With all the conveniences that they offer, we sometimes forget that smartphones lack several key features that we all used to enjoy back when answering machines and wired phones sat on our counters. Now that callers are redirected to our voicemail services, we have to wait until the message has been completed to see what our parents want to know about our day or who the heck is calling you from that area code you don’t recognize. It’s a minor quibble, but an inconvenience nonetheless. A patent awarded to Apple this week might change that.

USPTO patent #8,666,034 carries the title “Audio call screening for hosted voicemail systems,” and according to the document, the invention will allow users to screen messages being left to their voicemail systems straight from their iPhones.

“As the caller is leaving a message at the voicemail system, a connection between the incoming call, voicemail system, and telephone terminal is established to allow the user to listen to the message and decide whether to take the call. The user may decide to take the call or let the caller finish leaving the message.”

Screening calls ahead of time has become nearly impossible with modern day technology, but if users were able to connect to the voicemail system as the caller is leaving a message, it would be a lot easier to weed out those pesky telemarketers.

Jacob started covering video games and technology in college as a hobby, but it quickly became clear to him that this was what he wanted to do for a living. He currently resides in New York writing for BGR. His previously published work can be found on TechHive, VentureBeat and Game Rant.