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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.

Now, it's very possible that your particular Android phone hasn't been updated to Android "KitKat" yet, in which case you're free to shop around for a dedicated SMS blocking app.

To find out, tap Settings, "About phone," then check the number that's listed under "Android version." If the number is 4.3 or below, your phone isn't running on KitKat yet.

Is your phone's Android version listed as 4.4 or above? If so, you're using KitKat, and your device will need a new default messaging app that's capable of blocking SMS spam.

Luckily, there are plenty of third-party messaging apps on Google Play that fit the bill, such as EvolveSMS (a slick app that boasts its own blacklist feature) and the aptly named SMS Blocker (which automatically detects and block "suspected" SMS spam).

Another alternative is Google's own Hangouts app, which not only sends and receives standard SMS messages but lets you place spammers on a "blocked" list.

Here's how to block SMS spam with Hangouts on your KitKat-enabled phone.

If it isn't sitting on your phone already, download and install Hangouts from the Play Store.

Tap Settings, tap "More" under the Wireless & Networks heading, then tap "Default SMS app."

You should now see a list of apps on your phone (including Hangouts) capable of handling your SMS messages. Tap Hangouts, then head back to your phone's home screen.

Launch Hangouts--and as you do, you should notice that the app automatically imports all your old text messages. See a rogue, spammy-looking SMS in your inbox? Open it, tap the three-dot menu button in the top corner of the screen, then tap "People & options."

Tap "Block [number]" under the Hangout Options heading. Done!

Want to see all the numbers that you've blocked? Tap the three-dot menu button again, tap Settings, SMS, then tap "Blocked numbers" to see the blacklist. Change your mind about a specific caller on the list? Tap the "Unblock" button next to their name.

 

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