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How to block spam texts on your iPhone

Updated Apr 19th, 2023 8:59PM EDT
FaceTime, iMessage, iOS 17

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With spam texts on the rise, especially on iPhones and iMessage, we thought it would be helpful to put together a guide on how to block those annoying texts. I’m not sure about you, but I started using SMS messaging in 1999, and I only started receiving spam texts around a year ago. Go figure. This doesn’t even include the spam calls, either.

What makes this issue particularly irritating is that spammers have become more clever and sophisticated over time. Now, they not only spoof your area code but the prefix as-well, so it seems as if it’s actually a local phone numberp

This is done to trick users into thinking that the text itself is legitimate. And taking things even further, scammers are now texting unsuspecting users from their own numbers.

This issue, we should note, only impacts Verizon users, and the company claims that they’ve “made a significant effort to limit the current activity” of the scheme. But even if you’re not a Verizon subscriber, you could still probably stand to receive fewer spam texts. Here’s how to block spam text messages.

Quick tip: Many mobile cell phone providers let you block senders by forwarding any unwanted text messages to 7726 (“SPAM”). Check with your specific carrier about your reporting options. Remember, don’t give out your phone number or any other personal information.

How iPhone users can stop spam texts

Filter unknown senders

One option to limit iPhone spam texts is to filter messages from unknown senders. With this option, spam messages originating from a number not part of your contact list will go to a separate folder.

To turn this toggle on, follow the below instructions. Before doing so, we should highlight that this filter might also catch non-spam texts from companies like Uber and Door Dash. In other words, if you turn this filter on, make sure to check the “Unknown Senders” tab in the Messages app often.

  1. Open the Settings app, and head to “Messages.”
  2. Turn on the “Filter Unkown Senders” toggle.
Message filter settings

Unfortunately, the same technology that allows individuals worldwide to communicate is being leveraged by scam artists looking to take advantage of unsuspecting users.

To this point, scammers sent upwards of 11.6 billion spam messages during March. The New York Times notes that this represents a 30% increase from the previous month.

Block specific senders

While there’s no bulletproof way to block spam messages, iPhone users can take steps to limit their frequency and visibility.

One thing you can do upon receiving a spam text is to block the number. This will prevent spam messages from that number in the future. Follow the below instructions to do so.

  1. Tap on the spam message from the sender you want to block.
  2. Next, tap on the phone number at the top of the message.
  3. Tap “Info.”
  4. At the bottom of the list of options, tap “Block this caller.” Then tap “Block Contact.”

The number should now be blocked and unable to send you spam messages.

Report spam texts or junk messages in Messages app

Spam text on iMessage

When you use iMessage, Apple’s messaging platform, you can report spam messages. If the sender is not in your contacts and has other spam criteria, Apple sometimes offers a flag that says these messages might be Junk or spam. You can just tap that, tap the Report Junk button, and tap Delete and Report Junk.

When you do this, the person sending you the message is reported to Apple, and the message is then permanently deleted from your phone.

Get rid of calls and spam texts from unknown numbers

On a somewhat related note, there’s also a way to silence incoming calls from numbers not in your address book. The calls will still go through but will go straight to voicemail instead. Incidentally, phone calls from numbers you’ve previously texted with will be able to go through.

Go to Settings > Phone and toggle the Silence Unknown Callers option to turn this feature on.

How to block calls and spam text messages using your carrier

AT&T Spam blocking  to block spam texts and robotexts

In the U.S., virtually all major carriers offer apps and services that can alert you to spam/unsolicited calls and messages. Some of these are free spam calls and text blockers, and others require a subscription.

AT&T Call Protect:

  • 24/7 Automatic Fraud Call Blocking: Detects and blocks calls from likely fraudsters before your phone even rings
  • Block Spam Risk labeled calls (in-app feature): Block or send to voicemail calls identified as Spam Risk
  • Send Unknown Callers to voicemail (in-app feature): Send callers, not in your contact list to voicemail.
  • Get a heads up on potential nuisance calls*: See warnings of telemarketers, nonprofits, surveys, account services, and private or political callers.
  • Personal Block List: Add individual unwanted callers to your block list from the app or with Siri shortcuts.
  • Report Spam Calls: Help identify suspected spam and likely fraud calls from the app or with Siri shortcuts. Your reports help everyone.

AT&T Call Protect Plus:

  • Caller ID*: Gives you incoming caller details.
  • Custom Call Controls: Block or send entire Categories (Telemarketer, Account Services, etc.) of callers to voicemail.
  • Reverse Number Lookup: This Shows caller details when you enter a U.S. number. Up to 200 queries per user within a 24-hour period.

Verizon Call Filter:

Verizon call filter  to block spam texts and robotexts
  • Identify suspected spam calls with alerts.
  • Automatically block spam based on their risk level and send them to voicemail (Call Filter automatically blocks high-risk callers)
  • Report phone numbers as spam.
  • Use filters to block other unwanted callers, such as robocalls.
  • Adjust spam filter settings any time, e.g., filter unknown senders.
  • For added security, upgrade to Call Filter Plus*. Features such as Caller ID and blocking entire area codes give you even more control over incoming calls.

T-Mobile Scam Shield

T-Mobile scam shield to block spam texts and robotexts
  • Scam Block – Our network will automatically block calls from likely scammers when you turn it on, helping to keep them off your phone entirely.
  • Scam Reporting – Help identify suspicious callers or fraudsters and prevent their calls from being received by you—or others—in the future.
  • Caller ID – See who’s calling before you answer.
  • Allow list – Calls from numbers on your Allow list will never be blocked by our network and always ring your phone.

Premium features such as:

  • Personal Number Blocking – Block specific numbers and contacts as soon as they hit the T-Mobile network.
  • Category Manager – Tired of telemarketers? Or survey calls? We’ll identify and block call types you don’t want to see anymore.
  • Reverse Number Lookup – Not sure who a number belongs to? We’ll do a reverse phone number lookup and show you anything about who is calling.
  • Voicemail to Text – Get text messages containing readouts of blocked calls sent to voicemail.

If you use Google Fi as your carrier, Google offers a bunch of options built-in to your subscription plan and available in the Google Fi app.

Our favorite third-party apps for call and spam blocking

Robokiller app

Robokiller spam call & text blocking app for iOS

While there are tons of great third-party apps to help filter messages and calls on iOS and Android, our favorite is RoboKiller for $4.99/mo and Nomorobo for $1.99/mo. They have access to your call lists and contact, but these two are reputable, and we use them here ourselves. If you’re going to install an app like this, make sure it’s one you trust due to the sensitive nature of the access involved and know what information they request and share. If you’re asking if RoboKiller blocks texts, the answer is yes! These apps offer phone call and text message blocking and integrate into Apple’s Messages app.

Bonus spam texts message blocking tips

Report the spammer to your carrier

This isn’t going to halt all incoming spam texts and calls immediately, but it benefits others, and if everyone reported these messages, there would be fewer spammers. Here’s how you can do it.

Take the original spam text and forward it, so it’s reported to your carrier. If you’re on AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, or Sprint, use this number: 7726 (SPAM).

File a complaint with the FTC

Under U.S. law, sending unsolicited text messages of a commercial nature without your consent is illegal. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) oversees a complaint assistant you can use here to report spammers and scam texts and calls.

What are Robotexts?

A robotext is similar to a spam text message, but it’s an automated text message rather than a robocall. Sometimes robotexts are part of a larger play by spammers and scammers, hoping to reel you in so you provide some personal information that can later be used in a spam onslaught.

Some of these texts can lead to higher cell phone bills, identity theft, and even malware installed on your phone.

What’s the reason I’m suddenly getting spam texts and calls?

Spammers use any trick in the book to reach as many phone numbers as possible. They purchase lists of numbers available on the dark web and use software to automatically create and generate lists of numbers. Changing your number won’t prevent spam texts and calls because of this.

Should I reply to spam messages and robotexts?

The answer is no unless you signed up for a specific service that you’re trying to cancel. Usually, if you reply with “STOP,” it can unsubscribe you from the messaging list with reputable businesses and vendors.

Suppose you reply “STOP” to a scam text. In that case, it can actually notify the sender that this is a valid number and a person is replying, giving them more of an opportunity to try and scam or phish your information. Additionally, since the number is valid, it can be added to more spam lists and increase your spam texts and calls.

Thanks for reading, and we hope this guide helps!


Does iPhone have a spam blocker?

You can set up an app that lets you filter and detect spam calls. Go to Settings, then Phone. Select “Call Blocking & Identification”. Under “Allow These Apps To Block Calls And Provide Caller ID”, turn the app on or off.

What happens if I open a spam text on my iPhone?

You have nothing to worry about if you open a spam text. The only time to worry is if you’ve entered any information into the website the spam text led you to.

How do I block spam texts on my iPhone without a phone number?

Go to Settings, then Messages. Turn on Filter Unknown Senders to filter iMessages. A new tab for Unknown Senders will appear in Messages but you won’t get notifications for these iMessages.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.