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Apple is building a major defense against spam calls into iOS 13

Apple is building a major defense against spam calls into iOS 13


Calls from unknown numbers will be automatically sent to voicemail

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Apple is taking a new step to combat spam calls in iOS 13. Today, you can already install third-party spam call screeners on your iPhone, but if that’s not good enough (or something you don’t want to do), iOS 13 will add a new solution this fall: it will be able to automatically silence any calls coming in from an unknown number. Even better, it’ll automatically send them to voicemail.

The new “silence unknown callers” option can be toggled on or off based on your preference, but I’m thinking most people will enable it right after updating and leave it that way. The feature is explained on this page of what’s new in iOS 13.

So many of the spam calls we’re bombarded with on a daily basis are spoofed to look like a local number. But Apple says that iOS 13 will “use Siri intelligence to allow calls to ring your phone from numbers in Contacts, Mail, and Messages.” Any number that can’t be found in one of those places will be routed to voicemail.

You won’t have to worry about them making noise or buzzing your phone when they come in. From the sounds of it, the call won’t even pop up on your screen, so you can completely avoid interruptions if you’re using your iPhone when a spammer tries to ring you. It makes sense that Apple will still record a voicemail for cases where it really is an emergency.

This should make for an extremely helpful middle ground between leaving your phone totally open to any and all nuisance calls and the extreme option of activating Do Not Disturb and allowing only your contacts to get through when they call. When this new option is enabled, iOS will also be factoring in mail and messages, so you won’t miss hearing from people you haven’t had a chance to create a contact for just yet. If you often get business calls from strangers, “silence unknown callers” isn’t going to be the ideal solution for you. But hopefully there will be others soon.