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How to stop SMS spam on your Android or iOS phone

Ben Patterson | Nov. 20, 2014
SMS spam is proliferating fast, but your phone's settings or a handy app can help stem the tide.

how to block sms spam

"Italian made Ray Bay, Oakley sunglasses :)" reads the Emoji-riddled iMessage sitting in your iPhone's Messages inbox. "Pick up Your New RayBan Sunglasses Here before they run out!"

If you're using iMessage on an iPhone or iPad, there's a pretty decent chance one of these blaring spam messages has flashed on your screen, although I'm sure plenty of frustrated Android users have seen their fair share of SMS spam.

The bad news is that mobile spam--either the iMessage variety or plain-old SMS spam--appears to be on the rise, and tracking down the spammers is about as easy as quelling a hive of hungry cockroaches.

The good news, though, is that the latest iPhones and Android phones will let you block unwanted callers and texters--including mobile spammers--with a fair amount of ease.

For iPhone, all you need is in Settings
Got a spammy-looking message in your Messages inbox? As long as you have iOS 7 or later installed on your iPhone, the steps are pretty simple.

Open the message, tap Contact, then tap the little "i" button that appears.

Next, you'll see a (mostly blank) contact card for the spammer who sent you the message. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and tap "Block this caller." C-ya, spammer.

Want to see all the numbers and iMessage users you've blocked? Tap Settings, Messages, scroll all the way down to the bottom of the screen, then tap Blocked. To remove someone from the list, swipe the number or address from right to left, then tap the red Unblock button.

Of course, just because you've blocked one spammer doesn't mean you've blocked 'em all, but hey--it's a start.

For Android, it's a little more complicated
The SMS-blocking situation for Android is a bit more complex than for iOS--although to be fair, it wasn't possible to block text messages on the iPhone at all until iOS 7 came around.

While the "stock" Messaging app won't let you block SMS spammers, there's a plethora of apps on the Google Play store that'll do the job...or used to, anyway.

Working in tandem with the standard Messaging app, third-party SMS-blocking apps (like SMS Filter or Mr. Number) let you create and manage what's called a "blacklist"--that is, a list of phone numbers that you don't want to hear from again. Other anti-spam apps, like Postman and Spam Blocker, will go ahead and flag suspected SMS spam.

But thanks to a new restriction in the latest version of Android--namely, that only one app at a time may tap into your SMS messages--many of these handy SMS spam-blocking apps have been rendered useless.

 

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