildcards, like 33* would block all numbers starting with 33. That would be SO easy to implement in iOS.

    I do have a service from my carrier where I can block redacted or hidden numbers. But instead of just blocking them they catch the call and a message tells them to push # to send their phone number if they want to get through. I don't know how it works, but I have a few friends with redacted or unlisted numbers and beforehand it just said "Unknown caller" in my display when they called, but after this service was included in my subscription (free of charge btw), it works like a charm. When my friends with secret numbers call they just push # and their number shows on my iPhone (or their name as they are of course listed among my contacts).

  • Reply 26 of 28
    I agree with many here that says it is first and foremost the carrier/provider's responsibility to take action.
    I have a carrier that have dealt with the redacted/withheld numbers in a brilliant way (free of charge btw), and it works like a charm. When people call me with a redacted or hidden number they don't get throgh to me but instead recieve a message saying that they have called from a redacted/withheld number - press # to let the recipient see your phone no. I have no idea how they do it, but it works like a charm. The caller don't have to enter their number manually or anything, as soon as they press # they are put through and I see their number just like a normal call with caller ID, and to me it is just like they are calling me, because I don't hear a thing until they have agreed to let their number pass through to me.

    I have also used the version of blocking the numbers that call, and it's a very ineffective solution, but it's better than doing nothing. Many of these callers have a whole range of numbers so - as someone has already pointed out - if iOS allowed for a wildcard blocking it would help a lot. Many of these scammers have a whole range of numbers but they usually start with the first 2-3 digits, so if I could block by saying block 33* and thereby block all numbers starting with 33, that would be a big help (it could also be made to include country codes so I could block +4433*. That would be SO easy to include in iOS and it would help a lot.
    But what is this nonsense with people saying that the blocking of numbers fill their contacts with hundreds of numbers??? Why would you make a new contact for each scammer - that's just dumb. I have ONE SINGLE contact caller "_SCAMMER" and when a number I don't know calls I can usually tell immediately from the first couple of digits that it's a scammer, and I simply push decline, and they I just chose "Add to existing contact" and add it to my "_SCAMMER" contact. (I use the "_" in front of the name to make it appear at the bottom of my list. But hundreds of contacts??? No way! Just hundreds of numbers added to the same contact. That doesn't bloat your contact book.

    But all this still doesn't address the main point - it's not a consumer responsibility. It's the responsibility of carriers, Apple (and all other manufacturers of course) and legislators.

    But it seems to me that Apple has started looking into this by the latest iOS updates. Now you can go into the Settings->Phone and add permissions to catch calls to 3rd party apps from the App store. I have a directory app that has a listing of almost all phone directories in the country. I have given this app permission to access my phone calls, and It then looks up people not already in my phone book and it tells me in my display who the caller is, and after either talking with the person or declining their call it ask if I want to add the number in my contacts with the information they have looked up on the number. The app even shows me a map on my screen with the exact location of the caller, so I can see where he lives which is a neat little feature I like.

    So there are many ways to fight this, and many ways it should be fought. But those with the best means of fighting this at their disposal, obviously lack the proper motivation. This is a massive nuisance for customers every day, and I would have thought that one of the many hundreds of carriers/providers would compete to be the first to implement a solution, as that would be a very competitive parameter and a selling parameter that would make many switch carrier if someone came up with a solution first. There must be many out there that have wished both every single scammer (and also telemarketer) a slow and painful death.
    I would even be willing to pay twice my present fee, to switch to someone that invents the solution that once and for all destroys the scammers, but also someone that virtually put ALL telemarketers out of business. Outreach marketing to private people in the privacy of their own home - whether it is as a door-to-door salesman or someone calling my personal phone - is a pest and it should be banned by law. 
  • Reply 27 of 28
    dewme said:
    The methods described in this article are useful but it's like using a BB gun against a shotgun. Every single day at least one of my family members gets a robocall from some sort of scammer or an agency granted unrestricted access to the phone network with no fear of blocking or Do Not Call prosecution. The phone companies (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, et al) are 100% complicit in allowing robocallers and scammers to remain in business and relegate the rest of us phone company victims to a never ending game of whack-a-mole. The fact that AT&T Call Protect works as well as it does on newer model phones is clear evidence that the only useful line of defense lies with the phone companies themselves who are profiting from the robocallers, scammers, spammers, and organizations who are allowed to circumvent Do Not Call regulations. If you have an older phone that AT&T Call Protect does not support, e.g., iPhone 4s, the calls are persistent and constantly shifting through ranges of numbers so as to fill up your contact list with hundreds of blocking contacts.

    At the very least Apple should allow wildcards in blocking contacts and allow blocking of unknown callers, i.e., those who suppress Caller Id. Unfortunately Apple itself uses Caller Id blocking as part of its customer support callback system to prevent customers from obtaining the phone numbers of its support personnel. Ok, but something like "Apple Support" instead of "Unknown Caller" would be far more reasonable. I answer zero percent of "Unknown Caller" calls, which creates some issues when dealing with Apple but the current phone system is in such a dysfunctional state and is bordering on being useless when it is used in raw/unfiltered mode.  

    I'll have to check out the Jolly Roger thing. I have no expectation that the phone companies are going to slaughter this cash cow any sooner than the US Postal System is going to allow blocking of junk mail. These myopic organizations have decided that their profits are far more important than our constant annoyances.  
    I SO agree on the wildcards-thing. I have been thinking the same for years now. That would be SO easy to implement.

    I don't know if it exist where you live, but my carrier have a service that protects me from redacted/hidden/withheld numbers. When someone calls me with a withheld or redacted number, they don't get directly through to me, but they instead hear a message telling them that they are calling from a withheld or hidden number, and they would have to press # to allow their number to get through to me. It works like a charm. People who beforehand got through as "Unknown caller" never get through anymore.. Now they show up with their number on my display, and if it's someone already in my contacts it will of course show their name instead - just like normal. I have no idea how my carrier get's access to their phone numbers if they are withheld or redacted, but they obviously have some way of accessing this information, as it all works automatically. It is not like the caller has to enter their own number manually or anything. As soon as they press # their caller ID is passed through to my phone. I really love that service.
    (But my carrier also have a lot of extra services for free. For instance it also records all my calls for me and stores them for a month, and I can either lock the calls that I don't want deleted after a month or I can download the entire call as an MP3 file. That is SO clever. More than once I have used that as evidence when I have agreed on something with someone, and they later on deny having agreed to anything. That is such a nice feature, but that is a completely different conversation for another thread  ;) )
  • Reply 28 of 28
    It all boils down to the FTC which is the "organization" (HA - what a joke!) that is supposed to handle these repugnant callers. Imagine that now, there is an epidemic of scammers making believe they are from the Social Security Administration (sister organization to the FTC. Both the SSA and the FTC even have pages warning you about the calls, with samples of the calls: ( on which they tell you to contact the FTC to report said calls. HOWEVER, the REAL CRIME is that upon visiting the FTC site (government-run schitt-show that it is), or calling them, it is a nightmare in perplexity on how to do so as they do not have any option for "Report Scam Calls" or anything similar, but rather, one has to dig through several options within the "Fraud" menu - and I mean you have to dig deep through a myriad of options. To add insult to injury, the page they supply for reporting fraud on their site is made up of a questionnaire relating to other types of fraud and so has around 80 questions. Seriously? For a spam call? What one mostly knows about spam calls, if lucky, is very limited. I think of old people like my granny receiving these types of calls and it infuriates me. Now, if they can't even get their own house in order, so to speak, do we have a prayer that they are going to begin to cut down on the 'normal' spam we receive? Please! The spammers know this too, so they continue to grow and operate with impunity, and we, as consumers, like always have the choice of either PAYING or living with it. So, who is to blame? Well, ask yourselves when these calls began to get REALLY bad. Mmmmhm. On October 19, 2017, the White House announced that Donald Trump nominated Joseph Simons to chairman of the FTC. Simons took office on May 1, 2018. In August of 2018, ROBOCALLS/SPAM CALLS went UP FORTY PERCENT (40%). Ajit Pai, a Republican also appointed by trump to the Federal Communications Commission slashed government regulations which PROTECT the customer even AFTER he first said: “Artificial or pre-recorded calls are intrusive, they’re unwanted, they’re frankly a nuisance,” he said. “In fact, they’re the number one source of consumer complaints that we receive here at the FCC.” Of course, he also said: "The FCC needs to fire up the weed whacker and remove those rules that are holding back investment, innovation, and job creation.” The Robocall industry KNEW they’d get a sympathetic ear from Pai, who’s showed his hand by his repeal of “net neutrality” rules, and who following his appointment immediately received petitions from student loan servicers to ease rules on robocalls who wanted the commission to remove limits on the number and type of robocalls they make when trying to collect a debt owed to the federal government. SOOOO, next time you complain about a scam call, thank trump for all those brand new jobs in the robo-call industry. P.S. And no, this is NOT a 'political' message and I am not a political activist, etc. I am just INFORMED.
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