In the first article in this series, we told you what spam is and why it’s a good thing to keep under control. From that article, you may assume that spam is strictly an email issue. That assumption is wrong — as more people learn how to reduce spam in their email inboxes, spammers are increasingly targeting users through text messages. Before we dive into email spam control in the final two articles, we’ll show you simple and effective ways to get a handle on spam text messages.
Spam just doesn’t affect email, it’s increasingly a problem in the Messages app. In this article, we’ll talk about the steps to take to reduce text message spam. Note that it’s impossible to stop all spam, but you can at least report spammers and block them.
Method 1: Filter Unknown Senders
The first method of knocking spam down to size in the Messages app is filtering unknown senders. What this does is to turn off notifications for iMessages from people who are not in your contacts and sorts them into a separate list.
That means that you won’t be bothered by those spam messages and you can go in and delete them at your leisure. This also offers a way for you to continue to receive valid text messages from “unknown senders” like two-factor authentication messages by knowing where they’ll appear.
On iOS and iPadOS devices
1 – Launch the Settings app
2 – Scroll down to the list of Apple app settings and tap on Messages.
3 – Scroll down until you find the Message Filtering section and the Filter Unknown Senders button. Tap on the button to enable message filtering, and the button turns green (see screenshot below):
Now when a message arrives from an unknown person, company or phone number, it is placed into the “Unknown Senders” list. That list is added to Messages and is accessible with a single tap (outlined in orange in the screenshot below):
As mentioned earlier, if you expect a two-factor authentication message and it doesn’t appear to arrive immediately, check “Unknown Senders” as it may be in that list.
4 – There’s a fourth and very important step to take if you wish to help reduce the amount of spam text messages sent. If a message appears in the “Unknown Senders” list and it is truly spam, tap the message, then tap the “Report Junk” link as seen in the screenshot below. That notifies Apple, and the details of the message are added to the company’s global filters.
There is no way within macOS Messages to filter unknown senders. However, you can still stop receiving repeated messages by blocking callers.
Method 2: Block Callers
This second method works well for spam messages that come from the same phone number, and guess what? It also works for repeated robocalls, which are another type of spam. This method adds a phone number to a blocked caller list on your device so that you won’t be bothered again.
On iOS and iPadOS Devices
1 – Tap on the message to open it and verify that it’s spam.
2 – Tap the phone number or the name at the top of the message. You’ll see something similar to this screenshot:
3 – Tap the info ( i ) button at right. A dialog containing details appears:
4 – On the details dialog, tap the phone number again. Do not tap the phone button, as that will attempt to dial the number. A set of actions appears:
5 – Tap “Block This Caller”. The number, person or company associated with the message will be blocked from now on.
There’s a way to block “callers” or texters in macOS Messages as well, but only from people, numbers or companies for which you have a contact card.
1 – Launch Messages from the Dock or Applications folder.
2 – Select Messages > Preferences in the menu bar.
3 – Click on the “iMessage” tab, then click on the “Blocked” tab. You’ll see something like this:
4 – Click the ” + ” (plus) button and you’ll see your contacts list. Click the name or number of the guilty party you wish to block, and they’re added to the block list.
Want to block text messages without creating a new contact? It’s best to do it on an iOS or iPadOS device. All of the entries that are in the list you see above are from an iOS or iPadOS device and are shared between Apple devices through an iCloud account.