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The iPhone app that stops those horrible spam calls just got a great new feature

Published Jan 22nd, 2019 9:45AM EST
Free iPhone App Stops Spam Calls
Image: Apple Inc.

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Earlier this month, we told you about an app that sadly has become a must-have for pretty much anyone with a cell phone. The issue of spam calls is a problem that continues to get worse and worse, and it seems like nothing you do has an impact. This particular app is actually quite effective though, and it remains effective by keeping things simple. Spam blocking services from carriers don’t seem to help all that much, and even paid subscription services like Nomorobo only stop a small fraction of spam calls. So when there’s a simple app that costs next to nothing and actually has a significant impact on blocking the menace that is spam calling, we’re definitely going to do our best to spread the word.

When we last covered this nifty app, we mentioned two key features that had to be added in order for the app to truly be as effective as possible. Now, thanks to a recent update that was first released last week, one of those key features has already arrived.

Before we dive into the update, let’s quickly recap exactly how this app works. The app is called No Neighbor, and it was released recently by iOS developer Sean Harding. Unlike other services that look to stop spam calls by maintaining databases of likely spam numbers — which is incredibly difficult since they’re almost always spoofed — No Neighbor only targets a very specific type of spam call.

Robocalling rings often spoof numbers and then auto-dial as many numbers as possible that are similar to the spoofed number. This tricks you into thinking that the incoming call is from a “neighbor.” The example we used in our earlier coverage was if someone had the phone number (212) 555-1212, they might get tons of spam calls from spoofed phone numbers that begin with (212) 555. No Neighbor automatically blocks every incoming call from a phone number that starts with the same area code and first three digits, known as the central office code or prefix. This way, every single one of those calls is blocked. How effective is it? Anecdotally, we’ve found that since enabling the app the number of spam calls we get has been reduced by more than half.

When we first covered No Neighbor we asked for two features that should be added. First, the app needed a white list feature so that calls from contacts who actually do have the same area code and prefix could get through. Second, we wanted the ability to enter multiple phone numbers so that people who use dual-SIM phones or multi-number services like Google Voice could block additional area code-prefix combinations.

Now for the good news: a new white list feature has been added. The app now lets you sync your contact list so that any phone number in your contacts can get through. If you save new numbers to your contacts with the same area code and prefix, you can simply re-sync. We’ve tested the feature and it works as described, blocking all incoming calls from “neighboring” phone numbers unless they’re in the phone’s contact list.

The developer told us that he’s also working on adding support for multiple phone numbers, and we can expect that feature to be added in an upcoming update. In the meantime, this app is already worth far more than the $0.99 asking price. You’ll find No Neighbor’s full description below, along with a link to the App Store so you can download the app.

Completely stop spam phone calls that look like they’re coming from phone numbers similar to yours. No Neighbor is a call blocking extension sends these scam calls, known as “neighbor spoofing” or “neighbor spam” directly to voicemail, so your phone never rings.

Please note that No Neighbor sends ALL calls with the same area code and prefix as your number to voicemail. This means that if you have legitimate friends or family with phone numbers like that, their calls too will go directly to voicemail.

No Neighbor works only with phone numbers from the US and Canada.

Download No Neighbor

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.