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How to block text messages on iPhones

Say goodbye to exes, suspicious 'offers' and spam

imessage editing patent
(Image: © Apple Inc)

Figuring out how to block a source of annoying text messages on your iPhone isn't too difficult. It can be harder if that source is using spoofing to text you again and again from fake numbers. It's even possible to receive texts from a number you've blocked, until you close a little-known loophole.

You've hopefully already put your number on the Do Not Call Registry, but scammers or the toxic people in your life won't abide by the FTC. So we're here to walk you through every option available to you to block unwanted text messages.

A scam text telling me to click on a suspicious link in order to block spam texts

Don't click on suspicious text links, even if they promise to make spam texts go away. Block them instead. (Image credit: Future)

How to block a text message's source on iPhones

Say you receive a suspicious and unwelcome text message, as I did yesterday with that very ironic text screenshotted above. You can block that number in just a few quick steps.

  • Open the text and tap the blank profile icon above the phone number.
  • Tap Info. Then tap Info again in the subsequent menu.
  • On the bottom of the next page, you'll see the option to Block this Caller.

This method works for recently received spam texts. But if you've already deleted someone's text messages, or haven't received one yet but want to preemptively block them, you can use your Phone Contacts to do just that – assuming you know the phone number you want to block.

A fake iPhone contact entry

Your spamming days end here, Spammington (Image credit: Future)
  • Open the Phone app and tap the Contacts tab.
  • If you already have the person in question registered, tap their name, then scroll to the bottom of the menu options to find Block this Caller.
  • If not, you'll need to create a Contact entry. Hit the + symbol on the top-right of the Contacts page. Add a name and phone number, then hit Done. Then scroll to the bottom to block them.

If you ever decide to unblock a number, you can do so easily using their phone contact page. You can also go to Settings > Messages > Blocked Contacts to see a list of every number you've blocked.

How to block or filter texts from all unknown numbers

If you find yourself getting too many texts from unknown numbers, you may not want to bother blocking them one by one. Your best option, then, is to filter any texts that don't come from a verified Contact so you don't see them.

Go to Settings > Messages and scroll to the bottom of the menu. There, you'll see an option to 'Filter Unknown Senders', which sorts all unsolicited texts into a separate list.

Then, to find the hidden texts, tap the Filters button, followed by Unknown Senders. You'll then be able to semi-regularly check if any legitimate texts ended up where they shouldn't. Of course, this mode could also mean missing important texts unless you're diligent about putting new numbers into your contacts list.

Your other option would be to download a call blocker app like RoboKiller or Hiya. Most folks use them to block robocalls automatically, but they also have tech for blocking texts from known spam numbers. That way, you don't need to auto-block texts from people you'll actually want to hear from.

Messaging

(Image credit: Future)

Why am I still getting texts from a number I blocked?

This is a regular question on iPhone support forums, and there doesn't appear to be a clear answer. Apparently, lots of users found themselves receiving calls and texts from long-blocked numbers right after updating to iOS 14.

One solution that worked for some people is to soft-reset their iPhone – or, in other words, turn it fully off and on again. This apparently helps the phone to recognize that it should block the new contacts you just created.

Another potential solution is to go to Settings > Messages > Send & Receive and tap your phone number. You'll see that 'you can receive iMessage to and reply from', followed by both your phone number and Apple ID email. 

It's possible that blocking a contact only blocks people from spamming your phone with texts, but not your email. So try unchecking your email and see if that stops the number in question from texting you.